Affluence and Teen Substance Abuse

Dr. Purushothaman
September 6, 2013

Dominant factors in affluent families have proven to have a direct correlation between economic wealth and substance abuse amongst teens. Family dynamics among affluent families create an environment where teens are more susceptible to substance abuse than some of their less fortunate peers.

The teen years can be especially difficult for any young boy or girl. Their bodies are full-grown but their minds are still immature and they are not yet considered adults. Once young men and women get to high school, they are usually expected to excel in their academics because their high school grades are so important for getting into a good college.

Where a lower-income teen may be thrilled with the idea of graduating high school and have high hopes for graduating a community college, a teen from an affluent family may have to live up to their successful parents’ high expectations and make it into an Ivy League college. Unfortunately, the stress of living up to their parents’ expectations can actually create a significant amount of stress for young adults. In many cases, these high expectations can lead to anxiety and depression in affluent teens.

Working hard on one’s studies and striving to achieve a standard of excellence in the affluent teen’s extracurricular activities isn’t necessarily negative by any means; however, extreme pressure from their parents, their family, and the world around them is a factor that has lead affluent teens towards substance abuse.

Affluent teens are frequently left home alone for a substantial number of hours each week while their parents are away pursuing careers. Unfortunately, many busy attorneys, CEOs, and board chairmen don’t have the time to be home when their teens get home from school. Long hours away from home and weak relationships with their children have a tendency to create some of the very problems in their children which the parent’s hoped to avoid.

Children who have the least likelihood of abusing alcohol or drugs are those ones who have a solid relationship with their parents, especially their mother. It has also been shown that having a sit-down dinner with their parents at least one night each week significantly improves the relationship between a teen and their parents. Unfortunately, many affluent and highly successful professionals simply don’t have enough time to spend with their children on a daily basis, and their relationship with their children gets pushed aside. This lack of face time is one of the very culprits that lead to teenage delinquency and depression amongst affluent teens.

Not only is lack of parental supervision a dominant factor amongst teenage substance abuse, but having the access to cash makes drugs and alcohol that much easier for teens to access. Furthermore, affluent mothers and fathers tend to have the highest quality health insurance. This means that many of them have entire medicine cabinets full of prescription medications that treat insomnia, anxiety and pain. All an affluent teen has to do to turn towards drugs or alcohol is open their parents’ medicine cabinet or open their liquor cabinet. When you combine easy access to cash with instant access to prescription medications and alcohol, you have a dangerous temptation for your typical teenager and their friends.

Affluent parents had to work very hard to get to where they are. Even though they want nothing more than to set a good example for their children, and encourage them to excel in their own way, they have to be very careful about how their affluence can affect their children emotionally and psychologically. If your son or daughter is abusing alcohol and/or drugs and if they have gotten themselves into legal trouble, you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Unfortunately, affluent teens can sometimes have a lot to lose if they receive a criminal drug conviction. They can be denied access to exclusive colleges, thus affecting their future and their career. Your family’s privacy and your child’s future are of the utmost importance in any criminal matter, contact a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer without delay in order to have the best chances of avoiding negative consequences for your son or daughter.

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