Teenage Drug Abuse

There is a major concern about the teenage drug use today. Within the ages 15 through 24, fifty percent of deaths (from homicides, accidents, suicides) involve drugs. The two common reasons why teens use drugs are anxiety and depression.

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Factors like peer pressure, desire to escape, curiosity, emotional struggles, and stress may also lead to the consumption of drugs or alcohol. Teens are more likely to abuse drugs than adults because the part of their brain used for judgment and decision making is yet to fully develop. Therefore, they lack the mental capacity to truly understand the consequences of drugs. As a result of this carelessness, teenagers face a series of problems such as brain damage, delayed puberty, addiction, emotional and physical problems. For example, Marijuana is the substance most widely used by adolescents, after alcohol. Studies show that thirty percent of those who use Marijuana have some level of Marijuana use disorder. Drugs have been abused for thousands of years and its effects are that long. The extraction of active ingredients from psychoactive drugs first occurred in the 19th century.

By the early 1900s, about 250,000 were drug addicts. After noticing the addiction epidemic, legislators made it illegal for doctors and pharmacies to prescribe narcotics to addicts. Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug in 2013 used by 80.6% of current illicit drug users. The potency of marijuana in today market is nearly triple the strength of what was available 20 years ago. In the previous years’ teenagers were addicted to tobacco and now they are addicted to marijuana. More teenagers have experience with marijuana than nicotine. They believe marijuana is healthier because it is a plant base but in reality, it is unhealthy because of its addictive chemicals.Moreover, various doctors and drug specialists have come up with a solution to not only teenage drug use but alcohol as well. For example, Dr. Amy Schreiner and Dr. Sherry Steward explained how personality traits can lead to future drug and alcohol problems. They came up with four profiles, impulsiveness, anxiety sensitivity, sensation seeking and hopelessness. Impulsiveness may prompt an adolescent to consume cocaine or other stimulants, without considering the consequences. Also, teens who are immune to peer pressure, and are identified as thrill- seekers, are more prone to drug abuse. Stewart expresses that teens with high-risk personalities may be attracted to drugs that meet their short-term needs. Teens with anxiety-sensitive tend to get into trouble because they go for drugs that make them risk takers, to deal with their anxiety.

Results of their Efforts

In response to that, Stewart helped create the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS), to identify children at higher risk for future drug and alcohol problems. The self-report questionnaire later known as Preventure?, was developed by Canadian researcher Dr. Patricia Concard who tested it in thousands of adolescents in various countries around the world. The results were encouraging as preventure has reduced the odds of overall drug use. Preventure has also delayed the severity of mental health problems including depression and panic attacks. In addition, the trails showed reduced anxiety and good conduct symptoms.Constantly reminding teenagers about the consequences of drug use might not always be effective for those who do not want to listen. Sometimes teenagers need to be heard and how can we aid teenagers if we do not truly understand them? We can set up support groups where teenagers would not be judged but feel that they belong. For instance, low self-esteem teenagers would be given motivational speeches; perhaps by an adult who has had experience with drugs and understands what they are going through. In addition, they can be offered information about their health issue that can occur when they are in contact with drugs. Furthermore, these group sessions may include fun games that would boost the confidence in teenagers’. Basically, teens will be ensured that they are worth so much more and that there are other alternatives, rather than using drugs. This method would help them realize their mistakes and motivate them to stop consuming drugs.

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