The Drug Abuse Across the United States of America

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The drug abuse across the United States of America has been noticed as a tremendous problem since the past thirty years, whether it being the use of prescription drugs or illicit drugs. According to the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NIDA, 2015) it is estimated that 24.6 million Americans, in 2013, from ages twelve and older had used illicit drugs. Americans generally take drugs for variety reasons, that being to feel better, be better, or do better. It is important for American’s to understand the consequences that drug misuse holds.

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This paper is proposing a plan to help American’s become educated and entirely understand the causes on people’s addiction to these substances and be open to discussion with younger generations, targeting at the Paige’s Formal-Operations stage of development. This stage entails children of ages from approximately eleven and lasts into adulthood. According to the studies done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it is indicated that children begin abusing drugs around the age of twelve, some being earlier. Reasoning of the choice to focus and try to inform Americans around this specific age groups. The purpose of this proposal is to help enlighten Americans on approaching young children with drug information either if it’s at home or school. This can help reduce early use of tobacco, alcohol, and other specific drugs.

Substance use has always been an enormous dispute in the United States of America, bringing in complications throughout the country. Even though America has history of decades arrests, drugs are still available on the streets more than ever. Alcohol and Marijuana are recognized to be one of most abused drugs in America, but they are not the only popular substances that are being misused. In addition to these, people also abuse pain relievers, cocaine, depressants, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants, (Green, M. 2014). As a country, it is well known there’s a problem with Americans and the use of substance. Not only is the substance abuse a problem, but the lack of knowledge users has about the drugs that they are taking. Many don’t understand why or how people become dependent or addicted to the drugs. Which is why, it is important to start sharing the information in a way that will be heard from all ages, especially with late childhood and adolescences. Spreading the facts, the increasing risks of developing health problems, and the after-math drugs can lead to.

It is fair to suggest that Americans are at high risk of being addicted due to not only poor education at a younger age, but also because of the easy access. For instance, alcohol and marijuana is more likely to be misused due to how easy it has become to access these substances, despite the age limitation. Not only is it accessible, but it’s more affordable to younger generations. Initially, as a country, we set laws and age limitation to prohibit substance abuse at a young age, but reality is that Americans younger than the age limitation most often find sources for cheap drugs. Brown, Kim, & Perez, Eric (2014) noted that, “”Americans might go as far as faking symptoms to get a prescription or even take someone else’s pills, some even mixing with medicine with alcohol (para. 3). In order to forbid this type of behavior at an early stage, education and communication is key to prevent future addiction.

Prevention programs have been a main reason in the help of reducing risk aspects and enhancing protective factors. In 2014, NIDA’s prevention research program focused on drug abuse and other problem behaviors that occurred throughout a child’s development. These programs involved addressing all forms of drug abuse whether it’s singular or mixed, the specific ones that have become a local problem, family-based preventions, and most importantly the risk factors drugs carry. Positive results have come out these programs. Which is why, a program like this need to be heard and observed more efficiently. We need to present these ideas to children in middle schools, rather than having health ed introduce these topics later in high school.

During the early years of the formal-operational stage, as children enter this stage, they begin to process the ability to think in an abstract manner. They also begin to manipulate ideas in their head, without any dependence on concrete manipulation, (McLeod, S. 2010). At that time, children realize what the outcomes can be from their actions. Which is why, parents and schools should be confident and comfortable about talking to them about substance use and the conflicts that come upon using them. It’s important for this topic to be discussed either at home or in an educational environment because children need to be aware of their surroundings and what situations they will come across later entering their adolescence years and early adulthood. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health noted, “”21.5 Million American adults (aged twelve and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2014 (NSDUH, 2010). Children at the age twelve are being reported as drug abusers, which is why, we need to educate and provoke children from leaning towards any substance use. As a country, we should come together and enhance having more programs at all middle schools where children will have the access to information and learn about the dangers and risks of taking and misusing substances. Middle schools should be targeted in this plan because that’s when children are going through their formal operational stage. Due to this, they will be able to thoroughly understand and process the material that will be presented to them. In the long run, this can really help protect our children by preventing them into making a reckless decision in their future life that can potentially lead to long-term health problems.

The biopsychosocial mind of the citizens in America today differ, substance use has affected Americans in many ways such as in cognitive, behavioral, and socially aspects. In today’s day, with prescription medicine being abused and drugs being available on the streets, drugs have taken a toll on most user’s mind. Psychoactive substances produce their symptoms by sending chemical signaling in the brain, changing one’s feelings, what they process, and their behavior. Due to this, it can produce long-lasting complications for normal learning and processing memories. Someone who had been abusing drugs and alcohol, will intensify their behavior. For instance, if someone who’s been aggressive in the past can potentially become violent if they are under the influence. As for social aspects, Americans who are constantly abusing are highly associated with the title “”burden in society. This includes the involvement of housing instability, homelessness, criminal behaviors, sexual behaviors that lead to HIV, and unemployment and dependence on welfare, (Daley. 2014). These circumstances can be avoided by having this program in educational grounds, informing children at an early stage in their life and potentially educate parents, helping them to lecture their kids in the proper way.

In order to prevent Americans and their urge’s from using and abusing drugs, there needs to be not only programs for children in school, but family-based programs. Family-based programs help enhance family bonding, relationships and communication skills. Families should be discussing and enforcing policies on substance abuse not only at school but at home as well. Having a healthy relationship between families and having an active life style can decrease the chances of a child becoming involved with substances. Families who are struggling with this need to alter their children’s routine. For example, the world we are in today is surrounded by technology. It’s important that children are spending more time with their families rather than putting their full attention on the virtual world. Having a program that’s involved with awareness and is offering information is what every community and school needs, with more programs like these it will help reduce drug abuse at a young age.

In order to have a positive outcome, this program needs to be addressing all age groups that are associated with the formal-operational stage, giving children the information and advice on substance use in the United States. This program is to be placed in schools throughout the country, targeting the appropriate school levels. The topic of substance use should be introduced in earlier stages such as children in elementary schools, gone into depth in middle schools where the formal operational stage begins, and be revised constantly throughout high schools, preparing them into adulthood. This program will be organized around all local middle schools and is planned to be presented as an after-school program in order to involve children and their families, it will have classroom deliberations, and hold events involving local communities.

This program will be held after-school, it will be voluntarily, but highly recommended and displayed constantly in order to raise awareness. There will be motivational speakers who have studied the history of substance abuse and past abusers who are willing to share their stories. This program will be held after-school once a week but will have people available 24/7 for additional help for any child or adult in need. The program will follow a consistent schedule that will be accessible to all participants. The schedule will include what days speakers will go over specific drugs, the history, risks they carry, the potential outcomes, past abusers’ stories, and an end of the year art project that displays drug prevention. This program won’t just be involving students and their families, but their school administrators and teachers.

In the United States, health education is a class that is provided to all students throughout every high school. This class helps enlighten students on the topics of physical, mental, emotional, and social health. It’s a class to try and help lead children into making healthy decisions in their future path. In health education, substance use does come up and is briefly gone over, but not as much as it should be. This class is usually taken throughout one semester. Instead of being taken for one semester it should be changed into being a yearlong class, giving students the chance to learn more information about substance abuse. If not, substance use in America should be its own class. Lack of presentation is the reason why American’s begin abusing drugs at such a young age. It’s important to surround them with information that’s going to cross their path in the future, they need to be taught and shown what damage abusing can lead to later in their lives. This program is to advice our future generation into making smart decisions, changing the culture America has today.

Not only do children need to hear it from their teachers and motivational speakers, but at home as well. While parents cannot completely prevent their child from abusing alcohol or drugs, there are steps they can take in order to prevent it. First, parents must be informed about all the risks and damage drugs can lead to, they need to be aware of their surroundings and what drug situation is happening throughout their own community, (Angela, 2011). Home situations are also a huge factor in children using substances in their early lives. Parents, future parents, or any adult should be educated in case they approach a situation where they are looked upon for advice. This program’s goal is to mainly focus on younger children, but also provide information to all communities. It’s important to spread awareness to all American’s in order to create a better life in the United States. In order to do this, the program will come together with students to hold events throughout the community and have conventions where information can be provided to anyone who is willing to listen and be educated on a vital topic.

It is more than likely that children going through the formal-operational stage have been introduced to substances such as, alcohol, tobacco, prescription pills, or any other drugs. Due to this, Americans have revealed to starting at a young age, more specifically, at the age of twelve. One of the main reasons the United States has had a problem with substance use is due to American’s not being educated on the substances they are consuming. This program is designed to approach the appropriate age group in order to prevent America’s record of substance abuse from rising. Targeting the formal-operation stage is the most appropriate approach to take because it involves ages eleven and up, which is around the age that American’s generally begin their experiences with drugs. Therefore, it is crucial to inform and educate our children in middle school before they enter their years of high school, preventing them from taking risky decisions or falling into peer pressure, which unfortunately will come upon them as they later enter adolescence years and adulthood.

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The Drug Abuse Across the United States of America. (2019, Mar 24). Retrieved from