Teen Substance Abuse Essay
Many teens in this generation struggle with drug abuse. Drug abuse is the habit of taking addictive or illegal substances. When using them they can cause serious health problems. It can also possibly ruin a life. What causes some teenagers to use drugs? Many factors contribute to the leading causes of drug abuse, a few are: easy access, social acceptance, and emotional issues.
Why is substance abuse increasing throughout adolescents? Teens become curious to experiment with drugs when they hear about them and see them. It is possible for a teen to hear that a drug is fun and it could easily make a person feel good and act different. A teen could have had a close friend or family member using drugs, and while the teen saw someone close to them behaving odd, they became curious and decided that they wanted to see what it was like for themselves. Some of the places a teenager can find or get a substance are in the most common places. A lot of teens have an easy entry to drugs at home. “Teens say they can get prescription drugs easier than beer, marijuana, etc.”(Friedman) “Teens that know prescription drug abusers say that 34% get it from their parents, at home, or in the medicine cabinet. The other 31% said that they get it from friends or classmates.” (Friedman) The study shows that teens have very easy ways to get ahold of drugs. It also makes it easier for kids to get a hold of drugs when their parents are lacking responsibility. “A few decades ago, parents used to have a lock on the liquor cabinet. Maybe there should be a lock on the medicine cabinet.” Says CASA chairman Joseph Califano Jr. (Friedman) Parents even have the choice to help their kids be aware by teaching about how drugs are dangerous and harmful. A parent’s job is to be there for their child and help them to not make the same mistakes they did. Parents should want their kids to grow up and become good role models that others will look up to. Parents who want their kid(s) to be successful and drug free need to also live a healthy life style, be a good role model, and set good standards for their children. “While it is critical that parents get involved in their children’s lives, teens are not just abusing drugs because their parents are apathetic or poor role models.” says Neil Bernstein, a clinical psychologist in Washington. (Friedman) There are many other explanations for causing drug abuse.
Addiction is another example for the cause of drug use. Addiction is an uncontrollable need or want for use of a habit-forming substance. Someone who is hooked or addicted thinks that they will not function without this substance in their bodies. Every addictive substance induces pleasant states or relieves distress. Teens try a drug for the first time thinking that it is no big deal, that they are only doing it this once, and that it will cause no harm. When what they do not know is addiction of that drug runs strong in their family and has a lot of family history with addiction. Next...
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Substance Abuse Prevention, also known as drug abuse prevention, is a process that attempts to prevent the onset of substance use or limit the development of problems associated with using psychoactive's substances. Prevention efforts may focus on the individual or their surroundings. A concept known as "environmental prevention" focuses on changing community conditions or policies so that the availability of substances is reduced as well as the demand.
Substance abuse prevention efforts typically focus on minors – children and teens. Substances typically targeted by preventive efforts include alcohol (including binge drinking, drunkenness and driving under the influence), tobacco (including cigarettes and various forms of smokeless tobacco), marijuana, inhalants (volatile solvents including among other things glue, gasoline, aerosols, ether, fumes from correction fluid and marking pens), cocaine, methamphetamine, steroids, club drugs (such as MDMA), and opioids.
Protective and risk factors
Environmental and internal are two main factors that contribute to the likelihood of substance abuse. Environmental factors in the individual's adolescence include: child abuse, exposure to drugs, lack of supervision, media influence, and peer pressure. Drug activity in an individual's community may normalize the usage of drugs. Similarly, if an individual is placed through treatment and then placed back into the same environment that they left, there is a great chance that person will relapse to their previous behavior. Internal factors that are within the child or personality-based are self-esteem, poor social skills, stress, attitudes about drugs, mental disorder and many others. A few more factors that contribute to teen drug abuse are lack of parent to child communication, unsupervised accessibility of alcohol at home, having too much freedom and being left alone for long periods of time.
main risk periods for drug abuse occur during major transitions in a child's life. Some of these transitional periods that could increase the possibility of youth using drugs are puberty, moving, divorce, leaving the security of the home and entering school. School transitions such as those from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school can be times that children and teenagers make new friends and are more susceptible to fall into environments where there are drugs available. One recent study examined that by the time adolescents are seniors in high school, "almost 70 percent will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40 percent will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose” (Johnston et al., 2013).Binge drinking has also, been shown to increase once an individual leaves the home to attend college or live on their own.
Most youth do not progress towards abusing other drugs after experimentation. Research has shown, when drug use begins at an early age, there is a greater possibility for addiction to occur. Three exacerbating factors that can influence drug use to become drug abuse are social approval, lack of perceived risks, and availability of drugs in the community. Youths from certain demographics are also at higher risk for abuse and addiction. These groups include those suffering from a mental illness and come from a family history of addiction. Yet, some teens living with dual diagnosis prove that there is not always a causal relationship between mental illness and a substance abuse problem. Moreover, when addiction occurs, youth are more likely to require teen rehab as a form of treatment.. Most young adults have a false perception that they may be invincible. These individuals believe changes won't be made until an extreme event happens i.e. a friend overdoses, a car accident or even death. Even then it is not likely that they will see the correlation between use and trauma.
Plans on preventing substance abuse
Family based prevention programs
"Prevention programs can strengthen protective factors among young children by teaching parents better family communication skills, appropriate discipline styles, firm and consistent rule enforcement, and other family management approaches. Research confirms the benefits of parents providing consistent rules and discipline, talking to children about drugs, monitoring their activities, getting to know their friends, understanding their problems and concerns, and being involved in their learning. The importance of the parent-child relationship continues through adolescence and beyond" (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2003).
Smit, Verdurmen, Monshouwer, and Smil conducted research analysis to measure the effectiveness of family interventions about teen and adolescence drug and alcohol use. According to their data alcohol and drug use is very common in Western societies. For example, 18% of the young adults between the ages of 12-14 year old in US have indulged in binge drinking. According to quantities in 2006, 73% of 16-year-old US students were reported having used alcohol; In Northern Europe this is 90%. Since early use of alcohol and other substances may cause serious health, immediate solutions to these problem are required .
School-based prevention programs
There are a number of community-based prevention programs and classes that aim to educate children and families about the harms of substance abuse. Schools began introducing substance abuse oriented classes for their students in grades as low as preschool. The inclusion of prevention studies into classroom curriculums at a young age have been shown to help to break early behaviors that could be signs drug abuse in the future. Around 40% of children have tried alcohol by the time that they are ten.
There are organizations that educates, advocates, and collaborates to reduce drug and alcohol problems in the state. Some programs may begin by allowing students to be interactive and learn skills such as how to refuse drugs. This is proven to be a more effective method than strictly educational or non-interactive ones. When direct influences (e.g., peers) and indirect influences (e.g., media influence) are addressed, the program is better able to cover broad social influences that most programs do not consider. Programs that encourage a social commitment to abstaining from drugs show lower rates of drug use. Getting the community outside of the school to participate and also using peer leaders to facilitate the interactions tend to be an effective facet of these programs. Lastly, teaching youth and adolescents skills that increase resistance skills in social situations may increase protective factors in that population.
Prevention programs work at the community level with civic, religious, law enforcement, and other government organizations to enhance anti-drug norms and pro-social behaviors. Many programs help with prevention efforts across settings to help send messages through school, work, religious institutions, and the media. Research has shown that programs that reach youth through multiple settings can remarkably influence community norms. Community-based programs also typically include development of policies or enforcement of regulations, mass media efforts, and community-wide awareness programs.
National recognition of substance abuse prevention
In 2011 President Obama issued October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. It pays tribute to all people working hard to prevent abuse in communities and working hard to make a safer drug-free country. 
Millions of Americans currently participate in Red Ribbon Week activities, according to the National Family Partnership (NFP)—the Red Ribbon campaign’s national organizer. The Drug Enforcement Administration, a Federal partner in Red Ribbon Week, describes it as “the most far-reaching and well-known drug prevention event in America.” Through the efforts of the NFP, other national organizations, Federal and State agencies, and communities, Red Ribbon Week has become more than a call to action. It has grown to be a unifying symbol of family and community dedication to preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs among youth.
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- ^Johnston, L.D.; O’Malley, P.M.; Bachman, J.G.; and Schulenberg, J.E. Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use: Overview of Key Findings, 2013. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2013.
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- ^Smit, Verdurmen, Monshouwer, Smil, Evelien, Jacqueline, Karin, Filip (2008). "Family interventions and their effect on adolescent alcohol use in general populations; a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Drug and Alcohol dependence. 97: 195–206. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.03.032.
- ^O'Connell, M.E., Boat, T., Warner, K.E. (2009). Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse Among Children, Youth and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising Interventions. Institute of Medicine; National Research Council. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
- ^National Institute of Drug Abuse. "Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents". www.drugabuse.gov/. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- ^"October 2014 is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month".
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