Teenage Drug Abuse Essay Example

Teenage drug abuse has been a problem worldwide for many years. However, the percentage of drug use in teens hasdrastically increased over the years. Why? There are many causes to teenage drug abuse. Although the reasons for drug use may differ with every teen and drug, most teens still abuse drugs for the same reasons. The number one reasons teens abuse drugs is due to peer pressure and to make themselves feel better. Whether that be to party and let loose or to relax and concentrate on homework all depends on the teen themselves. Other known causes for teenage drug abuse are to “stop worrying about a problem, to stay wake, to lose weight, to go to sleep, to enhance feelings when having sex” (Boys et al. 460), "early substance use" (Park 1), and even an over consumption of energy-drinks may lead teens to use drugs such as cocaine (Meyer 1). What the teenagers do not understand is when there is a cause, there is always an effect, especially when it comes to drugs. Drug abuse can impact anyone’s life, especially that of a teen. Teenagers do not think into the future before they begin to overload their bodies with drugs. Therefore, they are not preparing themselves for what might happen. There are many effects of drug abuse. Some of which include “the transmition of STD’s by sharing needles, increase in rape, assaults, suicides, traffic fatalities, murders, thefts, and child abuse” (Somani and Meghani 3). As stated above, many worldwide issues are in place due to the use of drugs. However, no one does anything to stop it. Given that the cause of drug use is known, more people all around the world should be doing more to help prevent drug use amongst teens. If more actions were put in place to help teenage drug abusers, the world could be a better place.

Teenage years are some of the toughest years of a person's life. There is stress with school, peerpressure from friends, and, in some cases, stress at home or in the family (such as divorced parents or abuse). Although some teens do not have to deal with stress at school or home, every teen deals with the struggles of peer pressure at one time or another throughout his/her life. Peer pressure has such an influence on teenagers because "children might feel that the only way they’ll be included and accepted in social groups is by taking on the behaviour, attitudes and look of a group" (Pressure and Influence 1). Teens, especially those with self-esteem issues, will do anything to fit in with their friends. If a teenager is friends with someone who does drugs or drinks alcohol, the chances of the teen also doing drugs or drinking increases. Just as the Nova Recovery Center explains, “If your child thinks taking drugs or drinking alcohol will raise the respect their peers have for them, there’s a good chance she or he will try it at least once” (1). However, once can lead to twice and twice can lead to a lifetime of addiction, and addiction is not a road in which anyone wants to be on forever.

The road to addiction is a long and terrifying road which is very easy to get stuck on. Once a teen is headed down this road, there may be no stopping them. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the factors that contribute to drug addiction in teens. Although peer pressure is one of the main factors in teenage drug abuse, it is not the only one. Another main reason teens use drugs is to make themselves feel good. As Addiction Center states, “6 in 10 substance abusers also have a mental disorder” (1), and anxiety is a very common mental disorder, especially in teenagers. More specifically, “25 percent of all teens and 30 percent of all teen girls” are affected by anxiety (Nott 1). Most of this group will abuse drugs to ease the symptoms of their mental disorder. In other words, teenagers use drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs to self-medicate. However, most teenagers are not aware how dangerous this can be. All they know is that it temporarily takes away their pain and stress. They do not see that self-medication can lead to addiction in their adulthood or, in some cases, death. In 2017 alone, there were “72,000 drug overdose deaths estimated” (Overdose 1). Teenagers need to be taught the relationship between self-medication, drug abuse, and overdose. Otherwise the number of drug overdoses will continue to increase over the years, because teenagers will believe self-medication is okay. When, in reality, self-medication is no different than filling the veins in their arms with heroine. Both are equally as addictive and dangerous. Therefore, teens need to be told no matter how much they are struggling with a mental disorder, drugs are not the solution.

Drugs, whether they be prescription or illicit, should never be the solution to anything. However, teenagers treat them as if they are. Teens use drugs to help with everyday problems from homework to boredom. Most teens even abuse drugs for reasons such as to “relax (96.7%), become intoxicated (96.4%), keep awake at night while socializing (95.9%), enhance an activity (88.5%) and alleviate depressed mood (86.8%)” (Boys et al. 1). As these statistics show, the majority of teenagers abuse drugs to relax. Although teenage years may be very stressful, abusing drugs is not the responsible way to relax. However, teens all around the world still use substances such as cannabis and alcohol daily to solve this issue. Not only do teenagers take drugs to alleviate stress but they also use drugs to simply become intoxicated. The most social a person may be is during their teenage years. Teenagers love to socialize with friends. Although some teenagers may get together at cafés or restaurants, most teenagers get together with friends at parties in which drugs and alcohol are present. As stated earlier, if a teen is in the present of drugs his/her chances of taking them increases. Especially if the teenager is being pressured to try the drugs or alcohol. Alcohol, however, is more common at teenage parties than drugs, because “heavy drinking — also called over-drinking and binge-drinking — among young people is prevalent” (Partying and Alcohol 1). To stay awake while socializing and to become intoxicated go hand in hand when referring to teenage drug abuse. If teenagers are becoming intoxicated at social events, they will continue to consume these drugs, so they will be able to stay awake longer and enhance the activity they are taking part in. Of course, the activity would not be as enhancing if the teen were suffering from depression. Therefore, teenagers also abuse alcohol and drugs to alleviate depressed mood. In fact, Casa Palmera Staff describes perfectly how many teens abuse drugs to try to alleviate the pain of depression in her journal article “Drug Abuse and Depression in Teens”:

Teen drug abuse is often viewed as a way to rebel or to fit in with peers, but many times teens turn to drugs or alcohol in order to relieve symptoms of an undiagnosed emotional or behavioral problem. As many as 5 million adolescents suffer from clinical depression, but according to a 2009 study, an estimated 70 percent are undiagnosed and don’t receive any form of treatment. Without treatment, a depressed teen may turn to alcohol or drugs to escape their feelings of helplessness or to help them feel ‘normal.’ Unfortunately, drug and alcohol use only worsens depression symptoms. To make this problem even worse, only 10 percent of the estimated 1.4 million American teens with substance abuse problems receive treatment. (1)

As teenagers try to use drugs as the solution to their everyday problems, they end up making them worse. Which is why using drugs to alleviate the pain of everyday struggle is not a good idea for anyone, especially teenagers.

Not only should teenagers steer away from using drugs as the solution to their everyday problems because it ends up making the problems bigger, but they should also steer away from drugs because early substance use can lead to a lifetime of substance use. As a matter of fact, “90% of Americans who are currently addicted started smoking, drinking, or using drugs before age 18” (Park 1).Any teenager is at risk of becoming addicted to a substance due to the “function of their developing brains and bodies” (Teens Greater Risk 1). As a teenager, the brain is still developing. At such a delicate age, it is very simple to develop a dependence on substances. Young teenagers “who begin drinking before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to develop dependence on the drug” (Alcoholism & Drug Addiction 1). Once the dependence between the teenager and the substance grows stronger, there may be no stopping it. The decision-making portion of the brain is more sensitive to the consequences of substance and drug abuse during this time period, making it easier for teenagers to become addicted. “20% of adolescents” who have started smoking, drinking, or abusing drugs have become addicted (Park 1). This is due to the impact the drugs have on the undeveloped brain of the teen. However, the teenage brain is not only more prone to addiction but also “drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard” (Understanding Drug Use 1). Therefore, once a person begins abusing drugs as a teen it is much more difficult to stop, leading to an adulthood of addiction.

Although addiction throughout adulthood can be caused by early drug abuse, it can also be caused by the energy drinks teenagers constantly consume. The consumption of energy drinks in teens is very dangerous. Especially since new research has stated over-consumption of “energy drink could be a gateway to cocaine use” (Meyer 1). The stimulating rush obtained from drinking energy drinks leaves teens wanting more. However, eventually the energy drinks will no longer satisfy their needs, and they will begin to experiment with other substances. Some substances teens might decide to replace energy drinks with are alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and any prescription drugs. Substance abuse such as these can cause substance use later in adulthood. Study shows “those who didn’t consume energy drinks as they got older were less likely to develop substance-abuse problem” (Meyer 1). The caffeine within these energy drinks gives teenagers the alertness they need to have all throughout their day. Without these drinks some teenagers believe they could not do well in school or at work. Although it is good to be alert during school and on the job, constantly consuming drinks with caffeine is not the answer. Most teenagers are not aware of how much caffeine he/she is consuming. Energy drinks contain so much caffeine most do not list caffeine on their labels. Some people believe that energy drinks contain the same amount, if not less, of caffeine as coffee. However, “they have a lot more caffeine than an 8-ounce cup of coffee” (DeNoon 1), and the average 8-ounce cup of coffee contains approximately “100 milligrams of caffeine” (DeNoon 1). The exact amount of caffeine a teenager can safely consume is unknown. However, Dan Harriman describes teenagers should limit their daily caffeine consumption to 100 milligrams or less, because anymore and the brain developed a dependency on the substance (1). Therefore, since one energy drink exceeds this limit, any consumption of this beverage can be dangerous for teens.

Substance abuse in teens, such as drug, alcohol, and even energy drink consumption, can lead to life changing consequences. Teenagers who abuse substances “are more likely to exhibit poor mental and social functioning” (Kingston et al. 2). These teens have higher risk of developing depression and experiencing a decrease in academic performance as well as an increase in suicidal thoughts or actions. This excerpt from the journal “Substance Abuse and Adolescent Suicide” provides statistics related to the horrible effect substance abuse can have on teenagers:

It's important to add that in 30 to 50 percent of teen suicide cases, substance abuse is a part of the event itself. In other words, a large number of teens who take their own lives do so not only while they are intoxicated but precisely because they are intoxicated. The irony here is that many of them resort to drinking or drug abuse as a way of escaping their emotional pain. Unfortunately, the intoxicating substance frequently produces the opposite effect: it actually increases the intensity of their depression. (1)

Although teenagers try to use substances as an escape route, it does not always work. In fact, it has a tragic, opposite effect. Suicide, however, is not the only effect substance abuse has on teenage addicts. Less tragic consequences also occur as an effect of substance abuse. Such as the transmition of STD’s. Teenagers are more likely to do drugs when they are with friends. Those who inject drugs with friends are more likely to be diagnosed with and STD. More specifically “Hepatitis C is more common among those who inject drugs” (Somani and Meghani 2). Moreover, STD rates are not the only rates that increased due to substance abuse. Drug and alcohol misuse are the cause of “45% of rapes, 51% of assaults, 50% of traffic fatalities, 52% of murders, 51% of thefts, and 80% of child abuse” (Somania and Meghani 3). The effects of substance could go on and on. Addicts do not see how their substance use effects more people than just themselves. Substance misuse affects the entire family, community, and world.

The effects of substance misuse can be lessened with the help of more prevention programs. Not only teenage addicts, but all addicts need to be aware of the consequences their actions have on the world. They also need to know they are not alone on this road to addiction. If more people around the world helped with the prevention of substance abuse, these addicts could be redirected off the road to addiction and onto the road to recovery.

Substance abuse amongst teenagers has been a worldwide concern for many decades. Teenagers abuse drugs for many reasons. Some reasons including to make themselves feel better, to alleviate depressed mood, enhance activity, stay awake while socializing, and peer pressure. Peer pressure and self-pleasure are the main reasons teenagers abuse drugs. It is also statistically proven that teenagers who socialize with other teenagers who do drugsare more likely to also abuse drugs. This is because teens believe they must do any and everything they can to fit in with their peers. Since teenagers are so concerned with fitting in, they do not stop to think of the effects substance abuse has on them and everyone else around them. Drugs and alcohol are part of the increase in STD transmition, rapes, murders, suicides, and even child abuse. However, with a little help, the effects of substance abuse can be stopped. More importantly, substance abuse itself can be stopped. Prevention programs are set up all around the world. These addicts just need help becoming a part of these programs. As a result, they can ease off the path to addiction and move towards the path to recovery.


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