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Drug Use And Abuse With Teen

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Date added: 19-03-22


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Abstract

In the United States, there has been a dramatic change in the transition to adulthood as people are extending education into their twenties. This is the period of the highest prevalence for the use and abuse of most types of drugs. The use of drugs and substances during early adolescence increases the risk of substance use disorder. Adolescents and emerging adults today are highly vulnerable to drug and substance abuse. The use of drugs and substances when young interferes with a person's neurodevelopment.

Drugs include such things as marijuana, cocaine and heroin while substances include alcohol and prescription drugs if deliberately misused. There are many factors that cause teens and emerging adults to use drugs and substances. Among these are social pressures from the family and peers, and use drugs by role models in the society. These are the main reasons adolescents engage in drug abuse. Another factor that prominently figures in causing adolescents is predisposition towards nonconformity, rebelliousness and independence. There is also a high correlation between the use of drugs among parents and the use of drugs among the children of those parents.

Adolescents and emerging adults who are at a higher risk of developing serious drug and substance problems are those with depression, feel like they do not fit in, and those with low self-esteem. These factors predispose the teens to abuse a variety of drugs and substances. The availability of drugs and substances at home when one is an adolescent influences their use of the same in emerging adulthood. This availability also is associated with adolescents using substances for their first time at an early age. This is because drugs are readily available in the home and the youngsters do not have to struggle to get them.

In the United States, there has been a dramatic change in the transition to adulthood as people are extending education into their twenties. It has been argued that this transition has become so long that it can be termed as a separate period in the course of life called the emerging adulthood, which lasts from the age of 18 to the age of 15 (Jeffrey, 2004). This is the period of the highest prevalence for the use and abuse of most types of drugs. Emerging adulthood is characterized by identity and explorations, instability and a feeling of being in-between, neither an adolescent nor an adult.

The use and abuse of drugs and substances in this stage of life is part of identity explorations. The emerging adults want to have many experiences before settling down as adults and this, for a large number of people, involves experimenting with drugs. These people want to see how it feels to experience the consciousness state that is induced by various types of drugs. In addition, it can be confusing for the emerging adults to construct their identities. Therefore, some of them resort to drug and substance use to relieve their identity confusion. The desire to know what it feels like to be under the influence of a drug is also what causes many adolescents to try different drugs and become addicted in the process.

There has been a rise in the incidences of drug and substance abuse in the United States. The use of drugs and substances during early adolescence increases the risk of substance use disorder. Adolescents and emerging adults today are highly vulnerable to drug and substance abuse. The use of drugs and substances when young interferes with a person's neurodevelopment through the induction of neurobiological changes which increase the risk of substance use disorder (Weiland et al., 2015).

This is because teenage is the most important period in the development of the brain and anything that tampers with the brain can impair this development. Thus, the substances that teens use in early adolescence can have a lot of negative effects in the long term. People who start using drugs before the age of 15 are more likely to become depended on those drugs that the people who start using drugs when they are 17 years (McArdle, 2008). In addition, research shows that people who use marijuana before the age of 15 have a very high risk of developing psychosis.

The use of alcohol at an early age results in alcohol neurotoxicity which causes the person to have smaller hippocampi and prefrontal cortices. Drug and substance abuse includes things such as interknitted use for recreation or experimentation. Drugs include such things as marijuana, cocaine and heroin while substances include alcohol and prescription drugs if deliberately misused (McArdle, 2008). In 2005, 8.5% of the deaths of males and between the ages were a result of drug and substance use. Drug abuse caused 8.2% of the deaths of females aged between 15 and 19.

These percentages are almost similar to that of deaths that are caused by cancer and is ahead of the amount of deaths that are caused by infections. This excludes the deaths resulting from self-harm which is in most cases caused by substance abuse. When the deaths due to self-harm are added, the proportions become 21% and 16.8% of the total number of deaths that occur at this age (McArdle, 2008). Teens who are addicted to opium have a death rate that is 12 times higher than that of the teens who are not opium addicts.

The highest proportion of problems associated with drug and substance abuse is found among people aged between 21 and 24 years. In the United States, problems associated with alcohol consumption begin early and increase continuously with every school year. There are two important factors to consider when looking at the use of drugs among adolescents and emerging adults, the prevalence and intensity of the use of drugs. At some instances, the prevalence of drug use may go down but not so the intensity of use (Lisha et al., 2015). The intensity refers to the frequency with which the users of drugs use them. The potency of drugs is increasing. For instance, marijuana has become stronger that it used to be sometimes ago.

This means that there is a higher chance of those who use marijuana today to become addicted to it that it was for those who used it before. There is also crack, a cocaine form which is highly addictive and which is smoked and analogs of some illegal drugs called designer drugs have the capability of causing a permanent damage to the brain (Hammond, Mayes & Potenza, 2014). There are many factors that cause teens and emerging adults to use drugs and substances. Among these are social pressures from the family and peers, and use drugs by role models in the society. These are the main reasons adolescents engage in drug abuse. Another factor that prominently figures in causing adolescents is predisposition towards nonconformity, rebelliousness and independence. There is also a high correlation between the use of drugs among parents and the use of drugs among the children of those parents.

The problem with drug and substance abuse among adolescents is that most of them do not consider the effects that it could affect their lives later. Drugs also cause them to feel untouchable and immune to their problems. Although there are teens who use the drugs and later stop or even use them occasionally without problems, others develop addiction which makes it impossible for them to live without the drug (Hammond, Mayes & Potenza, 2014). Adolescents and emerging adults who are at a higher risk of developing serious drug and substance problems are those with depression, feel like they do not fit in, and those with low self-esteem.

These factors predispose the teens to abuse a variety of drugs and substances, both legal and illegal. Among adolescents and emerging adults, the use of illegal drugs is rising. This brings with it a number of problems which include failures in school, violence, suicide, unsafe sex and poor judgment. Among the emerging adults, difficulties in achieving a successful transition into adult roles is known to lead to drug abuse (Lisha et al., 2015). In addition, a disrupted career development and family formation has been associated with drug abuse (Lisha et al., 2015). If one transits precociously into the status of an adult through such things as teen pregnancies, the chance of marital instability increases and there is increased probability that such a person will engage in drug and substance abuse.

Among emerging adults and adolescents, another dangerous trend that has emerged is the non-medical use of prescription drugs (Peralta et al., 2016). Outcomes that are associated with the non-medical use of prescription drugs include mortality and morbidity, depression and overdose. For most of these young people, it is important for preventative interventions to be used to alter their course towards hazardous use of drugs and substances that could be harmful to their health (Ingersoll & Ewing, 2010). Such interventions for adolescents seek to delay the age at which the teens are introduced or initiated into the use of drugs and substances.

For the emerging adults, the interventions aim at minimizing the effects that the drugs and substances could have on the health of the person after having used them (Ingersoll & Ewing, 2010). Such preventive interventions also try to identify the groups with the highest risk of developing dependency on the drugs and any early medical problems that could result from the use of drugs and tailor treatments to all individuals to prevent problems in future.

The availability of drugs and substances at home when one is an adolescent influences their use of the same in emerging adulthood. This availability also is associated with adolescents using substances for their first time at an early age (Broman, 2016). Therefore, getting exposed to substances when one is an adolescent and the easy availability of these substances increases the chance of using the substances in adolescence and emerging adulthood.

The practices and behaviors of parenting show that parenting practices and behaviors are significant in accounting for the use of drugs and alcohol among adolescents (Broman, 2016). The kind of parenting that involves parents responding to the needs of the children and requiring of the children to control their behavior leads to a high competence psychosocially and reduces the chances that the child will be involved in drug and substance abuse at an early age (Broman, 2016). Furthermore, the environment at home and the conduct of parents is of great importance in adolescents and emerging adults because it provides the environment in which the child is socialized on drug and substance use.

What a child learns about the appropriate use of substances is very important. It is the parents that are the first teachers who let the child learn the substances that are appropriate to be used, when these substances should be used and the potential harm that is related to the use of these substances (Broman, 2016). This tends to occur without the parents holding discussions with the parents about the substances. The children simply copy the behavior of their parents. Therefore, the use of drugs among the parents is strongly linked with the use of drugs among adolescents and emerging adults. The linkage that exists between the availability of substances at home and their use among children is because these substances are easily accessible to the children (Broman, 2016).

Race-ethnicity is a significant factor in determining the age at which adolescents begin using drugs. Black adolescents are less likely that their white counterparts to have alcohol availability in the home. Sex is also a factor as the availability of drugs at home is more for male adolescents than female adolescents, which is what makes male adolescents to start using drugs at an earlier age that female adolescents (Broman, 2016). The schooling emerging adults in college use alcohol more than they use other psychoactive substances.

In 2014, the Monitoring Future national Survey found out that 63% of students in college had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days in 2014. However, the emerging adults in college have a lower prevalence of using illicit drugs than their peers who are not in school (Blevins & Khanna, 2016). The study found out that among college students, marijuana has the highest annual prevalence at 34%. Second was amphetamines that are not supervised medically at 10% with tranquilizers taking the third position at 6.6% (Blevins & Khanna, 2016).

There are many negative consequences associated with the use and abuse of drugs and substances among adolescents and young adults. Drinking among emerging adults and adolescents in colleges causes an estimated 1825 deaths per year, 696000 assaults, and 599000 injuries and close to 97,000 date rapes and sexual assaults. Over 80% of all the apprehensions by police on campus involve alcohol (Blevins & Khanna, 2016). Biologically, different brain regions continue developing at various intervals all through adolescence and emerging adulthood. The active processes are what make the brain to be highly susceptible to processes that are neurotoxic and which can be a result of the use of drugs and substances. This comes with disadvantages.

The use of alcohol among adolescents and emerging adults is associated with a variety of physiological and neural changes. Such changes include a reduction in the volume of the hippocampus and a high rate of reduction in gray matter in the temporal and frontal cortices accompanied by an attenuated growth of white matter in the pons and corpus callosum (Blevins & Khanna, 2016). This causes defects in memory and learning, executive function, effective regulation and impulse control. The neurobiological changes that are caused by drug and substance abuse change cognition and raise the chances of neuropsychiatric processes and substance use disorders.

The use of drugs among college students exposes them to the risk of adverse health as well as social and behavioral consequences. According to research, drinking heavily during adolescence and emerging adulthood is linked with reduced attention and poor visuospatial skills as well as poor neurocognitive functions (Blevins & Khanna, 2016). Students who use marijuana have higher levels of symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the abuse of drugs and substances is a suicide risk factor in adolescents and emerging adults (Blevins & Khanna, 2016).

Mental health problems are also associated with the co-occurrence of substance abuse and cigarette smoking (Hammond, Mayes & Potenza, 2014). Because of the relationship that exists between the abuse of drugs and substances and anxiety and depression and the risk of suicide that is associated with drug and substance abuse, a lot needs to be done to prevent the abuse of drugs among adolescents and emerging adults.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear that drug and substance abuse is highly prevalent among adolescents. Therefore, it is important that adolescents and emerging adults understand the likely effects that the use of drugs and substances can have on their health and physical as well as cognitive development. They also need to understand how their decision-making and life in general can be impaired by addiction. The fact that there is information available also provides the hope for these groups of people to be reached and helped before they can indulge into drugs during this period when they are vulnerable.

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