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.
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