DrugAbuse in Adolescents
DrugAbuse in Adolescents
Drugaddiction continues to be a major threat to all groups and ages inAmerica. Drug abuse and addiction are on the increase especially inteenagers and adults as the drugs have become cheaper and easilyavailable. A lot of drug related issues like overdose deaths anddestructive effects are the consequences the country has to face as aresult of drug use and addiction. Drug abuse is a conditioncharacterized by destructive patterns of using a drug that leads tosignificant problems and distress. (Winters and Arria, 2011) On theother hand, drug addiction is a disease mainly associated withobsessive drug search, use and reliance regardless of the detrimentalconsequences. Drug addiction is the aftermath of continuous drugabuse. Drug abuse and addiction are mostly prevalent in adolescentsbecause the highest growth, and especially brain development, takesplace at this stage. The reasoning and decision-making ability isprimarily affected. When a person starts using drugs at adolescencestage or earlier, it is more likely they will be addicted.
Braindevelopment is one of the key transformations that happen inadolescence as, during this stage, significant structural andfunctional changes take place. As Winters and Arria (2011) note,brain development is not merely a continuation of childhood growthbut a larger set of developmental change. They also say thatadolescent drug abuse and addiction is associated with brainalteration and neurocognition deficits with negative implications forlearning and other cognitive abilities that may proceed to adulthood.Introducing drugs during this time of development may cause brainchanges that that bring about intense and long-term consequences.This might even be bad enough to stop brain development. Drug abuseand addiction affect areas of the brain that play a vital role injudgment, reasoning, decision-making, learning and memory and thisexplains the compulsive and destructive behaviors of addiction(Winters and Arria, 2011).
Religionand spirituality have a great ability to control and thereforereducing the risk of drug and abuse and addiction among adolescents.Califano (2002) believe that a healthy, spiritual development to agreat extent reduces the likelihood of an adolescents associationwith drugs. Spiritual teens who consider religion imperative and alsoattend religious services at least once a week are less likely toabuse drugs. Drug-free adolescents always show excellent levels offaith and spirituality as compared with drug-addicted adolescents.Religiosity act as a protector against drug abuse and drug addictionby prescribing behavioral norms that may function to dishearten drugabuse. Religious centers provide social activities where adolescentscan talk about their experiences and their challenges. This createsan environment where professional councilors talk to the teen on thedangers of drug abuse and addiction and best ways to overcome them.They are taught how to deal with risk factors like stress and peerpressure that may otherwise turn them to drugs. Through these socialactivities, adolescents interact with non-deviant peers instead ofthe deviant peers who are likely to lure them into drug and substanceabuse (Califano, 2002). Individuals who are under medication and atthe same time attending religious meetings show faster and stablerecovery as compared to non-religious individuals who quickly go backto drug addiction.
InLong Island, drug abuse mainly cocaine has drastically increased inadolescents. This has been fuelled b the dropping of drug prices andaccessing it has never been easier. Heroin addiction in adolescentsof Long Island caught people’s attention after the death of aneighteen-year-old girl Natalie Chiappa, who took an overdose onHeroine. The news coverage of the heroine threat created awareness tothe teens on the effects of drug use and addiction. However, it wasalso a wake-up call to parents to take responsibility for protectingtheir teenagers from drug dependence. The girl’s parents did noteven have an idea that she was a drug addict. Constant guidance andbehavioral supervision should be a parents every day duty from thetime he child is old enough to listen, talk and comprehend. Parentsshould also protect their teen children from risk factors that mightput them into the drug trap. This includes excessive schoolperformance, being extremely strict and domestic violence.
Accordingto the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug abuse and addiction ismostly common in adolescents aged between 15 and 23 years.Nevertheless, children who are at least 12 years old are alreadyabusing drugs. Children living with drug addicted parents and orphanshave a higher likelihood to abuse drugs as compared to children withparents who don’t abuse drugs. However, children from poorbackgrounds are less likely to abuse drugs as compared to childrenfrom wealthy families. Marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes are the mostabused drugs by adolescents. The use of alcohol and cigarettes hashowever been decreasing over the past two years. Marijuana use hasslightly increased with more youngsters saying that marijuana has noadverse effects.
Inconclusion, adolescence is a stage where people are more likely tohave their first drug use. It is also the stage with the highestnumber of drug abuse and addiction. Drug addiction in the adolescentstage has the worst consequence especially to the brain that is atthe climax of development and maturation. Spirituality, religiosityand parental guidance can help adolescents grow into drug-free andresponsible adults.
Winters,K. & Arria, A. (2011). Adolescent Brain Development and Drugs.Pub-MedCentre,18(2): 21-24.
Califano,J. (2002). Religion,Science and Substance Abuse.Retrieved fromhttp://americamagazine.org/issue/360/article/religion-science-and-substance-abuse: