SubstanceAbuse Among Teenagers
Substanceabuse has been a problem with many people in the world and cuttingacross all social classes and racial divide. However, substance abuseis a menace that has affected teenagers more than any other agebecause they are more vulnerable to addiction and being hooked to thesubstances of abuse. There is controversy that drug abuse is rampantin teenagers because the government is not doing enough to protectthe young people. However, substance abuse among teenagers involvesfactors that are beyond government control, but more control at homeand school. This presents a significant controversy about the factorsthat drive teenagers towards substance abuse. The discussion in thispaper will explore the causes of substance abuse among teenagers andthe consequences with a view of showing that parents and schools havea higher responsibility to control them.
Oneof the major causes of substance abuse among teenagers is peerpressure and influence of friends. This cause of substance abuse iscoupled by the desire of teenagers to be like their friends andbehave like their friends. According to Lowinsonet al (8)peer pressure accounts for the majority of the teenagers who takedrugs and substances of abuse. Most teenagers get hooked up to theaddiction through the influence of the peers in school and the area sof interaction. The peers who abuse drugs entice their counterpartsto join them in the habit as a way of making them share the goodness.The influence is strong to an individual teenager because they wantto share with the character of the others who they interact with.
Theinfluence of peer pressure is more intense due to the existence ofthe teenagers into groups and sometimes associating like gangs. Whena teenager is a member of a peer group, he or she will do anything inorder to identify with the group. According to Lowinsonet al (17)such groups have a strong influence on the ideas, habits andcharacter that an individual teenage member takes. Therefore, ateenager does whatever the peer group proposes as a way of keepinghim or herself in the group.
Anothermajor factor that leads to substance abuse among teenagers is theavailability of such substances to teenagers through informalchannels that are illegally structured. The channels that distributethe substances of abuse make it easy for teenagers to acquire them atthe convenience of their day to day schedule (Castilo12).For instance, the illegal drug distribution cartels go deep into theneighborhoods that they deliver drugs to teenagers in their homes andeven at school. The availability of the substances of abuse toteenagers creates the supply side of the addiction, and furthercomplicates any efforts by teenagers to quit. This also makes itdifficult for any efforts by parents and teachers to eliminate theproblem among the young people.
Anothermajor contributor to the habit of substance abuse by teenagers islack of adequate guidance and counseling about the dangers of theaddiction. Most young people are not aware of what they are gettingthemselves into due to the lack of appropriate education about drugsof abuse (Lowinsonet al 29).They engage in the habit of drug abuse as a way of quelling theircuriosity about the feeling that it is when a person takes suchdrugs. The curiosity for drugs of abuse is not countered by theeducation about the dangers of the drugs. If teenagers are educatedabout the effects of taking drugs and the consequences of the habit,they would not take the option irresponsibly getting into drugs.
Moreover,the education system has not set enough time for teaching life skillsand dangers of a successful life for a teenager. The education systemin most states and countries is focused on the academic side oflearning, and not the social inside of learning. As a result, theyoung people are left to learn knowledge on books and not knowledgeabout life. As a result, teenagers are left to figure out what is godfor them and what is not. Unfortunately, they adopt habits andbehaviors that may be destructive without the knowledge of theirparents or teachers (Castilo31).One of these habits is the taking drugs and substances of abuse thatthey find readily in the society or at school.
Moreimportantly, lack of attention room the parents and guardian aboutthe issues that affect teenagers is a major contributor to drug abusehabit. This is because teenagers go through a number of challengesand problems that affect their self esteem and personality. One ofthe challenges is the normal process of adolescence and thephysiological changes that take place in them (Lowinsonet al 34).Without proper advice and attention of the parents and guardians,they handle all these changes in their lives alone, and withoutseeking for the right help. Consequently, the physiological changesaffect their psychological state, which is affects their decisionmaking. They therefore find solace in peers and friends who may illadvice to substance abuse.
Withall these causes, the consequences are dire for the teenagers as theylose focus in their academic performance. The resulting addictionreduces their concentration in studies and their performance lowersbecause of poor academic activity. According to Castilo(32),students who abuse drugs record low grades that even threaten theirentire academic life in schools or colleges. At the same time, theirdiscipline changes for the worse, as they cannot be controlled inschool. With the addition of drugs, teenagers go into other behaviorssuch as crime and violence, which locks them out of school and maylead to imprisonment.
Substanceabuse also leads to development of diseases that result from weekbody immunity and internal injuries caused by the drugs. One of themain diseases associated with smoking substances of abuse includetuberculosis, mental problems, anemia and depression. With continuedaddiction to substances of abuse, the habit can lead to death, eitherfrom the resultant diseases or from suicide (Lowinsonet al 53).Teenagers tend to turn suicidal because of the denial that theyresort to when relatives and friends reject them as drug addicts.
Withall the causes and consequences of substance abuse in teenagers,there is more the government can do, but the major contributingfactors are social. Therefore, it is the responsibility of parents toguide their children by monitoring their behavior, counseling themand educating them on the right values. Teaching these values willinfluence their morals and guide them to reject deviations from theirpeers (Castilo42).In addition, the school system should educate teenagers of thedangers of drug abuse and behaviors that lead to the addiction. Whilethere is controversy that the government is not doing enough, morecan be done by parents and teachers to eliminate substance abuseamong teenagers. This way, the world will be a safer one withoutcases of teenagers ruining their lives with substance abuse.
Lowinson,Joyce., Ruiz, Pedro., Millman, Robert, and Langrod, John. SubstanceAbuse: A Comprehensive Textbook(4th ed.).Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005, Print
Castilo,Kassandra. TheCauses That Lead Teenagers to Drug and Alcohol Abuse.Munich: GRIN Verlag, 2009