Monday, 6 February 2012

Why Are Teenagers so Vulnerable to Drug Abuse?

Illicit drug use among teenagers is one of the major public health concerns in America. People who initiate drug use at younger age are more likely to get addicted than those who use drugs later in their life. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), 90 percent of American addicts start smoking, drinking or using drugs before the age of 18 years. It also states that 25 percent of those people become addicted to some or the other drug. 

These alarming statistics clearly state that drug use during teen years is very dangerous. We need to recognize this health problem and respond to it. But first, we need to know the reasons for teens getting into drug abuse. Understanding the reasons for their susceptibility may help us. 

Statistics of tobacco, drug and alcohol abuse among teens 
The number of teens exposed to tobacco, alcohol or illicit drugs in the United States is very disturbing. As per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 
• More than 10 percent of youth aged between 12 and 17 were illicit drug users in 2010 
• More than 8 percent of them used cigarettes 
• More than 10 percent of them used tobacco products 
• About 10 million persons aged 12 to 20 years (more than 26 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol 

Reasons for their vulnerability to these unhealthy habits 
Teens try drugs for various reasons. Some of the major ones include 
• Curiosity 
• Socializing with friends 
• Peer pressure 
• Perceived relaxation and fun 
• To escape from psychological pain 

Some other reasons include: 

Partial development of brain: Several studies have already found that the brain is still developing during the teen years. According to scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the greatest changes to the parts of the brain that are responsible for functions such as judgment, emotions, self-control, and organization occur during teen years. So, their behavior is often mystifying – poor decision-making, emotional outbursts, irresponsibility, etc. 

Adding to this, some teens also engage in impulsive and risk-taking behavior. These things make them vulnerable to unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol or illicit drug abuse. 

Peer pressure 
The internal pressure to do the things that their peers are doing is common among teens. Since teens feel more independent, their peers naturally play a greater role in their life. They develop close friendships with some peers and treat them as extended family members. They turn to such peers for support and guidance. 

Peer pressure to some extent is acceptable. But many times it is very dangerous. Teens generally face peer pressure when it comes to smoking (cigarettes) and drinking. Since marijuana is inexpensive and easily available, many teens are abusing this harmful drug perceiving it to be harmless. They often don’t realize that it is the gateway to other illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc. 

Problems at school and other family issues 
Poor academic performance and other problems at school cause stress and depression in teens. Even, family issues at home with respect to parents may disturb them. In order to cope up with these problems, they may resort to these unhealthy habits. 

Passive parenting 
Passive parenting is one of the major risk factors for teenage illicit drug and alcohol abuse. When teens are raised themselves with little supervision or when parents are not involved in their lives, they are more likely to get into these unhealthy habits. 

Responsible parents show love and affection, monitor their teens’ activities and set rules against unhealthy habits. Passive parenting, on the other hand, is less organized and allows teens to take decisions. Due lack of proper parental supervision and guidance, they take decisions on their own (most of the times they are destructive). 

Now that you got an idea on why teens are vulnerable to illicit drug or alcohol abuse, communicate properly and help them in planning and decision-making. Suggest tips to avoid peer pressure. Also, help them with their problems at school. Showing concern and helping them take right decisions can make them stay away from these unhealthy habits.

Article Source: PositiveArticles.Com does not vouch for or necessarily endorse the contents of this article.


Carolin Newmeyer said...

It can be a very hectic time for teens. They're still growing, and they still have a lot of curiosity in them. It's easy to be tempted, easy to give in to peer pressure, so the risk of drug abuse is very high for them.

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting story to read and I enjoyed reading it as well. Keep up the good work. Spice Tropical

Greg said...

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the kind words :)

saulk ane said...

Drug abuse has been associated with a wide range of adverse side effects ranging from some that are physically unattractive, Most are reversible if the abuser stops taking the drugs, but some are permanent. Alcohol Intervention

Greg said...

interesting info/link for drug abuse, many thanks saulk ane

Australian broadband service provider said...

Teens need quality diversion so they won't be able to get hooked to drugs.

Greg said...

I agree entirely. When people try to tell me 'what is the point in sport?' I would much rather have teens playing sports (and expending all that energy) that hanging around in groups without direction or motive. The same goes for music, art, drama... all these outlets are what teens need - that are easily accessible to them