Drug abuse is one of the most common and dangerous problems among teenagers and young adults in the United States. Studies conducted by several entities have shown that more than twenty-eight million American citizens below the age of sixteen are drug abusers. Sadly, issues such as poverty, easy access to drugs, and lenient regulations have continually influenced drug use among teenagers. With the continued increase in the number of teenage drug abusers in the society, many parents feel that they have lost control over the future of their children. Also, the social effects posed by drug use among children and young adults have forced the government and other concerned entities to conduct research studies aimed at implementing education, treatment, and rehabilitation strategies. However, the implemented strategies have so far failed to eradicate drug use among American teenagers.
Even though many believe that illegal drugs are the biggest threat among teenage drug users, the fact is that teenagers use both legal and illegal drugs. Studies conducted by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, show that some of the most commonly consumed drugs include marijuana, heroin, meth, cocaine, and hallucinogenic substances such as PCP, LSD, and ecstasy (Rehabs). Studies have also shown legal substances such prescription drugs, inhalants, alcohol, pain meds, and laxatives are also abused by teenagers. Drug use among teenagers causes several serious emotional, psychological, and physical health complications, and therefore, parents and guardians are advised to look out of any behavior that could be as a result of drug abuse.
The Partnership at Drugfree Organization advises parents and guardians to watch out for any signs exhibited by their children that show drug use (Rehabs). Early intervention is believed to ensure recreational drug use does not turn into addiction or drug over-dependence. While the signs of drug addiction might vary from one teenager to another, there are a few traits that can be used to determine drug use and abuse. In many cases, drug use leads to changes in their normal behavior. Teenage drug users may become secretive, isolated, and uncharacteristically angry, and even suffer from frequent mood swings. Drug use can also lead to changes in physical health caused mainly by lack of appetite, weight fluctuations, headaches, and seizures. Drug abusers mostly appear unkempt and develop skin problems. Drug abuse also worsens the symptoms associated with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Parents, teachers, and guardians are advised to watch out for these signs or other symptoms that seem peculiar. The government has also implemented school programs aimed at preventing and reducing drug use among teenagers (PronCon). However, these strategies are still inefficient and the number of teenage drug users has continued to hike.
The effects of drug use among teenagers vary. Even though medical specialists believe that the human development stops to grow after childhood, more studies have shown that the prefrontal cortex of the human brain continues to grow even during teenage years. Drug use affects this part the brain, and therefore, limits aspects such as reasoning, learning, decision-making, and planning (Rehabs). The lack of efficient impulse control and effective decision-making skills makes teenagers prone to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, substance abuse, smoking, and drug use. The effects posed by teenage drug-abuse can have lasting effects on the physical, emotional, and psychological state of the body. Some drugs impair the user’s memory and reasoning.
Drug abuse among teenagers is a serious social issue that affects the emotional, mental, and the psychological aspect of teenagers. The effects of drug use and abuse have continually led to serious health complications with grave effects to the lives and future of the users. Parents and guardians are advised to look out for changes in behavior and, in case of drug use, ensure that their children receive the necessary medical attention and counseling services.
ProCon.Org. (2018). D.A.R.E. – ProCon.org. Retrieved from https://dare.procon.org/
Rehabs.(2018). Teenage Drug Abuse. Retrieved from https://luxury.rehabs.com/drug-abuse/teenage/