Why do Adolescents Use Drugs?
The usage of drugs by adolescents can range from exploratory to pathological. Adolescents who use substances regularly are more likely to have short-term problems such as automobile accidents, conflicts, unwanted sexual activity, and overdose. Substance abuse harms teenage brain development. According to Das et al. (2016), adolescents who regularly use alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, or other substances are more likely to develop long-term problems such as mental health problems, educational underachievement, substance abuse, and addiction as adults. Taking risks and looking for thrills is a normal aspect of modern adolescent development. By the time they graduate from high school, approximately 70 percent of adolescents will have experimented with drugs or alcohol at some point (Das et al., 2016).
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Adults should not denigrate, disregard, or tolerate even the most infrequent use of illicit substances. It is difficult to overstate the importance of parental views and behavior when it comes to substance abuse, especially when using alcohol, cigarettes, prescription medicines, and other substances themselves. According to national polls, Novacek et al. (2018) among 12th-graders, the percentage who say they have never taken any substances has consistently increased over the past 40 years. Prescription opiates and high-potency marijuana are among the more potent and deadly items now readily available. These goods increase the risk of both short- and long-term repercussions for teenagers who begin using substances due to these products (Novacek et al., 2018).
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Other risk factors for adolescent smoking include poor academic performance, extreme dieting, especially among females, physical fighting and drunk driving, especially among guys, and the use of alcohol or other substances, which is more common among boys (Novacek et al., 2018).
Teenagers with low self-esteem, poor problem-solving skills, and easy access to cigarettes may use tobacco in various ways. About 3.5 percent of high school students have used smokeless tobacco in the last decade, according to (Santrock, 2005) . People above the age of 12 are less likely to smoke cigarettes than a few years ago. Parents can help prevent their children from smoking or using smokeless tobacco products by providing positive role models, addressing the hazards of tobacco, and assisting teenagers who already smoke or chew to stop using it (Novacek et al., 2018).
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Randall & York (2020) demonstrate that 39 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 25 use drugs, compared to 34 percent of people between 26 and 29. Within seven years, 70% of individuals who try an illegal drug before their thirteenth birthday have developed a substance dependence disorder; just 27% of those who try it after their seventeenth birthday do so. Opioid use problems affect 29.5 million people worldwide, with opioids being the most dangerous. According to a NACADA study, 11.7% of males and 5.4% of girls in high school use illicit drugs, and the majority of these students begin their drug and alcohol usage during their youth (Randall & York, 2020).
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Males and girls use virtually all illicit drugs in dramatically different ways, and boys are statistically more likely than females to attend an emergency room or die due to an overdose. Drunk driving is considered “illicit,” and marijuana use and prescription medication abuse. Men are significantly more likely than women to use or get addicted to illicit drugs and alcohol throughout the great majority of age groups (Randall & York, 2020). It is a problem that affects women just as much as men when it comes to drug usage. According to research, women are more likely than men to experience the craving16–19 and relapse20,21 phases of the addiction cycle. Regarding drug treatment, women face unique problems, such as getting child care or being provided medicine that has not been thoroughly studied in female patients before being prescribed.
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Adolescents with mental health issues are more likely to engage in substance addiction, including alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, inhalants, and other illicit substances. Special care and therapy are needed since substance abuse frequently begins during this formative time. Substance use disorder not otherwise specified (SUDNOS) may be diagnosed in adolescents experiencing signs of substance dependency but are not yet at the point where they fit the criteria for substance dependence. Anxiety and depression are typical comorbidities among teenagers who use drugs, as are bipolar illness and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Randall & York, 2020). A person’s substance use issue is often helped by treatment for their mental illness.
Unfortunately, the root of substance use often goes far deeper than “experimentation” for many teens and young people entangled with substances. Parents and caregivers, behavioral and mental health issues, deprivation, lack of opportunities, support networks, and parental supervision are just some of the things that could affect the path to drug and substance abuse at an early age (Randall & York, 2020). Parents who do not keep an eye on their kids, do not communicate well with their kids, do not set clear rules against drugs and alcohol, and do not use alcohol or drugs themselves are all risk factors for adolescent substance abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to school-based preventive programs, research has indicated that family-based intensive interventions, which usually emphasize family functioning, effectively reduce smoking. According to Das et al. (2016), students’ academic performance improved as a result of a “Smoke-Free Class Competition,” according to the findings of a different study (SFC). This program, implemented in schools across the country, includes a promise to quit smoking, contract management, and monetary awards as part of its overall strategy to reduce smoking. According to the findings of this study, the involvement of the SFC helps decrease the number of students who are currently smoking cigarettes in their dorm rooms. When studies of school-based smoking prevention programs were examined by Das et al. (2016), it was determined that they varied in terms of intensity, the number of booster sessions they included, the duration of their follow-up periods, and the percentage of students who participated. Furthermore, Das et al. (2016) showed just a little evidence that school-based smoking reduction programs had a long-term impact. Effective mass media campaigns have an acceptable level of intensity over a long period of time.
Adolescents who get school-based alcohol prevention programs are less likely to drink frequently, whereas those who receive these programs through their families are less likely to drink frequently. Interventions based on social competency and social influence implemented in schools have been demonstrated to be effective in preventing drug misuse, including marijuana usage (Novacek et al., 2018). Prevention of smoking through family-based interventions is critical in reducing smoking rates. Novacek et al. (2018) indicate that children between the ages of 11 and 14 were subjected to intense interventions to improve family functioning. School-based primary prevention programs are among the most effective strategies for preventing mixed substance misuse. A greater amount of research is needed to establish the effectiveness and impact of internet-based therapies and legislative measures and financial incentives.
Substance abuse in teenagers can have devastating impacts on the community. Addiction has the potential to inflict havoc on a family. Substance-abusing adolescents generally isolate themselves from their parents and siblings, engage in antisocial behavior, and cause havoc in the home. Anger and damaged feelings are possible outcomes. There may also be disciplinary concerns or troubles at school. Santrock, (2005) show that parents may be terrified or in denial, depending on the situation. When parents are worried about their children’s well-being, it is not uncommon for them to take their frustrations out on one another. There is nothing like a drug or alcohol addiction to bring down an otherwise content family dynamic. Physical and emotional abuse are also possibilities; some children go so far as to harm their parents physically. When family members resort to violence as a way of dealing with stress, it’s an indication that the family is in desperate need of counseling (Randall & York, 2020). In conclusion, among the causes of teen drug addiction in adolescents include experimental curiosity, peer pressure, low socio-economic conditions at home, and the desire for extra energy for daily tasks. Drug misuse can harm a teenager’s physical and mental health. Some medications cause sleepiness, while others cause insomnia, paranoia, or hallucinations. Chronic drug usage causes heart, kidney, and liver problems.