Teen Drug Abuse

The adolescence stage is an unique period. It's not only a chance for growth and opportunities for teens but is also full of changes and challenges. During this stage, they are particularly susceptible to high-risk behaviors particularly drug abuse. As a cautionary measure, parents/ guardians and other concerned adults should provide the necessary support to help them through this time.

Youth can best be described as the period of transition where one ceases to be a dependent child and becomes an independent adult. There are other ways used to define the same. For instance, in education and employment circles, the term youth may be used to refer to any person whose age allows him/her to leave compulsory education and find work. This definition is not clear as increased levels of unemployment force many young people to remain dependent on their parents/guardians. All in all the matter of interest in this case is teens (13 - 19 years).

What risky behavior do teenagers get involved in? To begin with high risk behaviors are habits that adversely affect the overall well-being and development of a person - these habits may prevent them from attaining their goals and future successes. In short, such habits affect teenagers by disrupting their 'normal' development. One perfect example where 'normal development' is affected are cases of teenage pregnancies. The young people are unable to participate in typical experiences. Some of these behaviors include risky sexual relations and substance abuse. These two are inter-related but the focus in this case is on teen drug abuse.

Causes of Teen drug abuse

Alcohol consumption and substance abuse cases are prevalent among teenagers. Why is this so? Some of the reasons that make the teenagers turn to alcohol and drug abuse are boredom, peer pressure and curiosity. During the holidays, teens and young adults find that they have a lot of time on their hands. Other than spending time playing sports, watching movies or hanging out with their friends, a large number of them end up in parties where they get involved in boozing, smoking or even sniffing of cocaine.

Another contributing factor is peer pressure. Every single day you hear about programs aimed at teaching about the dangers of alcohol and teen drug abuse. Unfortunately some of these programs do not work as kids do not want to listen to adults. Teenagers basically tend to follow what other popular teenagers do. This trend is increasing at an alarming rate due to the easy availability of narcotic drugs, low self-esteem, improved monetary conditions of most households, a negative school climate and poor parent-child communication.

Sometimes young boys and girls take drugs and narcotics to alleviate pain. This is especially the case when they lack parental love. In most households, husbands and wives are kept busy at work, this leaves the youth frustrated. This leaves them vulnerable - friends (who are themselves addicts) can easily sway them.

List of Drugs and Substances commonly Abused by Teens

Some of the commonly abused substances include alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and meth. Drug addiction is a complex but treatable condition. Addicts always have a compulsive craving which makes them go out at all lengths to get a 'fix'. They become immoral and some get involved in criminal activities such as mugging and prostitution in order to get cash to buy the drugs. Persistent use in the long run has serious health and psychological problems. For most people, substance abuse becomes chronic. They lose conscience, memory and will power. The youth when intoxicated engage in unprotected sexual encounters exposing them to a number of STIs (Sexual Transmitted Infections). In extreme cases, narcotics may cause untimely death.

The youth may or may not be ready for emotional and social implications of sexual activity. It's kind of stressful for a teenager to raise a kid. Studies have shown that more than half the number of youth who engage in sexual activity do not practice sex. Approximately 50% of the 19 million cases of STIs reported each year are of the youth who are aged between 15 to 19 years.

Concerning teenagers and risky behaviors, community organizations, parents/guardians, schools and other learning institutions should be involved. Factors such as poverty, family violence, learning deficits, and poor communication skills should be addressed. As much as there will be conflicts between the youth and their parents/guardians, they should be taught skills to help them assess risks, be assertive and withstand peer pressure from friends.