Why Teens Abuse Drugs in College
The use of drugs and its consequences affect and threaten the country and the citizens regardless of their geographic region, age group, and socioeconomic background. However, the most alarming issue is the increased drug abuse among college teens. Drug abuse among teenagers exists worldwide. In America, the abuse of medicines is costly to our society comprehensively but the youths especially college teens are the most affected. Drug abuse eventually leads to addiction.
In America’s earliest history, the most commonly abused substances were easily available to all ages of citizens. Drug addiction was at the time regarded as a personal issue. Doctors privately treated cases of addiction.Numerous veterans were hooked to the opiates they had freely received. Innumerable middle-aged housewives of the US became addicted to a variety of narcotics.Further incentives to abuse drugs were provided by the discovery of the hypodermic needle. At the beginning of the twentieth century,many people in America and all over the world were raising ethical objections on drug abuse. Drug abuse by teens in college is an unsolved problem for a long time.
A drug of abuse is defined as any substance that is introduced into the body through various routes of administration, which alters the level of perception, brain functionality, and the mood. Such substances include illegal drugs of abuse, prescribed drugs, some solvents, and alcohol.Most of the drugs of abuse are capable of altering learning changes and mood changes. Americans have unswervingly identified drug abuse among teens especially those in college as a leading problem challenging the country. However, most of the citizens are not familiar with the degree to which their children, communities, and schools are at risk.
College teens are most likely to abuse illegal drugs such as LSD, marijuana, and other hallucinogens.Other abused drugs are crack, heroin, cocaine, and other narcotics.Other drugs of abuse include tranquilizers, barbiturates, and amphetamines. Based on the National Household Survey conducted in 2002 on drug abuse among teens, about ten percent of the teens aged eleven to seventeen years had abused drugs. The most abused drugs in the research were mainly the illicit drugs such as cocaine, inhalants, and marijuana (Perry, 2.) Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug among college teens followed by cocaine. Cigarettes were identified as a firm basis for troubled teens that were using illegal drugs.
Factors such as gender differences contribute to drug abuse among college teens. Majority of male teens in college abuse drugs more than their female teenage equivalents. Drugs of abuse are not acceptable in the society; moreover, they have no place in academic environments such as colleges where teenagers live in their most important years of their lives. Most kids first try alcohol at an average age of twelve years. Over sixty-eight percent of teen’s abuse crack by their eighth grade (Leinwand, Donna, 3.) Drug abuse among college teens is an upsetting issue as increases the chances of emotional issues development,increases the chances of adulthood addiction, and decreases the focus. Drug abuse can also lead to death by damaging tissues in the body systems, and permanently damaging the brain.
Pre-conducted scientific research identified social factors as contributors to psychological development and affect the decision-making by teenagers to begin experimenting with substances. Such social factors include peers and the media (Botvin 888.)Teenagers who abuse drugs for particular reasons ignore the facts that drugs are harmful to them. The teenagers act as if they are invincible to the hazards associated with drug abuse. Abuse of drugs makes the individual behave differently from the norm and may affect the rest of his body and life. Regardless of the point of view, abusing drugs by teenager's changes their life and body health for the worse. The academic performance of a college teen abusing drugs is severely impaired. The level of responsibility of such a drug abuser deteriorates and is characterized by actions such as failure to complete assignments, neglecting responsibilities,and skipping classes. (Gordon, 25)
Alcohol is a legal drug that is only restricted to teenagers by age. Alcohol proves to be accessible, available, and plentiful among teenagers aged twelve to seventeen years. Alcohol abuse poses as one of the major addictions that a teenager can have. Around three million teenagers, including those in colleges, are addicted to alcohol. (Monti, Peter, 3). Alcohol is one of the leading factors leading to deaths in teenagers in the US. Most Americans begin taking alcohol at an average age of fifteen years. (Perry, 15) It can be readily argued and concluded that teenage abuse of drugs has escalated to epidemic proportions in some, high schools, colleges,and campuses. Of the drugs abused in most educational facilities alcohol leads in the percentage of abuse due to its availability.
Besides alcohol, college teens also abuse marijuana and cocaine. Fifty percent of the total teens in the eighth, tenth, and twelve grades have at one time tried cocaine. However, there has been a significant decrease in cocaine use among teenagers in colleges since the 1990’s. Data from researchers indicate that most teenagers believe that the abuse of marijuana and crack is not a bad exercise. Many teenagers have admitted being linked or familiar with other drug dealers in the country. In addition, many students have given, sold, or been offered drugs of abuse while on school property. Averagely eighty-five percent of college and high school students admitted that marijuana was readily obtainable for them. (Leinwand, 12).
The rates of drug and substance abuse substantially elevated from around 1992 to early 2000s, with an almost doubling of the percentage of college students and high school seniors reporting illegal drug use. The arrest data and self-report are both in agreement here. Since the 2000s, the decline in the proportions of illicit drug use has declined in both the arrest data and self-reports. (Agnew, 24).While in strenuous situations, most college teens susceptible to drugs have a high likelihood of engaging in crime. However, not all predisposed teens respond to strenuous situations with crime. Often, a delinquent reaction to a strenuous situation is likely to occur when the traits of the situation elevates the person’s sensitivity to stress.
An increased sensitivity to stress reduces the victim’s ability to cope legally, reduces the apparent cost of delinquency,and increases the alleged benefits of a delinquent response. In this scope, the abuse of alcohol and other drugs such as barbiturates could enhance the possibility of a delinquent reaction by elevating the person’s sensitivity to provocations. The drugs of this type may also reduce the teenager’s ability to involve in legal copying such as negotiating with others. Such drugs may also reduce the teenager’s concern and awareness of the repercussions of delinquency(Agnew, 25).
It is often argued that abuse and sale of drugs of abuse are primary causes of delinquency. In addition, it believed that the perception of reducing sale and use of drugs will mostly affect other types of crimes is part of the inspiration behind the present ‘war on drugs’. Sale and abuse of drugs of abuse among the college students are said to lead to delinquency based on a number of reasons. One reason is based on the pharmacological impacts of some drugs in the human body. Drugs such as cocaine, PCP, amphetamines, and alcohol are believed to escalate irritability and orweaken self-control. Withdrawal from drugs such as crack, meth, and heroin may also increase frustration and irritability levels.
Because of these effects, the teenagers under the influence of such drugs are more inclined to react to provocations in a violent manner and are easily upset by others. The teenagers under the influence of the drugs of abuse are also likely to provoke or upset others through their actions. However,it is important to note that not all drugs induce the above effects. The teenager, and various social situations, which the teenager engages in, is the major influences of the nature of the impact of the abused drug. An illustration is the effect of alcohol on hostility is sturdiest among the teenagers that are predisposed to aggression (Agnew, 24).
The second reason is that college teens may also engage in delinquency with the aim of acquiring money to buy drugs.This phenomenon is common especially with teenagers addicted to costly drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Therefore, drug use may result in a strain characterized by a desperate necessity for money. The teenagers may engage in various income-generating crimes such as burglary, drug sales, larceny, and prostitution. Some of this crimes the teenagers engage in may lead to use of violence. In a study conducted on Inner- City Youth, approximately a quarter of the accused who were involved in a burglary claimed they did so with the aim of getting money to buy drugs.About nineteen percent of the teenagers who were involved in robbery and thirty-six percent of the teenagers who engaged in a drug sale claimed they did the crimes with the aim of getting money for drugs (Agnew, 28).
Thethird reason is that trading in drugsresults in crime. The individuals involved in drug trading oftencarry vast amountsof drugs and money. The individuals are also hesitant to involvethe police and authorities in the occurrence of disputes. As a result,crime often results. The drug sellers may use viciousness against one another in their competitionfor customers and turf. Considering the nature of the business of drug sale, it is inevitableto mention that the clients and the drugsellers become usual targets forrobbers. It is also worth to mentionthat often whendrug sellers and their clients enter into disputes, they usually useforce against each other. This problemwas common andsevere especially in the early years entailingthe crack trade. During this era, young,inexperienced dealers especially those in colleges were in competitionagainst one another (Agnew, 26).
The fourth reason is that various researchers debate that the use of drugs,specifically chronic use, could increase the teenager’s tendency to engage in crime. This situation is achieved by reducing or breaking the teenager’s bonds to college and family,decreasing academic performance and escalating the possibility of interaction with crime peers. Teenagers are often exposed to contacting such peers as they use and buy the drugs of abuse. (Agnew, 27).The college teenagers who commit crime are often under drug influence. Moreover, there is a strong relationship between delinquency and drugs of abuse. Teenagers who usually abuse drugs are more likely to be involved in crime than teenagers who do not engage drug abuse.
Some categories of users such as the heavy crack users and heroin addicts engage in enormously large amounts of crime. However, this does not imply that all drug abusers are delinquents or that each delinquent is a drug user. Some researchers have suggested that delinquency and drug abuse are related as both are induced by identical variables. Some of these causative variables include individual traits, school problems, family problems, and interaction with criminal peers. The engagement in delinquency by the teenagers increases the probability that the teenager may be exposed to other individuals.These other individuals include those who use drugs, possess drugs, support drug abuse, and those who uphold some values favoring or justifying their drug usage. In addition,it is also drug abuse among college student not only raises the probability that the teenager will commit a crime, but also increases the likelihood that they will be targets of crime. Teenage drug users are also vulnerable to victimization as they are less capable of offering resistance and because their lifestyle may position them in proximity and interaction with offenders. (Agnew, 27).
Over stressed,overworked, over scheduled teenagers may turn to prescription stimulants to help in managing stress. The main excuse these teenagers give justifying the abuse of these stimulants is the focus to attain purposeful goals such as staying awake, working,or studying. Many teens exaggerate symptoms of the disease to facilitate their access to the prescription stimulants. Most of these prescribed stimulants are acquired from friends mostly than from dealers. Some college teenagers also abuse prescription stimulants with the justification that they view it less risky than abusing prescription pain relievers, binge drinking, or smoking cigarettes.
The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign was established to try and persuade teenagers especially those in colleges that drug abuse is associated with a variety of consequences. However, the campaign failed in reducing the drug abuse. As a result, a more useful approach needed to be put into place. The more promising strategy for reducing teenage drug abuse entailed the use of Drug Courts. The drug courts established a treatment program for the teens engaging in drug abuse, monitoring their behavior carefully ensuring that the strategy is followed and rewarding the individuals for complying. Punishment is also given for noncompliance. The purpose of Juvenile Drug Courts includes providing drug treatment and addressing problems such peer, school, and family issues. Existing evidence suggests that the Juvenile Courts are a successful approach in reducing teenage abuse of drugs (Agnew, 28).
Though appropriate solutions to teenage drug abuse in colleges exist, lack effort in the implementation of the verified strategies of successful drug abuse treatments poses as the chief obstacle. The family relationships and encounters contribute largely on whether the teens develop drug-related problems. Effective communication and strong family bonds between the children and their parents may aid in protecting teenagers from the plenty emotional and social factors that prompt drug abuse. Parents need to discuss the impacts of drug abuse with their teens. The parents also need to familiarize with the various signs and symptoms associated with drug abuse so that they can seek help in the emergence of these features. (Vester, Joris, 219)
The education system such as colleges can help by establishing programs such as D.A.R.E that will aid in keeping teenagers away from drugs. Teaching in institutions also needs to teach about the consequences of drug abuse at all levels of study. (Hanson, Glen, 589). Parents, Doctors, and counselors should back up the schools in preventing drug abuse. The physicians and counselors would help by offering details about drugs and establishing rehab programs for the teenagers involved in drug abuse. The churches and other religious institutions are primary sources of assist on the issue of drug addiction. Churches help by establishing drug-free activities. The religious institutions also help families, and teenagers recognize and resolve problems before they exacerbate and be complimented by use of illicit drugs. The mass media can also contribute to the war against drug abuse by covering new prevention stories, and conducting interviews with prevention experts informing the society about the availability of prevention measures. The only possible way to end drug abuse is seeking out prevention.
The abuse of drugs by teens in colleges influences the family as a unit because the teenagers become aggressive,and their decision-making is severely impaired. Teenagers who abuse alcohol or drugs find out that their interaction with their family suffers greatly. The drug-using teenagers set bad examples to their younger siblings. (Donohew, Lewis, Howard, 234). Parents should not tolerate drug abuse by violent or troubled adolescents, and the parents should seek appropriate help for the teenagers depending on the extent of the problem.A parent who has a teenager involved in drug abuse has many options. The parent can either enroll the teenager in a residential treatment center, short-term detox hospital or a sociality boarding school.
Luckily,for a troubled college teenager abusing drugs, there is hope if the parents succeed in getting the necessary intervention before it gets too late.Unfortunately, scientific research surpasses the actual implementations of the research findings on resolving drug abuse matters among college teens. The primary aim should be implementing the current findings rather than facilitating more research on the topic. This recommendation is based on the suggestions by statistics that the issue of teenage drug abuse in colleges is continuously growing, and hypothetical knowledge will never prove valuable in solving teenage drug abuse until it is put into practice
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