A drug is a substance that alters the mind, body or both. Drug use is the increasing problem among teenagers in colleges today. Most drug use begins in the preteen and teenage years, these years most crucial in the maturation process (Shiromoto 5). During these years adolescents are faced with difficult tasks of discovering their self identity, clarifying their sexual roles, assenting independence, learning to cope with authority and searching for goals that would give their lives meaning. Drugs are readily, adolescents are curious and venerable, and there is peer pressure to experiment, and there us a temptation to escape from conflicts.
The use of drugs by teenagers is the result of a combination of factors such as peer pressure, curiosity, and availability. Drugs addiction among adolescents in turn lead to depression and suicide (Shiromoto 12). One of the most important reasons of teenage drug usage is peer pressure. Peer pressure makes drugs seem popular, makes you have a fear of being an outcast, and since everyone is doing it, it is the “cool” thing to do…right? Wrong. Peer pressure represents social influences that effect adolescents, it can have a positive, or a negative effect, depending on person’s social group and one can follow one path of the other.
We are greatly influenced by the people around us. In today’s colleges, drugs are very common; peer pressure usually is the reason for their usage (www. nodrugs. com 1). If the people in your social group use drugs, there will be pressure a direct or indirect pressure from them. A person may be offered to try drugs, which is direct pressure. Indirect pressure is when someone sees everyone around him using drugs and he might think that there is nothing wrong with using drugs. People might try drugs just to fit in the social norms, even if a person had no intentions of using drugs one might do it just to be considered “cool” by his friends.
Today drugs are considered to be an acceptable social phenomenon by many teenagers. If parents are involved with children on a day-to-day basis, they will more than likely know when the child starts to take drugs because of the big changes going on in their lives. There are many positive alternatives to drugs, so drugs are not the only fun and “cool” things to do (www. nodrugs. com 2). Before children descend into drug addiction a whole array of signals normally appears, suggesting the family is in trouble. Few people are equipped to recognize these signs (Henican 181).
Stresses of everyday living is just too great a burden to bear alone; they feel like they need a protective shell, that invisible physic capsule they can hide inside. Most high school students said that some time in their lives they have used alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. More than seventy one percent of high school students have tried cigarettes, forty two percent have smoked marijuana, twenty seven percent had a cigar, seven percent tried cocaine, and eighty percent had a drink of alcohol (Dryfoos 26). In today’s colleges the availability and variety of drugs is widespread.
There is a demand for drugs and the supply is plentiful. Since drugs are so easy accessible, a natural interest in them may develop. A person may hear about drugs experiences, on reactions of drug usage, such as ” Hey the weed that he sold us was cool, I got stoned man”. This response will create a sense of curiosity and may convince the person to try drugs themselves. Many teenagers today believe that the first use of drugs is safe. However, although there is no instant addiction with the first try, teenagers tend to experiment further (Teen Drug Abuse 3).
Soon a person could actively seek the euphoric effects of drugs. Drug addiction is the result of intense preoccupation with the dicer to experience the mental and bodily changes with drug use. The final and the most disastrous stage are when a person needs drugs in order to function adequately. Therefore, availability, curiosity, and experimentation could result in drug addiction among teenagers (Teen Drug Abuse 6). One of the most devastating side effects of drug addiction and abuse is depression. Depression is the result of chemical imbalance, environmental influence, or a combination of both.
Drugs and alcohol are the most readily available methods of emotional anesthesia, if not on hand, they would find a substitute (Henican 141). Using heavy and very highly addictive drugs as heroin, cocaine, opium and many other will cause sudden mood changes, deterioration of the immune system, nervous breakdowns, unusual flares of temper and many other side effects. Besides physical side effects, drug addiction can create problems in a person’s social circles. The person may run into many conflicts with his family and friends, resulting in desire for isolation.
This in turn will create more problems since the person will have no social support. Furthermore, drug addiction is a financial strain especially for teenagers. When a person is addicted to drugs, he will do anything to obtain money to fulfill his needs (http://narconon. org/html/soln1/sol4. htm). According to previous studies, drug addiction is the results of three “I’s”. Teenagers may think of their problems as Inescapable, Interminable, and Intolerable. Life may seem bleak and miserable. Seeing no way out feeling lonely and no prospects for improvement leads to depression.
Which can further lead to attempted suicide. Many studies have found that drugs are a contributing factor to suicide. Using drugs may reduce inhibitions and impair judgement, suicide is a possibility. As one statistic illustrates 70% of all young people who attempted suicide used drugs (Dryfoos 30). Drug addiction was first declared a threat to the public welfare in the early 1850s (Henican 36). Dependence or addiction can be described as the continuous, uncontrollable or compulsive use of chemicals without regard to the ill effects it may have on ones life (Shiromoto 2).
Chemical dependency and or addiction is a disease because it is: primary illness, not a symptom of social emotional problems; progressive, meaning it gets worse if it is not treated; it is a chronic illness, it will not go away; and without the aid of treatment, it will certainly destroy the individual’s life (Shiromoto 16). Some signs of dependence and or addiction are the following. The user has a preoccupation with the drug, he or she is constantly thinking or craving it. They very often maintain an uninterrupted supply.
When the user is addicted or depending on the drug, he or she will have an increased tolerance meaning that they need a higher dose for the same effect. Some physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms are ill, depressed, anxiety, panic attacks, denial and severe physical pain (Shiromoto 3). Early initiation of any negative behavior generally predicts that other problems will follow. Substance abuse is closely related to delinquency, and almost all of the incarcerated youths report the use of drugs. Healy alcohol, smoking, and marijuana use appear to occur with early-unprotected intercourse.
Dropouts appear to be involved with sex, drugs, and violence to a much greater degree than enrolled high school students. Falling behind is associated with these behaviors also (Dryfoos 33). Crime and drugs go hand in hand. Personality decreases with drug usage and users feel increasingly disassociated from the world in which they live, and drugs among the youth become a more costly and major problem. Much juvenile distress appears to grow out of the drug business. Much of the problem comes from experiencing with gateway drugs (http://narconon. org/html/soln1/sol4. htm).
Tobacco is a gateway drug, it teaches smoking skills. It is like training wheels for marijuana. Alcohol, marijuana cigarettes, and inhalants are all gateway drugs (www. nodrugs. com). A lack of jail cells prevents significant prosecution of drug dealers. Drugs have changed the social landscape of America. Street gangs spring up over night looking for enormous profit drugs can bring (Teen Drug Abuse 6). Illegal drugs, for example, weed, speed, acid, or ecstasy has always been a problem among the teen youth, the problems gets even more serious if it involves additive substances such as cocaine.
A very common seen illegal drug around teens is Ecstasy, or generally called “E”. E’s are usually involved in rave parties; people take E’s and dance overnight. The academic name for E is hallucinogenic stimulant, it generally affects the concentration of the brain, and it can change one’s mood, sleep, sexual behavior, body temperature, and appetite. The sensation sight, sound and touch are enhanced, that is why it is usually used at discos and parties. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to “get high” and about three to four hours to wear off. Side effects include heart and blood pressure problems, blurred vision, chills and sweating.
The tablet changes every week and counterfeits are always around, it is not addictive. It is illegal to buy, sell, produce or posses any amount of E (The Information Series on Current Topics 24). Another popular drug is LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide), which is a little similar to E. It alters a person’s perception of sights, sounds, and touch etc, a person that has taken LSD might see or hear things that don’t exist (The Information Series on Current Topics 25). Known as “acid”, this drug is extremely powerful, once teaspoon can contain up to 25’000 doses. Only 200 micrograms is needed for one trip.
The danger of LSD is that the effect of LSD is extremely unpredictable since it depends on a person’s physical conditions and also his/her mood. About one hour after taking LSD it’ll start to take effect, the user will see or feel things that doesn’t exist, images maybe altered, for example, small objects may look huge, and also mysterious experiences, such as seeing ghost or religious objects. The consequences of taking LSD are severe, physical side effects include inducing violent and hazardous behavior, also LSD develops tolerant quickly, so frequent users has to eventually increase dosage (Shiromoto 10).
The other most popular thing is marijuana, or weed. It is usually imported from Africa, Asia, South America, and Caribbean, but homegrown weed is getting increasingly popular because of the sophistication of growing equipment (The Information Series on Current Topics 4). The most common effects are talkativeness, cheerfulness, relaxation, and greater appreciation of sound and color. It has been said that smoking weed improves performance of creative works such as arts or writing, it also makes skin, hearing and sight very sensitive.
Some immediate physical effects of weed use include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, and dry throat. The drug can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time and reduce the ability to do things that require concentration, quick reactions, and effective co-ordination. A common bad reaction to marijuana is an acute anxiety attack. People describe this reaction as an extreme fear of “losing control,” which causes panic. After all, we advise you all to not to get involved with illegal drugs, since it will cost you greatly both physically and emotionally (The Information Series on Current Topics 5).
Most teenagers used this drug because it is easy to get and a fun party drug. It also helps for stress on the mind. College teens feel many emotions going through the change of life. Living on their own and dealing with problems that mom and dad cannot fix. Marijuana is a drug this said to fix it all. That is why today most teens use marijuana and more want to try. The leading cause of death in all young people is unintentional injuries due to alcohol related motor vehicle accidents.
Drivers from sixteen to twenty who were involved in fatal crashes were more likely than any other age group to have been under the influence of alcohol (Dryfoos 27). The problems of teenage drug use, depression, and suicide are evident in our society. These are very real and threatening issues that have to be dealt with. We have to face to problems of our future generations. There are many non-profitable organizations that help teenagers to cope with drug use. There are help lines, community services that offer information about drugs, and individual counseling is available almost in every education institution.