The best friends

In New York times are always rough for teenagers growing up. Teens must deal with things like school, violence, drugs, and parents. But when you have good friends to have your back you could get through almost everything. This is evident with these three girls Latoya, Monica, And Regina. They have been through everything together, the good times and the bad. Like the time when Monica was given an academic scholarship to NYU; when Latoya was going through weight problems; and who could forget the prom. These girls have had many memories between them.

Anticipation of the prom started as soon as the New Year began. They started looking for dates and dress the very next day. The days and night flew by until it was finally the eve of the prom. They all slept over Latoyas house that night. The day of the prom was pretty nerve-wracking for the girls. They all wanted everything to go perfect. Finally when that doorbell rang their three handsome dates and a stretch limo greeted them. They went to dinner at a very ancy restaurant that was given a five-star rating by the New Your Times.

Even though they were having the nights of their lives, they were a little sad because of the fact that this will be one of the last times that they would spend time together. Then the tree girls got together laughed and reminisced about the good times. After this they took a picture to remember this exact time. So as these girls start the new millennium and go their separate ways, they will always look back at this picture and remember that they are still best friends.

Alcohol and Teens

Alcohol, which causes more teenage deaths than any other commonly used drug in the United States, is the leading teenage gateway drug. Gateway drugs are substances that people take which, in many cases, lead to those people taking more drugs. Alcohol, smoking and marijuana are the most obvious gateway drugs. Studies show that if you smoke tobacco or pot, you’re more likely to try things like crystal meth or cocaine or heroin. Many people see alcohol and pot as less dangerous and harmful than other drugs, but the truth is, they are just as dangerous as any other drug in more ways than one.

Not only are alcohol and pot dangerous in their own right, they also screw up your judgment making you more likely to use other drugs. (Cite) Gateway drugs work in two major ways. The first, gateway drugs break down a psychological barrier against doing other drugs. Once you have crossed the line with a gateway drug, you are more likely to go there with other drugs. Second, Gateway drugs impair your judgment. If you are drunk or high, you are more likely to say yes to cocaine or whatever other drug is around. These drugs break down your inhibitions, so you are more susceptible to peer pressure and experimenting.

Cite) They do not just impair your judgment when you are on them they can change the way you feel about drugs in general. Unbelievably, alcohol is the most abused is drug. From pastures to unsupervised parties at home, the social calendars of most teens are full of alcohol. Other drugs rise and fall in popularity from generation to generation, but alcohol never really goes out of style. From being worshiped by the ancient Babylonians to being forbidden to teenagers, alcohol has caused many problems. Today, drinking is the drug of choice by teens and causes more wrecks and deaths today of teens (Cite).

To understand alcohol people must first know the history of alcohol, the effects of teen drinking, and the solutions to teen drinking. Teenagers rarely think before they do many things. Many times teenagers go to big blowouts or little parties with their friends. Their first thought is not about death, their grades, or alcoholism; their main purpose is to get drunk fast and sober up before going home by their set curfews. At parties, teenagers have an average of five or more beers in one night. In the United States teenage drinking has become a major problem, with about 3. illion teens as problem drinkers.

One-fourth of all seventh through twelfth graders admit to drinking at least once a week (Nielson, Nancy. Teen Alcoholism. San Diego: Lucent Books, Inc. , 1990). About forty percent of twelfth graders said they had one episode of heavy drinking in the past two weeks. Although no one knows why teens turn to drinking, various studies show that the amount of alcohol changes by their geographical location (Nielsen). Addiction is an illness in which a person seeks and consumes a substance, such as alcohol, tobacco or a drug, despite the fact that it causes harm.

In order to fully understand addiction, we must first understand why or how one could become addicted. Peer pressure, curiosity, attraction, release of inhibitions and relaxation are some of the reason of addiction. The first thing you must understand about addiction is that mind-altering drugs are basically painkillers. For drugs to be attractive to a person, there must first be some underlying unhappiness, sense of hopelessness, or physical pain. A person has some problem, sense of unhappiness or hopelessness, or physical discomfort. It could be a teenager experiencing his or her first romantic rejection.

A teen tries or uses drugs, to solve a problem. By using the drug a person feels there able to cope with the problem, and become valuable to them. A teenager gradually increases the usage of the drug, because it makes them feel better. Whatever problem they were initially trying to solve by using drugs fades from memory. At this point all they can think about is the drug, and lose the ability to control the usage and disregards the horrible consequences of the addiction. After 1996, the U. S. beer industry had consistent growth with about 3,500 brands on the market in 2002 (www. MADD. org). Imagine that you are the parent of a teenager.

You have just found out that your son or daughter drinks and that he or she has been going to unsupervised parties quite frequently. You decide to step in and do something to help your child. How about having the parties in the safety of your own home with parental supervision so the kids can be safe while they drink? You can even make the kids sleep at your house so they wont drink and drive. This sounds like a great plan, right? Many parents believe so. They reason that since their child is already drinking or will drink in the near future, at least they can make sure he/she is safe while doing it.

The fact of the matter is it the right thing to do to make sure their children are safe? By letting their children drink in safety, the parents are setting a horrible example for the children; they are endangering their children, they are endangering themselves, and they are making the problem worse. Drinking under the age of twenty one is illegal. By letting kids break the law in their own home, parents are showing their teenagers that it is okay to break the law. The parents show that they dont agree with the law, so they are going to break it.

This is a horrible example for teenagers. It also says to the teen that its okay that you drink. Once a teen gets approval from their parents, theyll be more likely to drink anytime. What if there isnt a supervised party this weekend? Do you think that will stop these teenagers from going to an unsupervised one? They can easily go out and make their own party. Today, about sixty six percent of teenagers that drink can buy their own alcohol (Cite). The short and long term effects alcohol has can impair students physically and mentally, impacting their education and health.

In other words, the person’s mental and physical abilities are impaired (Cite). Ethanol is a certain type of depressant alcohol that is responsible for these abnormalities. Depressants give the feeling of intoxication because they restrain the brains ability to communicate with the rest of the body. The intensity of the effects varies from person to person and depends on the amount of alcohol that is absorbed into the bloodstream. For example, if a person has a few drinks, ethanol can make him or her more sociable, increase confidence, or slightly decrease concentration and coordination.

While drinking, the logical thought process can become disrupted without much notice, leading to unintended situations (Cite). Before the age of 18, approximately one in four children is exposed to family alcoholism or addiction. Children of alcoholics are significantly more likely to initiate drinking during adolescence and to develop alcohol abuse disorders. Parents’ drinking behaviors and favorable attitudes about drinking have been associated with adolescents’ initiating and continuing drinking (Cite).

Research studies indicate that children are less likely to drink when their parents are involved with them. Adolescents drink less and have fewer alcohol-related problems when their parents discipline them consistently and set clear expectations. Older siblings alcohol use can influence the alcohol use of younger siblings in the family, particularly for same sex siblings. (Cite MADD) Teenagers often times deal with pressures from homework, love, money, parents and teachers. However, one of the things that pressures them the most is how to fit in with their peers.

We call it peer pressure. Simple enough, it is exactly what it says pressures from your peers or friends. Peer pressure is major reason most teenagers begin drinking. Why? Either because they have persuaded you or because all your friends are doing it. Do you remember the last time your parents declined your requests, and you said something like But everybody has it or But everybody does that? When you say that, you are really saying that you want to fit in with your peers. Parents and youngsters often use the idea of peer pressures to explain the way teenagers behave.

Sometimes, it is an excuse for teens to do things they know they shouldnt be doing. Millions of American teenagers drink alcohol. But sadly enough, many teenagers discover too late that drinking cannot solve any of their problems. Teenage drinking is now one of the most serious problems that young people face. In 1977, Senator Frank J. Dodd stated: Alcoholism is one of the greatest health problems in the United States and is one that afflicts individuals in virtually all social and economic categories and varying age groups (Cite).

From the time children reach the age of 13 , 63 percent of the boys and 54 percent of the girls have at least tried their first alcoholic beverage. (Cite) Alcohol use substantially increases each year throughout junior and senior high school. By the twelfth grade, 93 percent of the young men and 87 percent of the young women have at least tried one drink. Thirty percent of these students had five or more drinks in a row within the previous two weeks. (MADD) The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that: By the time teenagers reach twelfth grade, more than half of them drink alcohol at least once a week.

Nearly half of all teenagers who drink say that they have been drunk at least once compared to only 19 percent twenty years ago; Five percent admit they get drunk once a week or more often; Thirty-four percent say their drinking habit has created problems with school, friends, or police (Cite). Its easy to see why alcohol has become the leading gateway drug in teen society. They are products of their environment along with their peers. Makes me wonder why after so many teenage deaths due to the results of alcohol, teens just cant learn.

Teenage Alcoholism

Teenagers today have no idea what alcoholism really is. They think that they can never become alcoholics. They think that it could never happen to them, but they are wrong. Stress, Family problems and the desire to be popular are wrong the cause of teenage alcoholism. Signs that a teenager has a drinking problem and steps that parents can take to help their child are what I will discuss in this paper. The critical ingredient common to all alcoholic beverages is ethyl alcohol or ethanol. It is a clear, tasteless liquid formed through the fermentation of sugars by yeast spores.

The amount of alcohol produced depends on the type and amount of sugar in the original mixture, the type of yeast used, the temperature maintained during the fermentation process. American beers, which contain about 3% to 6% alcohol, are made from malted barley and hops (he ripened and dried cones of the hop plant). Most wines are made by fermenting grapes or berries, and normally reach a maximum of about 15% alcohol. Though they are sometimes fortifies with additional ethanol alcohol and thus may reach 20% alcohol in cherry or port wines.

Teenage years are filled with unsure time. Intense pressure to perform and succeed are felt by many youths, according to Alliant Health Systems, Louisville, Ky. Perceived failure at home and or school can lead to the need for escape. Teenagers often see their parents react to stress by drinking. This providing and example for them. They also see their favorite movie actors or actresses getting drunk when they go to a movie so they think that it’s OK for them to o it but what they don’t know it really hurts them in the long run.

With their parents, the might being having marital problems and that can usually drive a teenager to drink. The desire to be accepted and popular among their friends encourages many to begin drinking as well. The ability to consume a lot of alcohol is associated with being a “real man or woman” ( Lang 23). When teens see adults drink heavily and movie stars on screen getting drunk, the message that gets through is that “it’s cool to drink” which is the wrong one to be sending. Almost one half (47. 9 %) of seniors drink alcohol at least once a month 19. 8 % drink at least once a week.

Nearly one third (30. 7%) of ninth graders drink some kind of alcohol monthly or more often 12% drink at least once a week. Thirteen (13. 2%) of seventh graders and 6. 6% of sixth graders drink alcohol regularly. Regular use of alcohol has no changed significantly since the first survey in 1989. (Casey 1). Crime is inextricably related to alcohol and other drugs (AOD). More than 1. 1 million annual arrests for illicit drug violations, almost 1. 4 million arrests for driving while intoxicated, 480,000 arrests for liquor law violations and 704,000 arrests for drunkenness come to a total of 4. illion arrests for alcohol and other drug statutory crimes. That total accounts for over one-third of all arrests in this country. ( Lang 33)

The impaired judgment and violence induced by alcohol contribute to alcohol-related crime. Rapes, fights, and assaults leading to injury, manslaughter, and homicide often are linked with alcohol because the perpetrator, the victim, or both were drinking. The economic cost of AOD-related crime is $61. 8 billion annually. Many perpetrators of violent crime were also using illicit drugs. Some of these drugs, such as PCP and steroids, may induce violence.

These drugs can also be a catalyst for aggressive-prone individuals who exhibit violent behavior as a result of taking them. The need for preventing alcohol and other drug problems is clear when the following statistics are examined: Alcohol is a key factor in up to 68 percent of manslaughter, 62 percent of assaults, 54 percent of murders/attempted murders, 48 percent of robberies, and 44 percent of burglaries. Among jail inmates, 42. 2 percent of those convicted of rape reported being under the influence of alcohol or alcohol and other drugs at the time of the offense.

Over 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women arrested for property crimes (burglary, larceny, and robbery) in 1990, who were voluntarily tested, tested positive for illicit drug use. In 1987, 64 percent of all reported child abuse and neglect cases in New York City were associated with parental AOD abuse. In 1992, there were 6,839 deaths due to alcohol. There were 1,154 deaths from direct alcohol related problems and 5,685 deaths indirectly due to alcohol. Alcohol related deaths accounted for 9. 4% of all deaths.

In 1985to 1992, the number of deaths has remained relatively stable. Of all direct alcohol related deaths, 74. 8% are due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. The rest are due to alcohol dependence syndrome (18. 2%) toxic effects of alcohol (2. 2%) alcoholics psychoses (2. 0%) alcoholics cardiomypathy (2. 0%) and alcoholic gastritis (0. 8%). Most alcoholics’ deaths occur among men (72. 4%) this is why most men become alcoholics. When students want to talk to or with someone about their problem, 50. 4 percent report that they would choose a peer 62. percent a parent 39. 1 percent an adult friend and 30. 4 percent a relative other that a parent.

At school, 27. 2 percent of sixth graders and an average of 12. 1 percent of seventh graders, ninth and seniors would trust a teacher and an average of 13. 2 percent would trust a coach. In general, he percentage of students expressing trust of any kind has decreased over the past four years the only exception being an increase from 1991 to 1993 among sixth and seventh graders who indicate they would take a drug concern to a parent.

Alcoholic’s Anonymous does not engage in the fields of alcoholism research, medical or psychiatric treatment, education, or advocacy in any form, although members may participate in such activities as individuals. The Fellowship has adopted a policy of “cooperation but not affiliation” with other organizations concerned with the problem of alcoholism. Traditionally, Alcoholics Anonymous does not accept or seek financial support from outside sources, and members preserve personal anonymity in print and broadcast media and otherwise at the public level. A. A. perience has always been made available freely to all who sought it – business people, spiritual leaders, civic groups, law enforcement officers, health and welfare personnel, educators, representatives of military establishments, institutional authorities, representatives of organized labor, and many others.

But A. A. never endorses, supports, becomes affiliated with, or expresses an opinion on the programs of others in the field of alcoholism, since such actions would be beyond the scope of the Fellowship’s primary purpose. In the United States and Canada A. A. relations with professional groups, agencies, facilities, and individuals involved with the problems of alcoholism are handled by the trustees’ Committee on Cooperation with the Professional Community. Mutual understanding and cooperation between AA members and others who work with alcoholics are the concerns of this standing committee of the General Service Board. Student Life Alcohol and Drug Education Programs offers alcohol and other drug prevention and education courses for adjudication purposes. The goal of required alcohol education is to promote healthy choices a! nd responsible decision making about alcohol and other drug use.

Required alcohol education is intended as both an intervention and educational tool. The participants are students who have been involved in alcohol related incidents and who have opted to attend the classes. Students in the Alcohol Education Workshop classes undergo formal assessment by a licensed chemical dependency counselor. Students in other classes are assessed informally some are then referred for professional assessment. An examination of American public policy on problem drinking reveals that it is until still another area where our ambivalence about alcohol is evident.

There is no clear and single- minded plan to deal with the drinking issue. Instead policymakers have accepted the simplest disease concept of alcoholism. The result has been a heavy investment of resources in just one area for only one group that represents but a small part of the drinking problems of this country. Coming to grips with our ambivalence about the social meaning of drinking is essential. Though this is clearly not just a problem for teenagers, they may represent one of the best groups with which to start. After all, they will shape the alcohol policy for the next generation to come.

The Effects Of Advertising On Teens

People see advertisements all around the globe that attempt to lure consumers to buy products. Advertisements are placed in newspapers, magazines, schools, and on billboards everywhere. According to marketing consultants Stan Rapp and Tom Collins, on a typical day, an average American sees over 5,000 advertisements a day (Gay, 1992). Many questions arise about these advertisements, such as “Is advertising deceptive? Does it create or perpetuate stereotypes? Does it create conformity? Does it create insecurity in order to sell goods? Does it cause people to buy things that they really don’t need? ”(Alexander & Hanson, 1993, p. 240).

Advertisers use specific methods to target teen consumers, but these methods are not always successful or ethical. Advertising is giving the general public information about new goods and trying to increase overall sales, which increases the efficiency of the nation’s economy. It is supposed to be a significant way of getting the point across about a product and create motivation for people to buy. Advertising alone, however, does not get customers. It simply catches consumers’ attention, gets them to walk up to a shelf, and make an impulsive purchase. However, getting the customer back requires a more creative marketing approach.

There are several ways to research consumers’ behaviors, likes, and dislikes. The most popular method is tests and surveys, both before and after a product is introduced. Telephone surveys are very common, but they take several thousand calls to get a substantial number of responses to work with. Along with those, written questionnaires and samples, either handed out in stores or sent by mail, are effective tests to see if consumers like a product or not. The reactions to the samples, results of questionnaires, and number of participants are all recorded as a part of the researching process to come up with effective ads.

All of this data collected also has other purposes, such as information on warranties and which groups to target for certain products. Companies also check whether the ads are being productive by means of comparing the money made and number of sales during periods of advertising to those during a time of no advertising. Some companies even allow average consumers to preview a commercial to get a response. As a result, companies learn what consumers want before wasting money on useless ads. A well-known advertising strategy is making consumers feel insecure and creating fears that can be overcome by buying.

Advertising reveals the latest fashions and the new popular novelties on the market. It exhibits perfect individuals wearing the new styles and looking good. Consumers observe this perfection and envy it. Therefore, they go out and buy in hopes of reaching perfection. Furthermore, being an accepted member of society has become very important to most individuals. For instance, the presence of body odor on individuals makes them an outcast in society. Advertisers use this knowledge to their advantage by developing ads that show a person using deodorant and being recognized as popular.

Fear also works into the whole advertising process. Due to the fear by consumers that they will not fit in, they pay close attention to the new ads for the new looks, which gives advertisers more drive to make their ads portray the ideal person. Advertisers also insure that ads are simply informational, but many disagree and believe that they are definitely persuasive. According to Douglas Kellner, a professor of philosophy, as early as the 1920s, advertising critics argue that ads began to persuade Americans, due to the new invention of the assembly lines and the concept of corporations, that buying material goods was the thing to do.

They tried convincing people that spending hard-earned dollars on items that could be hand-made was the new accepted behavior that would enhance their lives (Alexander & Hanson, 1993). Likewise, critics of the advertising industry argue that it connects products with preferred emotions, such as happiness and popularity. For example, beer commercials often show a man after a hard day’s work enjoying an ice-cold beer to relax him. They also argue that ads give people the impression that products can give them talent. Take athletics, for example.

Nike ads are accused of implying that their shoes will give a consumer athletic ability. Michael Jordan is shown in a television commercial dunking a basketball, wearing a new style of Nike shoes. Consequently, kids are going to want the same pair to be “like Mike” (Wolf, 1998, n. p. ). On the other hand, advertising agencies say that they just give the consumers up-to-date information. They show change in their ads because they know that is what consumers want and to fulfill the needs of the general public, change. Thus, persuasive strategies are considered techniques used by advertisers to get consumers to buy.

Teenagers have become top consumers in today’s society, so advertisers have focused on getting their business. According to Simmons Market Research Bureau of New York City, teens bought 25% of all movie tickets and 27% of all videos, totaling $6. 6 billion. In 1998, teens spent $1. 5 billion on jeans, almost twice as much as in 1990, and $3 billion on sneakers, almost four times more than the amount spent in 1997 (Tulley, 1994). Another reason teens are being targeted is the fact that there are many more teens in America today than the past Generation X.

The current number is even expected to grow in the next decade, giving advertisers more reason to target them. Winning teens over as customers, today, means possible long-term customers, which equal big profits. The majority of teens also have part-time jobs or some type of income. With the possibility of the minimum wage raising once again, teens have come to possess a lot of buying power. According to the Teenage Research Unlimited, teenagers spent $140 billion in 1998, which is 14 percent more than in 1997 (Berkowitz & Evangelista, 1999).

Teens are able to spend their money more freely because they do not have the responsibilities of adults. They even have a greater influence on household spending, as their role in the spending of their parents’ money continues to grow. For instance, it is not unusual for a parent to send their teenager to the grocery store for them, giving them complete control of brand choice. Thus, teenagers are becoming big targets for advertisers due to their growing consumerism. Why are teenagers such big targets in the advertising industry? The answer is simple: They are different.

Advertisers view them as a constant changing generation with optimistic outlooks. They want to show individuality by their clothes and possessions, yet fit in with their peers. Their optimism comes from the good rate of job placement after college, the good position of the nation’s economy, and the very low unemployment rates. Teenagers can basically strive for any career with a good chance of being successful. They like to feel good about themselves, so they buy new materials to produce that feeling. Teens are continuously purchasing new items to keeps up with the changing trends.

Therefore, advertisers use their view of teens to create ads. With this in mind, advertisers devise specific ads, using a variety of tactics, to appeal to these changing teens. Although marketers each have their own unique techniques, they all use original, flashy, and funny ads to reach the teenage audience. They make posters with college age students that create a fun and happy image. Television commercials include music with good beats and bizarre images because that is what gets the attention of teens.

For example, the Gap’s swing dancing commercials were a big success among teens. They bought their clothes and accessories from the Gap because they could relate to it. That is one reason Gap is ranked as the number one casual clothes store among teens. Advertisers use celebrities to endorse products because teens admire and look up to them. Since teens are still trying to find themselves, advertisers try to create ads and brands that will survive past the finding years of teenagers, so they will have them as future customers. Due to the change in today’s teens, advertisers target them much more.

Another controversial subject with advertising is that fact that teenage smoking is on the rise. According to TIPS (Tobacco Information and Prevention Source), at least 6,000 people try a cigarette for the first time each day, all of which are under eighteen years old. There are at least 4. 5 million smoking adolescents in the United States. From 1988 to 1996, the number of adolescents, ages twelve to seventeen, who are daily smokers, has increased by 73 percent (http://www. cdc. gov/tobacco/initfact. htm). Teenage smoking has obviously increased in the United States.

As a result, tobacco advertisements are being blamed for the increase use of tobacco by teenagers. Many advertising critics argue that tobacco ads do indeed influence and contribute to the number of teenage smokers. Most teens, however, disagree and believe that their peers are the number one factor in their decision to smoke. Since image is very important to teens, they evaluate what image their smoking friends portray. If they want that image too, they may also take up the habit of smoking. A teen’s attitude towards cigarettes is a considering factor, ranking above advertising that leads to teen smoking.

It is obvious that if one has a negative attitude towards cigarettes, he or she will be less smoke. However, if individuals openly accept cigarettes, they may end up as a smoker. Also, those around cigarettes on a daily basis are more likely to be persuaded to smoke than individuals who are not around cigarettes. In the opinions of teens, tobacco ads do not play a big role in their decision to smoke. Advertisers use a variety of tactics to target particular groups, such as teens, to market their product. There are many views on advertising.

Despite the many opinions that advertising is manipulative, a waste of money that could go towards other issues, and a bad influence on human beings, there is no true way of proving it has a bad effect on people. It is simply intended to reveal the benefits of products that consumers want. It is vital to many businesses, as some would be unable to survive without a way of making their products known. Although advertising is accused of influencing consumers to buy things they do not need, they have the choice to buy. It is up to the consumer to make wise choices and develop shopping skills that are intelligent.

Sexual Abstinence Essay

Today’s world is full of worries and problems which did not affect teens a generation ago. New problems keep appearing in today’s world, such as STDs, increased pregnancy rates, and other factors facing teens who choose to have sex. Emotionally and physically teens and getting less developed before having sex and are not prepared for the serious problems which come along with their decision to have sex. No longer is it a matter which will just go away if we ignore it, but teen health and the health of our society depend on choices which today’s teens make regarding sex.

With so many diseases and problems facing today’s world, abstinence is the only way to protect ourselves. Abstinence is a safe choice in preventing the possibility of pregnancy. One-tenth of young women between the ages of 15 and 19 get pregnant every year, 83 percent of these pregnancies are unwanted or unplanned. Half of the unmarried teens who get pregnant do so within six months of their first sexual experience. In fact, between 1986 and 1990, teen childbearing increased by 16 percent. What’s worse, pregnant teenagers often don’t see a doctor until the time of delivery.

The dangers of going through a pregnancy without seeing a doctor are not only serious to the mother and child, but may risk the lives of both. “I’m doing the body count at 3 a. m. at Ben Taub [Hospital],” said Dr. Hunter Hamill, “and I can tell you that most of our (teen pregnancy prevention) programs aren’t working. We have blood on our hands. ” (Feldman 1). Without seeing doctors or receiving correct pre-natal care, the risk of complications for mother and child nearly quadruple. Not only can these complications include still birth, but may also cause excessive bleeding and hemorrhaging of the mother.

According to an article in America magazine, “The place to begin combating teenage pregnancy is in the family, not a clinic. ” (Leone 19). Although parents seem to be afraid to talk to their children about sex, it is vital to the teens’ health. If teens feel their parents are reluctant to speak about sex, they may feel uncomfortable coming to theur parents with any problems or concerns about sex. Teens who feel they cannot speak to their parents about STDs or pregnancy can now speak confidentially with their doctor.

Doctors are required to inform and treat teens with confidentiality if the teen seeks their help. Another serious problem surrounding teen sexual intercourse is the probability of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Each year, three million teens are infected with STDs. Among 14- to 20-year-olds, chlamydia is the most common. It has no obvious symptoms, and can cause infertility if left untreated. Another common disease is herpes, which causes sores and painful swelling of the genitals. Its symptoms can be managed, but not cured.

Fifteen percent of all teenage girls carry the virus that causes genital warts, another common STD. Gonorrhea, not uncommon in teens, is known to cause pelvic pain, discharge, and painful urination. It may leave its victims sterile. Perhaps even more serious is the disease Syphilis, which killed famous mobster Al Capone. It causes sores, rashes, brain and organ damage, and death. It can also harm an unborn child. AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a growing danger, and is by far the most serious sexually transmitted disease.

“Kids don’t take AIDS seriously,” said Dr. James W. Curran. “One thing they do have is sex. They have sex. They have sex. They have sex. ” (Ferriss 16) AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. Cases among teens have grown 62 percent in the past two years, and the number of teens with AIDS doubles every 14 months. A fifth of all AIDS victims in this country today are in their twenties, and since the disease takes two to ten years to develop, those victims contracted it in their teenage years. Even scarier is that, according to a study of 19 universities, one in 500 college students may carry the AIDS virus.

With these frightening statistics, it’s easy to see why many teens are choosing not to have sex. Many bold teenagers think they can totally avoid pregnancy and STDs by using various forms of contraceptives. However, while it does lessen the chances of disease and unwanted pregnancy, birth control is not always dependable. According to Dr. John G. Sholl. the term “safe sex” is a “misleading, incongruous combination of words. ” (Ferriss 16) Dr. Sholl is particularly concerned with the faults of the most popular form of birth control, the condom.

“Condoms do leak, and they do slip off,” Dr. Sholl said. (Ferriss 16) Not only that, but STDs and even HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, have been known to pass through condoms made of lambskin. Believe it or not, even oral contraceptives (better known as “The Pill”) aren’t always foolproof. Although “The Pill” diminishes the chances of pregnancy, it does not offer any protection against STDs or AIDS. Other medical drawbacks include side effects such as minimal weight gain, nausea, hypertension, benign liver tumors, and an increased risk of blood clots and strokes. Recent studies have linked its use with the development of breast cancer.

In smokers, it may also increase the risk of heart attacks. “The Pill” is not cheap; it costs from $10 to $30 a month, plus doctors’ fees. Women who are taking analgesics or antibiotics should NEVER take oral contraceptives, as those medications can interfere with “The Pill’s effectiveness. All things considered, if today’s abstinence programs were working, “The Pill” wouldn’t be necessary, anyway. An older form of birth control, the IUD (intrauterine device) has many drawbacks. IUDs can only be inserted by a physician, and those containing copper or slowly-released progesterone (a female hormone) must be periodically replaced.

More recent studies have revealed that IUDs may also cause pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection which could lead to blockage of the fallopian tubes or an ectopic pregnancy (within the fallopian tubes or elsewhere outside the uterus). It h….. as also been linked with the increased risk of infertility, even when there are no obvious reasons. Other methods of birth control are also troublesome. The diaphragm, sponge, female condom, IUD, and cervical cap must all be inserted into the vagina. Most are messy and awkward to insert, and must be left in place for six hours after intercourse.

Norplant, small capsules placed in the skin that release hormones periodically over a period of five years, are expensive and have to be inserted and removed by a doctor. The “withdrawal” method (removal of the penis prior to ejaculation) is very ineffective, because pre-ejaculate fluids some-times carrying diseases and containing small amounts of sperm can leak from the penis. It takes only a single sperm to fertilize an egg! By far, the best form of birth control is abstinence. It’s a hundred percent effective, clean and easy to use, prevents pregnancy and STDs, always available, and it costs nothing.

The only major drawback is that it requires self-discipline on the parts of those who practice it. Perhaps an even more convincing factor is that of religion and moral value. As the Christian church puts it, sex should be for the purpose of reproduction and nothing else. In the Bible, 1st Corinthians 6:13 states: “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. ” And 6:18 says that we should “flee from fornication… he that commiteth fornication sinneth against his own body.

In biblical times, any married woman who was proven to have had premarital sex was stoned to death at the door of her father’s home by the men of the city. If an engaged woman was seduced by one other than her fiancee, she and the man who seduced her were also stoned to death she for not screaming for help, and he because he’d violated the virginity of another man’s fiancee. The bible clearly states that “God wants you to be holy and pure, and to keep clear of all sexual sin so that each of you will marry in holiness and honor – not in lustful passion as the heathen do, in their ignorance of God and his ways.

Honor your marriage and its vows, and be pure; for God will surely punish all those who are immoral or commit adultery,” says Hebrews 13:4. The Catholic religion is very strict in its teachings of abstinence. They believe strongly in that sex is for procreation only. In fact, the only form of birth control approved by the Roman Catholic church is the “rhythm method,” or the avoidance of intercourse around the time of the female’s ovulation. (This method is not effective in preventing pregnancy.

However, nine out of ten Catholics do not believe that pregnancy prevention is wrong, and six of ten are using some form of artificial contraception. Catholics are engaging in premarital sex more than any other group of single Americans. Only 17 percent think that premarital sex is always wrong. These facts are just another example proving that abstinence teachings are weak in our churches and schools. Teenage members of the Baptist church have signed agreements saying they’ll abstain until they’re married.

The program is called True Love Waits, and more and more high school and college kids are vowing to remain chaste. -year-old Kenneth Legary thinks it’s a great idea, “I don’t want to catch anything, and at the same time, I can be loyal to God and my parents,” he says(Maynard B3). The promise reads: “Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, those I date, my future mate, and my future children to be sexually pure until the day I enter a covenant marriage relationship. ” “The core of the whole thing,” says Margaret Gleason, youth group leader at the First Baptist Church of Lakewood, “is that God tells us to wait,” (Maynard B3).

So remember what the Bible says in Psalms 119:1 “Happy are all who perfectly follow the laws of God. ” In addition, sex is surrounded by many emotional and mental consequences. “Sex, especially the first time, can leave you feeling very emotional and very vulnerable,” says child and adolescent psychologist Joan Kinlan. (Rodriguez 52). Many people feel used after having sex for the first time. Others may feel as though they’ve been exploited. Sex can be very disappointing, due to differing physical sexual responses and uncomfortability between two partners.

Guilt is also not an uncommon feeling after sex. People who weren’t ready feel like they’ve let themselves and others down. Sex, in contrast to popular belief, does not always lead to emotional intimacy. Many teens who have sex before they’re ready have complicated and unsatisfying relationships, and soon the bond between the couple deteriorates. Sex can’t make one person like another more than they did before. Having sex doesn’t mean that a person will stay in a relationship, and it certainly won’t mend a crumbling one. It may prolong one, but cannot heal one. It can only make things worse.

While maturity plays a large part in the decision to have sex, it may not be enough. Other factors are involved. There is no certain “right” age to start a sexual relationship. “Sex is a very individual, personal decision,” says New York psychotherapist Laurie Stein,(Rodriguez 52). Besides, a person can have a warm, satisfying relationship without sex. Priscilla Reynolds, a Maine mother-of-two, says, “As far as I’m concerned, you don’t need a sexual relationship to be involved with another person. ” (Ferriss 19). In conclusion, I believe Marjorie Love says it best: “Complete monogamy is the only safe way. Ferriss 19)

It’s true there is no better way to protect yourself from all the dangers surrounding sex. After all, you’re a role model. You have standards to maintain, and responsibilities to fulfill. Take it from Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone think little of you because you are young. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live; be a pattern for them in your love, your faith, and your clean thoughts. ” In a matter of life and death such as this, abstaining from premarital sex is the only reasonable and safe choice for today’s teens.

Teenage Suicide Essay

Teenage suicide occurs at an alarming rate and can be directly attributed to three main causes: depression, substance abuse, and relationships. This terrible phenomenon is rapidly increasing in the United States and only in the last decade has any serious attention been paid to the underlying causes. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15-25, with only accidents and homicide being more common! Most teenagers express various warning signs before they attempt suicide.

Therefore, suicide is a preventable occurrence in the vast majority of cases. Depression is by far the leading cause of teenage suicide. Depression is a disease that afflicts the human psyche in such a way that the afflicted tends to act and react abnormally toward others and themselves. Therefore it comes as no surprise to discover that adolescent depression is strongly linked to teenage suicide. Adolescent suicide is now responsible for more deaths in youths aged 15 to 19 than cardiovascular disease or cancer (Blackman, 1995).

Despite this increased suicide rate, depression in this age group is greatly underdiagnosed and leads to serious ifficulties in school, work, and personal adjustment, which may often continue into adulthood. Brown (1996) has said the reason why depression is often overlooked in children and adolescents is because children are not always able to express how they feel. Sometimes the symptoms of mood disorders take on different forms in children than in adults. Adolescence is a time of emotional turmoil, mood swings, gloomy thoughts and heightened sensitivity. It is a time of rebellion and experimentation.

Blackman (1995) observed that the challenge is to identify depressive symptomatology which may be superimposed n the backdrop of a more transient, but expected, developmental storm. Therefore, diagnosis should not lie only in the physicians hands but be associated with parents, teachers and anyone who interacts with the child on a regular basis. Unlike adult depression, symptoms of youth depression are often masked. Instead of expressing sadness, teenagers may express boredom and irritability, or may choose to engage in risky behaviors (Oster & Montgomery, 1996).

Mood disorders are often accompanied by other psychological problems such as anxiety (Oster & Montgomery, 1996), eating disorders, yperactivity, substance abuse, and suicide, all of which can hide depressive symptoms. The signs of clinical depression include marked changes in mood and associated behaviors that range from sadness, withdrawal, and decreased energy to intense feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. Depression is often described as an exaggeration of the duration and intensity of normal mood changes (Brown, 1996).

Key indicators of adolescent depression include a drastic change in eating and sleeping patterns, significant loss of interest in revious activity interests (Blackman, 1995), disruptive behavior, peer problems, increased irritability and aggression (Brown, 1996). Blackman (1995) proposed that formal psychological testing may be helpful in complicated presentations that do not lend themselves easily to diagnosis. For many teens, symptoms of depression are directly related to low self-esteem stemming from increased emphasis on peer popularity.

For other teens, depression arises from poor family relations, which could include decreased family support and perceived rejection by parents (Lasko, 1996). Oster & Montgomery (1996) tated that when parents are struggling over marital or career problems, or are ill themselves, teens may feel the tension and try to distract their parents. This distraction may include increased disruptive behavior, self-inflicted isolation, or even verbal threats of suicide. So how can we determine if someone should be diagnosed as depressed or suicidal

Brown (1996) suggested the best way to diagnose is to screen out the vulnerable groups of children and adolescents for the risk factors of suicide and then refer them for treatment. Some of these risk factors include verbal signs of suicide ithin the last three months, prior attempts at suicide, indications of severe mood problems, or excessive alcohol and/or drug use. Many physicians tend to think of depression as an illness of adulthood. In fact, Brown (1996) stated that it was only in the 1980s that mood disorders in children were included in the category of diagnosed psychiatric illnesses.

In actuality, 7-14% of children will experience an episode of major depression before the age of 15. In a sampling of 100,000 adolescents, two to three thousand will have mood disorders out of which 8-10 will commit suicide (Brown, 1996). Blackman (1995) remarked that the suicide rate for adolescents has increased more than 200% over the last decade. Brown (1996) added that an estimated 2000 teenagers a year commit suicide each year in the United States, making it the leading cause of death after accidents and homicide.

Blackman (1995) stated that it is not uncommon for young people to be preoccupied with issues of mortality and to contemplate the effect their death would have on close family and friends. Once it has been determined that the adolescent has the disease of depression, what can be done about it Blackman (1995) has suggested two main avenues to treatment: psychotherapy and medication. The majority of the cases of adolescent depression are mild and can be dealt with through several psychotherapy sessions with intense listening, advice and encouragement.

For the more severe cases of depression, especially those with constant symptoms, medication me be necessary and without pharmaceutical treatment, depressive conditions could escalate and become fatal. Brown 91996) added that regardless of the type of treatment chosen, it is important for children suffering from ood disorders to receive prompt treatment because early onset places children at a greater risk for multiple episodes of depression and suicide throughout their life span. Until recently, the health professionals have largely ignored adolescent depression, but now several means of diagnosis and treatment exist.

Although most teenagers can successfully climb the mountain of emotional and psychological obstacles that lie in their paths, there are some who find themselves overwhelmed and full of stress (Brown, 1996). With the help of teachers, school counselors, mental health professionals, parents, and ther caring adults, the severity of a teens depression can not only be accurately evaluated, but plans can be made toto improve his or her well-being and ability to fully engage life (Blackman, 1995) The second most common cause of teenage suicide is alcohol and drug use.

Although it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, posses, and consume alcohol, many teenagers do drink. As a result, in addition to breaking the law, these teens are particularly vulnerable to the various problems that alcohol can cause. Teens who are shy in social situations often use alcohol to loosen up and frequently nd up making fools of themselves and doing things that they later regret. Still other teens seek friendship and companionship by using alcohol so they can join the in crowd. Other teens are simply emulating their parents or trying to escape from their home environments.

What many teens fail to realize are all of the negative effects drinking can have on their minds and bodies. According to the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, Long-term effects of heavy alcohol use include loss of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, stomach ailments, sexual impotence, liver damage, heart and entral nervous system damage, and memory loss. Some of the common signs for teens with alcohol related problems include, an inability to control their drinking-it seems that regardless of what limits are decided on beforehand, they frequently wind up drinking too much.

Two, using alcohol to escape their problems. Three, changing from their usual reserved character into the life of the party. Four, a change in personality- turning from Dr. Jeckyl into Mr. Hyde. Five, achieving a high tolerance level-able to drink everyone under the table. Other troubling signs are blackouts, problems at work or school related to drinking and parental concerns over their drinking habits. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant.

It affects virtually every organ in the body, and chronic use can lead to numerous preventable diseases including alcoholism. According to the 1994 Monitoring the future survey, alcohol remains the number one substance used by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. Over 50% of 12th graders report drinking alcohol within the past month. These disturbing statistics outline a problem of overwhelming proportions. Each child who begins drinking before they reach a significant level of physical and mental maturity is increasing their chances of disease and suicide 100 fold.

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon/Alateen have set up teen hotlines and meetings to help troubled teens with their dependence problems and to help them work out any issues which may be troubling them or to an impartial ear when listening to potential suicide victims. These programs can be a great benefit to troubled teens but it takes a community effort to steer these people in the right direction. The third leading cause of teen suicide is problematic relationships. Every year an estimated 80,000 teenagers in the United States try to kill themselves.

Thats 219 kids a day, one teenager, every six minutes. According to Baptist Hospital East, Losses are a major factor in precipitating or aggravating the depression which often precedes a suicide attempt. Some of the types of losses include: The death of a parent; The death of a sibling or other important family member; The divorce of their parents; The death of a pet; A close friend or relatives move to another city Feeling rejected by peers; Not being chosen for an athletic team or squad or some other activity in which they are interested.

Extensive studies have been conducted by Baptist Hospital East to determine whether there is a suicide personality- a type of teenager who is more likely to try and take his or her own life. Researchers Garfinkle and Slabby found the following trends among teens who attempted suicide: The rate of parental absence was three times higher. Parental unemployment was twice as high A family history of suicide or psychiatric problems was the most predictable variable. Psychiatric illness was four times as common. Alcohol and substance abuse was the most frequently found type off family

Psychiatric problem. Conflict with parents was the number one precipitating event in young people who attempted suicide, followed by general family conflict. Drug overdoses accounted for 90 percent of all attempts. Attempts occurred most frequently in the fall and winter. In closing, although experts cannot predict which teens will attempt suicide, they agree that most adolescents who make an attempt do not want to die. What they want is to change their lives and make hem worth living or perhaps send a signal to a loved one that they are miserable and need help.

Being a teenager is hard under the very best of circumstances. Most teens are not emotionally equipped to deal with the vast number of curveballs life can throw at you without a good built-in support system. The momentary pain they are experiencing blinds them to their other options and to the real solutions, especially if they are experiencing depression and rejection for the first time. When drugs and alcohol are thrown into the mix, things can turn ugly very quickly. They view suicide as the only ay to escape from their suffering.

This is simply not the case, if parents, teachers, and friends were all better educated to the causes and signs of this terrible problem, teenage suicide in the United States could be reduced to a trickle. Help stop this needless waste of human life, help a teen today! Remember, that one day soon it could be your own son or daughter facing this critical junction in their life. Will you be able to communicate these thoughts to them and possibly save their life, or have you been daydreaming through my entire speech and just wish I would shut-up

Shallow Persecutions Essay

In April of 1999, two students shot 15 fellow students and a teacher in Columbine High School. A few years before that, a teenage boy committed suicide in his bedroom. What do these two have in common? In both instances, their choice of music was to blame. Alternative music has been the center of a lot of controversy as well as a scapegoat for many adolescent tragedies. This type of music is meant to be different and it is being persecuted because artists do not fall into the categories of R&B and pop rock. Music is the artists livelihood and religion. Condemning the music is breaching both an artists freedom of expression and religion.

Millions of teenagers listen to alternative rock groups such as Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails every day. These same teenagers walk into their schools every morning and dont blow their classmates heads off. These same teenagers dont go home and blow their own brains off. However when these things do happen, parents all over the country start protesting against the entire genre of alternative rock. Alternative rock has become a national scapegoat for adolescent violence. But is it really to blame? The parents that protest are probably the same ones that deny that the teens lashed out because of bad parenting.

Of course it cant be that because parents such as themselves are all perfect. This sort of attitude is precisely why teenagers respond to their environment so violently. Parents refuse to get help because theyre afraid of how they as parents would be perceived. Some parents even refuse to admit that there is a problem in the first place. With this view, parents often search for something else that might have caused such violent behavior. That is where alternative rock comes in. Parents say that it breaches hate, violence, and anti-Christianity. However, are they really protesting these issues or the way the artists look?

Ricky Martins Livin La Vida Loca glorifies a prostitute but there wasnt a huge uprising over it. He even makes a music video that is near pornographic. Ricky Martin is off the hook because he has a pretty face. He can do anything and sing anything he wants as long as it is legal. On the other hand, if Marilyn Manson calls their CD Anti-Christ Superstar, the whole country erupts in disbelief. This shallow hypocrisy is enough to make anyone sick. Marilyn Mansons lead singer looks like he has a glass eye and wears a thong to the MTV Music Awards. Trent Reznor of the Nine Inch Nails swings anvils from his nipple rings.

No, this may not be the normal, acceptable behavior, but who determines what is or is not normal? Should an entire genre be condemned because a few bands dont fit the norm? There are plenty of alternative rock groups that dont have glass eyes or swinging anvils such as Stone Temple Pilots, Garbage, and Hole. By denouncing alternative rock, the country is restricting these bands freedom of expression, and that is not the kind of moral foundation the Constitution was built on. There are others who say alternative rock groups are infamous for drug use. So are athletes, rappers, and George W. Bush.

They may not always be seen in a favorable light either but rarely do you see parents suing the Dallas Cowboys for being a bad influence. You also wont see Bush being chased out of the presidential elections. On the contrary, surveys show that Bush is leading in the polls. The longer people attack the artists of alternative rock, the more distracted they become from the real issues. Parents are so concerned with shutting down Marilyn Manson concerts that they are missing the signs of trouble in their kids. One of the main reasons teenagers act out the way they do is because they are not getting enough attention from the parents.

Hopping on a plane to join a anti-rock demonstration is not the way to solve that problem. There is no reason why alternative rock should be made a scapegoat. It is a type of music that appeals to teenagers. The way a message is interpreted is not the fault of the artist. Obviously, the mind of the teenager is already troubled before he/she ever listened to the music. The loud music may have aggravated the wounds but that is not an excuse for scapegoating. The truth is, the popularity of alternative music is growing and a recent study done by the Horatio Alger Foundation shows that violence is on the decline.

This proves the idea that the genre of alternative music is a bad influence on kids is just a myth. If people didnt listen to alternative rock, no one would be recording it. The genre is listened to and appreciated whether or not people choose to admit it. People are going to have to accept the fact and move on. There are other issues in the world today that are much more important such as world hunger, poverty, ethnic cleansing, prejudice, etc. Those are the problems that people should be worrying about, not some singer who had two sets of ribs removed.

The Survival Guide for Parents And Teenagers

This book is exactly what it says it is a Guidebook or Manual for both parents and teens that offers insight and advice on a wide range of adolescent developmental concerns. Organized into convenient topical sections for both parent and teen readers, the text can be easily consulted when seeking advice on a particular issue, or simply read cover to cover. Either way, the reader will find a wealth of practical advice for both parent and teen. The authors approach their subject in a sympathetic and sensitive manner in an effort to ameliorate typical parent/teen confrontations.

Sections intended for teen readers are highlighted in blue and written in a conversational style where the author is talking to the teen reader. Numerous quotes from other teens are interspersed within these sections to give the material a very user-friendly feel. Parents will find these sections very useful in that they provide a supportive and understanding perspective. They give teens a chance to step into the shoes of their parents and ponder their situation within a wide range of potential parental concerns.

The primary content of the book is intended for parents and goes into more depth than a typical teen section. Illustrated with easy to follow graphic organizers, the section intended for parents is packed with numerous case histories, tables and charts, questionnaires, dialogues, and issues common to families with teenagers. Of particular importance are the case histories, dialogue, and issue boxes. The case histories are taken from real-life situations and present both problem and solution for a wide range of situations.

These stories present the point of view of both parent and teen, which the reader can compare and contrast to his or her own situation. They also provide insight into the probable cause of the conflict as well as explaining how the problem was actually resolved. The issues sections present problems that parents and teens tend to argue about. Issues such as style of dress and friendships are written is such a way as to provide a helpful middle ground position for parents to take while struggling with a recalcitrant teen. The dialogue boxes present scenarios common to families dealing with teenagers.

In addition to presenting a typical parent/teen conversation (such as playing music too loud or talks about drugs) these sections offer insight on how to discuss certain issues with your teens. Having such models to follow can be very helpful to a parent or teacher searching for the right words or ways in which to approach a controversial subject. In addition to the dialogue, the authors have also included advice at the end of dialogue sections that suggest several ways in which the stated problem might be reconciled. The numerous tables found throughout the text provide convenient, up-to-date data on a wide variety of issues.

Parents and teachers alike can make good use of these tables, in particular, the section in the first chapter dealing with physical development. Entitled Milestones of Early (ages 11 to 14), Middle (ages 15 to 16), and Late Adolescence (ages 17 to 18), this section presents various developmental milestones in the context of the consequence for the child as well as the potential effect on the family. Of all the issues and concerns expressed in this book, the only section which parents may find objectionable concerns chapter eleven sexuality in adolescence. The authors seemingly approach this subject with a no-holds-barred policy.

They discuss all possible sexual issues, from the more innocuous dating and foreplay concerns to controversial issues such as homosexuality, masturbation and pre-marital sex. Parents with strong religious convictions may take issue with a number of the authors perspectives and recommendations. For instance, concerning the issue of early sexual experimentation the authors say: n itself earlysexual experience is not necessarily either abnormal or deviant early sexual behavior although it may shock or disappoint you should not be regarded as a major catastrophe.

Concerning homosexuality the authors say: you have no choice but to accept that this (homosexuality) is the way things are. They cannot help being gay and they cannot change even if they want to. (Pg. 131) On the issue of deciding to become sexually active the authors say: You (the teenager) are the only person who can make decisions about your body, your feelings, and your life. (Pg 132 in a section intended for teen readers)

On the issue of safe sex the authors say: Probably the most important thing to consider before you start having sex is how to avoid unwanted pregnancy. (Pg. 135 in a section intended for teen readers) On the issue of parental authority in relation to minors engaging in premarital sex the authors say: Your sex life is your own affair, but there is just a chance your parents may think its theirsFor example, if you know it would upset your parents to have you sleeping under their roof with a boyfriend or girlfriend whos coming to stay make it clear youll have separate bedrooms.

Pg. 145 in a section intended for teen readers) While religious families may take issue with these perspectives, it is important to remember that the authors have presented information based upon what current society is, and not on what it should be. Nonetheless, being both a parent and strongly religious myself, this writer finds it extremely discouraging to see no mention of planning for marriage in this book.

While there are significant chapters on such mundane subjects such as Money Matters, there is not even one chapter devoted to marriage and family life. This is very disconcerting to see in a book that proposes to be parent-friendly. This writer suspects that many parents, strongly religious or otherwise, may question whether the primary concern of a young teen considering whether to engage in sexual activity ought to be how not to get pregnant. This is like telling a thief that the only concern he or she should have is how not to get caught!

It would seem to this parent that a chapter on How to prepare for committed love in marriage and/or The familys role in establishing a healthy and successful society would be equally appropriate. Given the seriousness of the potential outcomes of sexually promiscuous teen behavior, this writer cannot recommend this book as a manual or resource for parents. On the other hand, there is a wealth of useful information in other chapters. Those who value the integrity of the family would do better to simply tear out chapter eleven and use the rest of the text.

Teen Violence Essay

Teen Violence has become an appalling problem in the US today. Statistics show that teen homicides have gone up 300% in the last 30 years. Suicide rate for 15 to 19 year olds has tripled to 10 per 100,000 in the past 30 years. Firearm death rate for 15 to 19 year olds has gone up 43% between 1984 to 1988. What seems to be our problem? Volcanic anger due to kids constantly picking on each other. Maybe teens just dont have any skills to vent the anger. Could it be that there are no trusted adults to turn to? Possibly, the easy access to firearms.

The results of these issues are dead and wounded students, faculty, and staff at schools in all parts of our nation. In school violence is just one of the many branches of teen violence, but it is one of the most important and most prevalent at this time. At any rate, it is unwarranted, intolerable, and needs to be stopped. If present trends continue, American schools, colleges, and universities will be increasingly unsafe. More resources will have to be allocated to campus security and crime prevention. (The editors 6) Contrary to what many people may think the most extreme forms of violence are rare.

The most important issue here is that students need a safe place to learn, and teachers and staff need a safe working environment. Personal security may become a major factor when students, especially women students, select their college. Minor issues or daily pressures are what causes kids to snap. This violence may eventually cause kids to be scared away from school programs like after school activities, and may also cause students to leave in fear every day. Who exactly is to blame for this out-lashing? Some say teachers are the problem.

They say that teachers put to much pressure on students, and some times even pick on students. Could this be? Are teachers too hard on kids? Do they single certain students out and pick on them? Others will say that all of the blame should be put on parents. Its the parents fault, they dont know how to raise their kids. That statement has been said many times when discussing the issue of teen violence. If it is the parents fault then what can we do to fix that? Take their kids away from them? Many say that its constant pressure and teasing from peers.

Kids are teased in school. That is a fact and it has always been a fact. Kids have teased each other since the beginning of time, so why is this all of a sudden a major issue today? Kids didnt shoot each other in the 1920s. So why blame it on teasing? While I disagree with teasing, it just does not seem to be a great reason to shoot someone. Could it just be the communities kids are being raised in now? Do we expose our teens to too much violence and street life? Maybe we should look to the communities and how they are trying to solve the violence issues.

Our kids dont play stickball in the street anymore, or go down to the local baseball diamond to hit some balls or play a game of baseball. Instead they go to clubs and do drugs, or hang out on the streets with friends doing nothing constructive, or they just sit in the house all day doing nothing but playing on the computer because they dont have friends or choose to not socialize. What are we so afraid of? Being a normal civilized person and talking out our problems? Meeting new people and doing something to further our well being? Who knows? All we know is that something needs to change.

How can our issue of teen violence be prevented, one way is programs. Programs that teach teens how to cope with problems in a non-violent way. Programs that allow kids to have a mentor or a mediator. Another solution would be to keep guns out of kids hands. Lock them up in cabinets, and use child safety locks. There is no need to ban guns completely. We have had guns since our country started and we never had a problem with shootings until now, so there is no reason to jump to the extreme and completely take away the right to bear firearms given to us by our fore fathers.

Everyone must pitch in. This isnt a problem settled by just one person. Everyone must know the signs, we have to put on more positive TV shows, and provide healthy environments for our teens. How can you help? Parents can help by following these few steps: Do some research, lock up your guns, and use child safety locks. Get others to discuss the signs with your children, they will not want to discuss the signs with you. If you notice a problem get help as soon as possible. Teach that guns and other weapons kill and hurt. Show children how to settle an argument with out resorting to violence.

Everyone that interacts with your child including relatives, siblings, teachers, and baby-sitters need to set a positive example. You can also look for other ways other than guns to protect yourself for instance: locks, jamming devices, a dog, security systems, or self-defense classes. Get the community to help by asking them to follow some simple steps also. Ask them to provide safe places for children. An active mentor program could provide a lost child with a role model. Have them provide positive events like carnivals, or circuses. A paid public class could help with coping.

If you recognize the signs in someone elses child try to help. The neighborhood could launch public education programs to raise awareness. Allowing a place for someone to report a stolen weapon anonymously would help. Everyone needs to participate in the neighborhood watch. Everyone must know the facts! In a school situation, a positive environment is imperative. A peer mediation program must be offered along with support during major problems. Schools need to encourage students to report any citing that could lead to violent situations.

Show students how to deal with problems with out violence. Start groups against the issue that include student participation. All of these things will not work with out youth empowerment. Kids need to want to help themselves, you cant just tell a teen what he or she wants or feels. Positive actions, feelings, etc. are needed. We need to limit the amount of violence on TV along with limiting negative actions towards teens. Without knowledge nothing will persevere. If you dont know what your trying to fix then you wont be able to fix it.

In conclusion, teen violence has become and appalling problem in our society today. The blame shouldnt be put on one group or one person. This problem is a joint effect of American culture and society today. Contrary to what people think the issue hasnt become to extreme yet, but it will if we dont do something about it. Everyone must help to stop this problem, because not just one person can fix it. Know the facts and try to help. A chain is only as strong as its links, and without knowledge and self motivations we have a very weak chain and our problem will never be fixed.

Alcoholism and Teens

Alcoholism refers to the drinking of alcoholic beverages to such a degree that important things of an individual’s life – such as work, school, family relationships, or personal safety and health; are seriously and repeatedly interfered with. Alcoholism is considered a disease, meaning that it follows a characteristic course with known physical, and social symptoms. The alcoholic continues to consume alcohol even though the destructive consequences he/she may face. Alcoholism is serious, and a very difficult habbit to break. If not treated, it may be a habit that cannot be roken, or maybe even a fatal problem.

It is generally thought that once the disease has developed, the alcoholic will not drink normally again. It is important to note that the particular symptoms and pattern of drinking problems may vary with the individual. Alcoholism is, therefore, a very complex disorder, and this complexity has led some researchers to question the accuracy of the disease of alcoholism. There are generally four basic types of alcoholism. The first type is called Alpha Alcoholism. It is being purely psychological dependent on alcohol (Haskins, 84). With Alpha

Alcoholism the person depends on alcohol to relieve bodily and emotional pain. This stage and all stages are serious in teens drinking, because any alcohol intake is dangerous for teens still developing mentally and physically. Another term for this alcoholic behavior is often called “problem drinking”. The second type of the alcoholic behaviors is called Beta Alcoholism. It does not involve either psycological or physical dependence on alcohol. But yet worse on your body than Alpha Alcoholism because the heavy drinking may lead to ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, damage to the nerves, and kidney roblems(Haskins, 85).

Beta alcoholics have a shortened life expectancy and suffer from financial and emotional demands due to excessive over drinking. Just like smoking, it costs money like everything else, the demand for alcohol will get to the circumstance of pinching every penny to just get one more drink. The third drinking behavior is Gamma Alcoholism, the alcoholic becomes physically dependent on liquor. So this means that the bodies tissues, become tolerent to the new substance and the tissue becomes immuned to it, and the the bodie tissue needs the constent pressence of lcohol.

Gamma alcoholics crave the need for alcohol but yet can only live without alcohol for a short peroid of time. If the Gamma alcoholic does not get there alcohol there body reacts very violently. Gamma alcoholics is one of the most common types of alcoholism in the United States. The fourth type of alcoholism is Delta Alcoholism. In Delta alcoholism the drinker cannot stay away from liquor for even a day or twowithout suffering from withdrawl syptoms. Usually this type of alcoholism is found where alcohol is drank customarily.

Addiction to acohol s very much like addiction to heroin. Alcoholism is a very tough habit to break, many people that have been classified as a alcoholic can never have a normal life again. Teenagers that are alcoholics are much more easily disturbed than adult alcoholics. In the near past the United States has been expeirenceing a widespread use of alcohols by teenagers (Haskins, 40) Today there aree some 500,00 alcoholics between the ages of ten and nineteen, and it is estimated that one of every fifteen young people today will eventually become an alcholic(Haskins, 42).

Teens drink for curiosity and to act like adults, not only that but peer presure and just to look cool in front of friends. Parents are a stong influence to teenagers to not drink or limit the use of alcohol by young people, as statistics show. If none of the parents in the United States drank, then neither would most of there children(Haskins, 105). Teenage drinking is getting to the point where the age group is getting younger and younger, it is now not uncommon to find teenagers with alcohol problems in nine-, ten-, and twelve year olds(Haskins, 91).

Teenage Suicide Essay

Teenage suicide has become a critical, national problem the extent of which is mind boggling. From 1980 to 1992 the rate of suicides involving persons from the ages of 10-14 years old has increased by 120 percent, and has increased 28. 3 percent when involving persons from the ages of 15-19 years old (Suicide 451). More recently in a poll of 3,210 high-school honor students, a stunning one-quarter have seriously considered suicide (Eaton 15). Suicides have been proven to be one of the leading causes of death among teens, falling second only to accidents (Roberts 45).

This data, however, may be inaccurate, being that deaths labeled accidental may have actually been teen suicides. Also, many families may not want to report suicides or suicide attempts for the fear of embarrassment. Nevertheless, there is extensive proof that suicide attempts and/or successes are on the rise among teenagers, and numerous groups have devoted themselves to establishing a cause to this epidemic. The one similarity that all of these different groups seem to agree on is that there is not one single theory that explains the growing phenomenon of teenage suicide.

However, a number of factors seem to be common among “at-risk teens,” factors that, if given the right set of circumstances, could put them in jeopardy. One of and seemingly the most common of these factors is depression. According to the National Association for Mental Health, nearly 20 percent of those who receive care for depression in hospitals and clinics are under the age of eighteen (Leder 31). Everyone has different reasons for being depressed and the extent of that depression will also vary from person to person.

Some common causes of depression that have been found to lead to suicide attempts are not feeling loved and/or understood, the feeling of rejection, trouble with friends and family, or the feeling of being “no good. ” A loss, (as in the death of a loved one, divorce, or the breakup up with a boyfriend/girlfriend) Has also been found to link depression and suicide (Leder 34). Psychologists and doctors have also realized that having numerous psychological problems, known as “conduct disorders,” causes teens to have impulsive behavior.

This impulsive behavior can cause them to act violently and antisocially; when these youths commit suicide, it can be looked at as an act of “violence turned inward” (Long 24). Violent behavior and suicide may be directly related to altered brain chemistry according to Marie Asberg, a Swedish psychiatrist. She has found that there are lower levels of the cerebrospinal chemical 5-HIAA in suicidal subjects, when compared to “normal” subjects. This chemical is a by product of the brain neurotransmitter serotonin, which may regulate mood and aggression (Long 25).

According to Dr. Michael Stanley, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, “the serotonin data [is] the most potentially promising development in the suicide prevention field. ” According to Stanley, it may be possible to test whether or not a person may be suicidal (qtd. in Some say that the incrteased rate of completed suicicdes may be atributed to the use of more leathal means during attempts. Another major factor that relates to adolescent suicide is the use of drugs and alcohol.

Experts estimated that an amazing three out of four youths that commit suicide have abused drugs at one time or another. Alcohol has also been found in the blood of at least half of all adolescents at the time of there suicide (Long 23). There are many reasons why drugs and alcohol create a higher risk of suicide. For example, first, drugs are commonly used as an escape; they help in coping with stress and frustration by blocking it out. This attempted release from problems shows that the teen has already become unstable and is losing control.

Secondly, when a person is under the influence of drugs, or is intoxicated, his self-control is enormously decreased. He may suddenly act upon a suicidal thought without putting any thought into it. Finally and probably the most understandable reason why they are related to adolescent suicide, is that they act as a mean to do so. In other words, drugs and alcohol can be used as weapons themselves, as in an overdose (Hafen 28). A further cause of suicide among adolescents can be seen in the connection between suicide and sexual orientation.

In San Francisco, five hundred gay and lesbian youths were interviewed and an astonishing thirty percent had attempted uicide at least once (Bull 36). Lisa Rodgers, the program director for Out Youth, a group for gay and lesbian teenagers, says: “A lot of these kids have absolutely nobody in the world, they are hated and despised everywhere they go. ” She then continues: “it’s not surprising that a lot of them don’t see a future” (qtd. in Bull 36). Lesbian and gay adolescents face tremendous challenges while trying to grow up physically and mentally healthy in a world where the majority of the public seem anti-homosexual.

These youths face an increased risk of psychosocial problems, problems that aren’t caused by their sexual orientation, but by society’s reaction to it. Another theory that is linked to adolescent suicide is the feeling of pressure to succeed. Suicide rates are higher in generations were there is a greater population, which causes an increase in competition for jobs, grades and in school sports (Long 21). The pressure to achieve academically can be particularly intense during adolescence, when the pressure is on performing well enough for college acceptance.

During elementary school and middle school, failure can be embarrassing and a reason for punishment at home; during the later years of high school and college, however, a person’s potential career is at risk. One student in a report from the White House Conference on Children in 1970 maintains: “If I ever commit suicide, I’ll leave my school schedule behind as a suicide note” ( qtd. in Gardner and Rosenberg 50). This statement opened the eyes of the government as to the extent of pressure placed on adolescents by A loss of self-worth or self-esteem is high on the at-risk list for teenagers.

Because a sense of identity is often pretty shacked and fragile during adolescence, feelings of not being worth much in one’s parents eyes won’t help a young person’s self-esteem. In extreme cases the adolescent may look upon himself, as being despicable and worthless, and learn to hate himself, when he is unable able to reach their goals (Hafen 95). The Youth Suicide National Center feels that “few of them [adolescents] have found ways of dealing with the lack of self esteem and when these feelings overwhelm them, they believe there is something very wrong with them. qtd. in Hafen 23). After reading numerous books and articles, the plain, but simple truth is that no one knows exactly why teenagers kill themselves. Psychiatrists have, however, reached the conclusion that in a society where adolescents have been exposed to many adult pressures and stresses, they may not be able to cope. Some of the most common causes of stress revolve around family situations, social problems, depression, developmental factors, and other factors associated with adolescents. It is this unbearable stress that leads them to the act of suicide.

Christian Teens Essay

Teens reflect a culture all of their own within American society. The language that they speak, music that they listen to, and many aspects of their lives differ from that of past generations (Linehan 3). Therefore, many people of older generations tend to make judgments and assumptions about teenagers. These assumptions are typically based on the manner in which teenagers speak, dress, and present themselves. Because of these generalizations, faith of many teens is commonly overlooked. In a society where violence seems to be accepted and many teens are lost about who they are, faith can be the one bond interlinking a group of many.

Despite occurrences such as the shootings April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School, and other negative aspects surrounding teenagers’ lives, there are still many young people involved and/or seeking a life with faith in Christ. Although there are many instances of violence and hate in society today, one that shocked the nation more than most was the massacre at Columbine High School. Some people say that the boys’ families caused them to kill, some say it was other students, however there was also another ingredient… a lack of faith in their lives (Grace and Mitchell 58).

In a world where many teenagers are surrounded by things such as materialism and discrimination many have the strength to maintain a spiritual life. However Klebold and Harris, the shooters at Columbine High School, had a loss of a sense of sin. They killed innocent people, one of whom was Cassie Bernall, a devout Christian. When a Columbine gunman asked Cassie Bernall if she believed in God, she allegedly replied, “Yes, and you should too. ” Moments after hearing this reply, one of the gunmen put the gun to he head and took her life. Such a strong testament of her faith in Christ cost young Bernall her life (58).

Because of this strong commitment, many consider Bernall a martyr of sorts, and say that she is a testament to their own faith (Grace and Mitchell 58). Many teens and younger youth have been greatly influenced by Bernall’s decision to stand up for her beliefs, this is a large encouragement to teens everywhere, especially because we live in a society where teens’ identifies are greatly challenged (59). Susan Teran is one student to whom Bernall’s act spoke out to. “If there were a shooter in my school,” says Teran, “I’d volunteer to sacrifice my life. I’d say, Don’t shoot my friends; shoot me, because I know where I’ll go when I die. 58).

While some teens, like Teran, are quite secure in their faith not all Christian youths would have the same courage and security in where “they will go” when they die. Today’s church wants to play a larger role in letting teens know just where they will go upon their death from this world. More than many previous popes, Pope John Paul II has a distinct goal for the ministry of youths (Light For All the World, 3). “Help these young men and women be a light for all the world to see,” (3). Part of John Paul II’s plans for ministry includes Sons and Daughters of the light: A Pastoral Plan for ministry with young adults.

That is a plan for ministry to people in their late teens and early twenties, with a purpose of a development of a spiritual life (3). The plan seems to be working because where as five or ten years ago it was not cool to believe and pronounce faith in God, now many teens cannot think of anything cooler. In high school, there is a second side to the blessing of modern Christianity. While many communities offer programs for fellowship and leadership in Christ, many teens get caught up in the wrong things. These programs are meant to not condemn the “bad” ideals teens may posses of things that they may do, but these programs are an outreach.

The philosophy of many programs being to love the unlovable, and to accept people as they are. Several of these nation-wide programs for teenagers wanting to grow closer to Christ include FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes), Young Life, and church youth groups. While none of these programs are better than the other, each has its own uniqueness and own appeal to different groups of teenagers. Despite the many youth ministries, American culture has let many of today’s young people go uninformed about the church and, uninstructed in their spiritual lives (“Light For All the World” 3).

A further look into one of the teen ministry programs available is FCA. What is FCA? A group that meets weekly and is led by high school students, promoting youth leadership and fellowship (Personal Interview, Story). There is a strong focus among group members in relating sports and life while in high school to Christ (Story). Where is FCA held? You can find FCA meetings all over the country and on all age levels from high school and college students to a group of adults still active in the organization (Story).

The basic concept of FCA is to take an issue that many people face, find a scripture, relating to the problem or issue, then through prayer, communication, and skits use Christ to eliminate that problem (Story). FCA works so well as youth ministry because a group of people whom might not typically come together join to worship and lift up Christ and the word of God. While it is easy to walk into a room of teenagers and easily find a group of teenagers who would consider themselves atheists, and admit so without shame, it is a bit more difficult to find someone strong enough to admit their relationship with God.

One person who will quickly identify herself as a Christian is Jessica Ruth Lang, or Jessi to her friends. Jessi is a Christian and accepted Christ into her life when she was only seven years old (Personal Interview Lang). “Because I grew up in a Christian home, it (faith) was always present in our lives,” said Lang. Lang is a very strong believer and follower of Jesus Christ and therefore her weekly schedule consists of a lot of church oriented activities. “Let’s see…

Sunday I go to church, Monday is bible study- Teen CBS, Wednesday is young life club, and Saturday nights are HMC, like senior leadership,” (Lang Personal Interview). Another factor of her life is also affected because of Lang’s faith- the party and dating scene. “I don’t think that there is anything wrong with drinking, I don’t do it though- it is against the law of the land, and you should obey those laws … yeah that is one problem with drunkenness. I don’t condemn people who do drink- it just isn’t a thing I do,” (Lang).

When it comes to dating, Lang feels like in high school there is really no point because she is looking for a person to marry. “In high school I just can’t imagine treating anyone as a serious relationship with marital prospects,” (Lang). Also, Jessi feels that her strong faith gives her an advantage of sorts over those who don’t have Christ in their lives. “Being a Christian helps me to be more concerned for others, because I have Christ being concerned for me. A lot of things that I think and do are self-centered but, having Christ still helps to keep the focus on others,” (Lang).

Jessi also said that her possessing the light of God helps for others, to look up to her and perhaps notice something that they desire, then go after it; that being Christ (Lang). While teens like Jessi may seem to be the exception they really aren’t, but most media attention isn’t focused on teens like her. The media tends to focus on incidents where teens have a lack of faith, which drives them to doing many things, such as murder. In a certain hope to raise the faith among teens and in hopes that more teens will give their lives to Christ, many youth ministry seminars are run around the country.

Typically the seminars are filled with ten to twenty thousand youths, all of which are excited and screaming for Jesus. In Anaheim, California there was a weekend of celebrating the gospel and praising Christ that could easily beat out the noise and excitement level of any rock concert. At youth conferences like the one held in California a speaker will talk about the gospel and about the life of Christ and then, an hour later a Christian rock band will take the stage, lighting the fires of every youth in the place (Kauffman, L.

A. 306). When teens are given an environment in which they can feel loved and the love they have for Christ can be nurtured the number of people like Jessi Lang climb quite exponentially. While sharing the word of Christ through rock music and merchandise may not be quite what the bishops were calling for when they recommended that, “They hope to find ways that will allow young people to connect with Jesus Christ through a program of spiritual formation and religious education,” (Light For All the World, 2).

The teachings are still being spread though not as conservatively as many straight line Christians would have hoped. Even though teens have jumped up at this call for evangilization many seecontradictions in the teachings of their faith. “The same kids who were told to shun worldly concerns in the name of Jesus spent much of the California conference pursuing the newest, hipest Christian commodities. They were warned to not worship false idols, and then ran off to get autographs from their favorite Christian rock stars,” (Kauffman, L. A. , 307).

While it may be true that there are contradictions to be found- shouldn’t the evangelists rejoice in this teen worship to Christ? After learning about all of the programs available for teenagers, and the number of teens whom participate in such programs and church groups, it becomes quite obvious that a vast majority of teenagers are strong in their faith. Teen worship in our society and is more evident the harder that a person looks for signs of faith in teens’ lives the more evident that worship becomes.

One last specific example of a strong deep routed faith in God took place in a small town only a little over a year ago. In the summer of 1998 four classmates from Webster Groves High School died. The following September a loved counselor passed on as well; then only weeks later a former student known to many as Rico dies of a drug overdose. One of the many common characteristics in all of these tragedies is this- teens gathered in grief and prayed, they cried and they prayed.

Many of the affected students would console one another with a set of what grew to be far too familiar words, “It was all in God’s time,” or, “There was a reason that he/she is gone, God needed them. ” It is unfortunate that in a time of tragedy faith typically becomes more evident than ever, but it does prove a serious and most important fact. Despite tragedy, sorrow, and times of pure and utter grief faith will always remain evident in teenagers lives.

Teenage Depression Essay

Teenage depression is a growing problem in today’s society and is often a major contributing factor for a multitude of adolescent problems. The statistics about teenage runaways, alcoholism, drug problems, pregnancy, eating disorders, and suicide are alarming. Even more startling are the individual stories behind these statistics because the young people involved come from all communities, all economic levels, and all home situations-anyone’s family. The common link is often depression. For the individuals experiencing this crisis, the statistics become relatively meaningless.

The difficult passage into adolescence and early adulthood can leave lasting scars on the lives and psyches of an entire generation of young men and women. There is growing realization that teenage depression can be life- changing, even life threatening. Depression is a murky pool of feelings and actions scientists have been trying to understand since the days of Hippocrates, who called it a “black bile. ” It has been called “the common cold of mental illness and, like the cold, it’s difficult to quantify. If feelings of great sadness or agitation last for much more than two weeks, it may be depression.

For a long time, people who were feeling depressed were told to “snap out of it. ” According to a study done by National Institute of Mental Health, half of all Americans still view depression as a personal weakness or character flaw. Depression, however, is considered a medical disorder and can affect thoughts, feelings, physical health, and behaviors. It interferes with daily life such as school, friends, and family. Clinical depression is the most incapacitating of all chronic conditions in terms of social functioning. Teenagers have always been vulnerable to depression for a variety of reasons.

It’s a confusing time of life because a teen’s body is changing along with their relationships. Teenagers constantly vacillate between strivings for independence from family and regressions to childish dependence on it. But today’s teens face an additional challenge: They’re growing up in a world quite different from that of their parent’s youth. Adolescents today are faced with stresses that were unknown to previous generations and are dealing with them in an often self-destructive way. Contemporary society has changed the perception of teenagers.

New parental lifestyles, combined with changes in the economy, often give less time and energy for parents to devote to their offspring. Society all too often views teens for what they can be instead of for who they are. Who they are becomes the identity of teenagers today. “They are confronted with the ambiguity of education, the dissolution of family, the hostile commercialism of society, and the insecurity of relationships. ” This identity is fragile and is threatened by fears of rejection, feelings of failure, and of being different.

These young people face stress in school as well with resources dwindling and campus violence and harassment increasing. Their sexual awakening comes in the age of AIDS, when sex can kill. In summary, teens today feel less safe, less empowered and less hopeful than we did a generation ago. Depression is a common concomitant to this struggle. It strikes 5% of teens and about 2% of children under 12. One in three adolescents in the nineties are at risk for serious depression. Depression is the result of a complex mix of social, psychological, physical, and environmental factors.

Teens with depressed parents are two to three times more likely to develop major depression. Genetic factors play a substantial but not overwhelming role in causing depression. Some type of significant loss can be a factor in triggering teenage depression. Loss can be due to death, divorce, separation, or loss of a family member, important friend or romantic interest. Loss can also be subtler such as the loss of childhood, of a familiar way of being, of goals through achievement, or of boundaries and guidelines. Gender differences are becoming apparent, with girls having more difficulty with depression.

Studies show girls are three times more likely than boys to suffer depression. A university study showed a close link between depression and negative body image and girls are usually more self-conscious about their bodies than boys. The reasons for depression are not always clear-cut. Although some depressed, even suicidal teenagers come from extremely troubled backgrounds with a lifetime of difficulties at home and at school, the vast majority of depressed teens are not without resources, support, or love. They simply find, for a variety of reasons, that they’re feeling overwhelmed by a sensation of hopelessness and helplessness.

It is imperative to realize that depression can happen to teenagers, even those who have everything going for them. It can happen to the best and brightest of young people. It’s hard to detect depression in teens because it’s a developmental stage characterized by considerable anger and withdrawal. Adolescents don’t necessarily look sad and depressed and its normal for teens to have mood swings but within limits. A depressed teen may cry for help indirectly through troublesome, even destructive behavior and through physical symptoms. For a teenager to admit that he or she needs help feels like regressing back to childhood.

To be a teen means to externalize feelings and deal with the world through action. Depression ranks second only to advanced heart disease in exacting a physical toll, measured by days in bed and body pain. It’s common for people with depressive disorders to complain about recurring headaches, backaches, chronic fatigue, and insomnia. Being sick can be a binding thing that keeps the teenager tied to parents, if the illness is the only time the teen receives attention and love from their parents. The body may signal what the mind is saying through physical symptoms.

The body expresses feelings and conflicts that the teenager is unable to verbalize. Physical ills are often viewed with more importance than emotional pain by parents, teachers, or even the teens themselves. “It’s much easier for adolescents to ask for medical care than for psychological help. They often have a great fear of being crazy or of being thought to be crazy. Another serious medical problem that is affecting more and more teens is an eating disorder. An eating disorder often represents a teenager’s attempt to gain some control by engaging in a behavior, which cannot be regulated by another person.

One-third to one-half of patients with eating disorders has a major depressive illness at the same time. More than one million teens, most under the age of sixteen, run away from home every year. They are neither adventurous nor rebellious adolescents, but teens tested and troubled by life’s circumstances. A young girl at a shelter for teenage runaways tries to explain why she has run away from home four times in the past two months. Drawing her blanket around her like a cocoon, the fourteen-year -old quietly stares at the floor. “I’m no good to anyone, I get upset and fuss at home and it causes trouble for everyone.

I had to run away to save my parent’s marriage. ” Unfortunately, this story is not at all unusual. Of the 1. 2 million teen runaways in the United States, an estimated 300,000 have little hope or chance of returning home. They often feel things are hopeless and that their parents would never understand. Drug use is on the rise among teens as young as thirteen. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, about 4% of high school seniors use alcohol daily, while 92% have tried it. Millions of teens have had adverse experiences caused by excessive drinking.

Researchers have found that depressed teens are at particularly high risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Abuse of drugs, alcohol, or other substances is often used to assuage depression. Studies have found that when depressed patients were given treatment, alcohol and drug intake diminished as well. Substance abuse is seen as both a symptom and a cause of depression. There is more sexual activity among teenagers today than at any other time in our history. By the time they leave high school, some 90% of seniors are no longer virgins. Sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers have reached epidemic proportions.

Eight million young people each year are infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Every thirty seconds, another U. S. teenager is infected. Sexual acting-out , which cannot only be life changing, but also life-threatening in this age of AIDS, can become an antidote to the loneliness and isolation many teenagers feel. Sexual activity is often used as an attempt to deal with feelings of depression, to increase self-esteem by feeling wanted and to achieve intimacy. Approximately 3,000 teenage girls in the United States will get pregnant today. An estimated 3 million teenage girls become pregnant each year.

Beth is a shy, quiet eighth-grader who is expecting a baby in two months. Beth admits her pregnancy was intentional and she plans to keep her baby “because then I’ll have someone of my own who will love me for sure. I won’t be alone anymore. ” ” This illusion of unconditional love, coupled with a lack of insight into the unrelenting demands that the complete dependence of an infant brings leads a number of girls to seek pregnancy. ” Some teens see parenthood as a way to recapture the joy of childhood they are losing, a way to be loved and important to someone else, or as an antidote to depression.

Suicide among teenagers has skyrocketed 200% in the last decade. If we were talking about mononucleosis or meningitis we’d call this an epidemic. Suicide has become the second leading cause of death among older teenagers. Adolescents are particularly at risk for suicide attempts because they progress through a variety of rapid developmental stages. The seriously depressed teen may often have a sense of hopelessness. Many teens are too immobilized by depression to see any alternatives or to take any positive steps toward change.

All too often depressed teenagers don’t have the experience to know that time heals, that there is always hope. They don’t realize that they can survive a crisis and perhaps even learn from it. Life is often seen in absolutes which intensifies any crisis. The destructive potential of serious teenage depression can have many long-lasting aftereffects. Having and keeping a baby, getting into trouble with the law, sustaining a serious injury as the result of risk-taking behavior or stunting one’s emotional growth by anesthetizing painful feelings with drugs or alcohol can have a great impact on one’s future.

It can prevent a young adult from having a full, healthy, and productive life or make it considerably more difficult to do so. Depression is a growing problem amongst today’s teenagers. Depression brings with it many problems that can be self-destructive. If a teenager has the benefit of early intervention and help in coping with his or her depression, however, the life script can be quite different.

Stereotyping, Through the Eyes of Teenage Girls

A stereotype by definition is a generalized image of a person or group, which does not acknowledge individual differences and which is often prejudicial to that person or group. People in general develop stereotypes when they cant or are hesitant to get all of the information they need to make fair judgments about a person, or a group of people. When this type of situation happens, as it most often does, the person judging misses the whole picture. Stereotypes in many cases allow us to fill in the blanks and come to our own conclusions.

Our society is the main culprit of the creation of stereotypes, but these stereotypes often lead to unfair discrimination and persecution when the stereotype is unfavorable. Stereotyping often results from, and leads to, prejudice and bigotry. (3) Concerning our group project we decided to narrow down this broad topic of stereotypes into specific teenage girl stereotypes. In starting we had to find out the major differences in the sexes, and how it related to stereotypes specifically. We decided to make up surveys to get answers that addressed our topic.

We felt that with around 2,000 different answers we would be able to draw some kind of conclusion of the student body of girls in Souderton High School. Before we could do that though, we had to get the background information on some certain topics like how boys and girls differ in the issue of stereotypes, the consequences of stereotyping, and if stereotypes can be changed. Then we could address our specific questions like the different types of stereotypes, and the way each girl functions in her own stereotype. To start off, teenage boys tend to be more competitive and aware of their own achievements than teenage girls.

Teenage girls tend to place a higher importance on forming close and meaningful friendships than boys at that age. The differences between teenage boys and girls are influenced by traditional sex role stereotypes. Teenage girls tend to communicate more with their parents, including them in their life, while teenage boys are less likely to share their feelings and their activities. But the teenage girls who are able to communicate feelings, despite a negative self-image, are better able to withstand peer group pressure than boys are.

Boys have a greater want to fit in with the others than girls do. Through researching we found that a stereotype can have a great influence on the behavior of a certain individual in that group. This is a process known as the self-fulfilling prophecy. (2) Also, once people form beliefs and feelings against a certain social group, those stereotypes can be transmitted to others in a variety of ways. They can be learned through behaviors of family and friends, like jokes demeaning an ethnic group, Jews for example.

This can be even be enlarged by television, comics, magazines, and printed media criticizing a group that is normally stereotyped. An example of this would be characterizing a person looked on as a nerd. That is the guy who never gets the pretty girl, and is always getting a swirly in the bathroom from a football guy. The conclusion about the consequences would be that the transmission processes can influence both the types of categorizations made, and the content of stereotypes with the people who are considered a part of that category. (2)

The thing with stereotypes also, is that everyday experience suggests that stereotypes often do not change over time. The white Americans stereotype of African Americans has stayed the same pretty much for several decades. This shows many that stereotypes are highly resistant to change. That conclusion depends on the diversity of the surroundings, and the perception of the people making the judgment. Our groups next step was to take a closer look into the actual stereotypes. Our surveys addressed each persons activities, and how they actually functioned in their own stereotype.

Through this we came to our own conclusions of stereotyping, and the affect it has on people. We found that people who are stereotyped the same have similar grades, similar hobbies, similar likes, and dislikes, and are planning on the same future. We also saw how someone in one stereotype can follow the same patterns as a person in a totally opposing stereotype. With this type of information we concluded that stereotypes do not show the person you are, or who you will turn out to be. Stereotypes are strictly for amusement.

A stereotyped person as a SKATER could follow the same exact characteristics as a PRISS. They could both get straight Bs in school, and listen to Pink Floyd and The Backstreet Boys. They could both dress in clothes from Pacific Sunwear, and The Gap. They could also both plan to go to a four-year college, and become teachers. Stereotypes are very common but misused in ways that do not fulfill any sort of purpose. In conclusion my personal opinion is that stereotypes do not show someones accomplishments or goals in life, so stereotypes in every case are completely useless.

Teen alcoholism essay

Teen alcoholism is a problem that has been plaguing the United States for many decades now. The legal age for alcohol consumption is twenty-one years old in every state of the United States, but this law is commonly broken. The fact that it has not been strictly enforced caused an outbreak of alcohol consumption between minors all over, and because of this, we have been accepting teenage drinking more than ever. The problem lies in the lack of law enforcement, the acceptance by parents and guardians, and the overall attitude of teenagers themselves.

Although there are many ways to attempt to treat alcoholism, we find few solutions to be effective (Cristol, 2002). Alcoholism is defined as a disorder characterized by the excessive consumption of and dependence on alcoholic beverages, leading to physical and psychological harm and impaired social and vocational functioning. Alcohol is a huge problem in high school and in college. Twenty-one may be the legal drinking age, but some how minors find a way to get a hold of alcohol. People as young as fifteen are able to get their hands on an alcoholic beverage. Alcohol is said to be the chosen drug among high school and college students.

Underage drinkers have a tendency to drink more then the general population. It is said that high school students spend approximately $4. 2 billion annually on alcohol. This money is spent on 430 gallons of alcoholic beverages, and 4 million cans of beer. The type of school, location, the ethnic and gender makeup plays a role in the amount of drinking that occurs among students (USA Today[a], 2003). Studies show that students drink more when they are in a group, which speaks to peer influences. When it comes to drinking at parties there is no legal age so to speak.

When someone goes to a party they don’t get carded, they get a cup. Studies show that students between the ages of 16-21 drink more then those that are over 21. Statistics show that the younger the person the more he or she drinks. Forty one percent of students report to binge drinking, and nearly four percent drink daily. Binge drinking is defined as four drinks for a women in one sitting, and five drinks for a male in one sitting. Students that binge drink have even more problems then students who don’t. Binge drinkers are more likely to have hangovers and engage themselves in unplanned sexual activity.

There are endless consequences that come with drinking. A range of problems occur due to alcohol consumption. The most popular problem that occurs with drinking is academic problems, others include things such as trauma, date rape, recklessness, vandalism and pregnancy in women. In a recent study 56,000 students reported a slip in their grades. Students went from an A to D’s and F’s, their GPA’s dropped which will effects their future career plans as well as any scholarships they are receiving or attempting to receive (MADD[a], 2004). Alcoholism is the most common drug abuse problem in the United States.

Eleven million Americans suffer from it. This abuse occurs in several different ways: loss of control over drinking, getting drunk daily, or drinking every weekend. It is usually marked by withdrawal symptoms and by increasing tolerance for alcohol. It is a chronic, progressive, relapsing brain disease. Five percent of Americans die of alcoholism and ninety-five percent of alcoholics die of alcoholism. Its physical, social, and psychological effects tend to get progressively worse (Song, 2003).

Is alcoholism genetic or is it due to lack of self-control? Through research, Dr. Robert R. Perkinson attests that alcoholism is nothing to be ashamed of because it is genetic. There are different genetic types of alcoholism. Perkinson distinguished two forms of alcoholism. One type is an environmental related type of alcoholism, associated with recurrent alcohol abuse, but without criminality in the biological parents. The other type was found to be highly heritable and was associated with alcohol abuse in the biological parents (Cristol, 2002). The environmental alcoholism occurs in both men and women, has a later age of onset, is less severe, and is not often associated with social problems such as fighting and arrests.

The second type is known as the male-limited alcoholism, occurs mainly in males and has an earlier age of onset, a more severe course, and more alcohol-related social problems (Cristol, 2002). An alcoholic is not the only person affected. Family members are often drawn into this life of darkness. Not only is the divorce rate higher among alcoholics, but research completed by the American Institute for Prevention of Medicine notes that children of alcoholics are four times more likely to become alcoholics and have long lasting emotional problems (Cristol, 2002).

Also, alcohol consumption has devastating results when mixed with the operation of a motor vehicle. The more a person drinks, the more their ability to operate a motor vehicle becomes more dangerous. After just one drink, a driver can lose their ability to perform the task to drive a car. In fact, a driver will become illegally intoxicated and can be arrested for attempting to operate a motor vehicle. In every state there is a legal to how much alcohol you can have in your body if youre driving. If you drink and drive you can loses your drivers license and even go to jail.

Traffic crashes is the effect of driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, too. More than 5,000 young people die every year in car crashes and 1,000 more than injured. There is another reason why teens are in danger after they drink and driving. Teens drive faster and dont control the car as well as an experienced driver, especially after when they drink (USA Today[b], 2003). Though there are many ways to go about treating alcoholism, the best way is the confront the issue and make yourself quit.

It is a tedious and frustrating thing to do, so there are many groups and organizations out there to help you get through it. Alcoholism is a very serious problem that usually takes years of counseling and support to overcome. The physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol make it extremely difficult for one to quit. At one time, doctors believed that alcoholics deserved this punishment for indulging in alcohol. However, today we know that a person who goes through several periods of withdrawal symptoms can end up with permanent brain damage (Steiner, 2003).

There are many ways to treat the problem of teen alcoholism and to prevent this problem from happening to teens at all. According to Derek Miller, a professor of adolescent psychiatry at Northwestern University, parents who set a good example for their children is a good way to prevent their children from abusing alcohol. He says that children tend to mimic their parents, and if the parents dont drink, their children probably wont either. Others say that knowledge is the key to help teens with drinking problems. They say that learning the truth will help teens with their problems (Steiner, 2003).

Many teens are not able to stop on their own so they need someone to help them. Because teens need someone to help them, there have been many self-help programs and organizations set up to help. For many teens self-help programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) might be the best way to get help. In Alcoholics Anonymous, people help each other with their drinking problems by offering each other support and advice. Alcoholics Anonymous now has about 2 million members worldwide, and in the United States over 50,000 of these groups meet regularly.

Being around others who are going through the same hardships that you are is both comforting and encouraging for those who want to stop abusing alcohol. In addition to Alcoholics Anonymous, many churches and synagogues may have self-help groups to help people with their alcoholism problems. At many alcohol treatment groups they ask you to take a simple test to see if you have a problem with alcohol. They ask you not to drink when everyone else is drinking and then to see if you feel comfortable like that (USA Today[a], 2003).

Also, today we are seeing more programs like Student Assistance Programs where schools get involved and help teens with their alcohol problems. Schools are trying to help in anyway they can now. In fact there is a new program in Minnesota called Sobriety High, where young teen alcoholics can recover and get help with others of their same age. Sobriety High is a 6-year high school. The students there et no homework but they still get the same amount of education as all other public high school students (Steiner, 2003).

Hopefully, by using these alcohol treatment programs and all other means to help stop teenagers from drinking we will cut down on the problem of underage drinking and prevent many problems that may occur due to underage drinking. Maybe by stopping the problem of teen drinking, we will stop other problems such as crime as well. For example, in California it was proven that an increase of alcoholism treatment results in a decrease in crime. In the past few years the problem of teen drinking has started to decrease, but we need to make sure it continues to do so in the future (USA Today[a], 2003).

The psychological and physical aspects of drug abuse in today’s adolescence

Unfortunately the abuse of illegal drugs is not uncommon in today’s adolescent communities. Many teenagers today use illicit drugs as a way to deal with everyday pressures such as school, after school jobs, sports activities, domestic violence and peer pressure. Adolescence has been found to be a period of weakening bonds with parents and strengthening bonds with peers (Flay, 1994). Numerous states have experienced an increase in drug related deaths (http://www. usdoj. gov/dea/stats). More than 1 in 10 of today’s youth aged 12-17 were current users of drugs in 1999 (www. doj. gov/dea/stats).

The number of young adults’ aged 18 to 25 using illicit drugs in 1999 was at a high of 17. 1 percent (www. usdoj. gov/dea/stats). In this paper I will describe some of the most popular drugs in today’s adolescent communities and why the use of illegal drugs is most common between the ages of 12 through 25. I will also describe what the tell-tale signs are in a person with a drug problem and how you can help. Among high school and college students, the drug marijuana is most frequently used in America today.

Marijuana is a tobacco-like substance that varies in its potency, depending on the source and selection of plant materials used (http://www. well. com). Marijuana is usually smoked in the form of loosely rolled cigarettes called “joints, hollowed out commercial cigars called “blunts” and in water pipes called “bongs”. Street names for Marijuana include pot, grass, cannabis, weed, Mary Jane, Acapulco Gold, dope, and reefer. When Marijuana is smoked, THC goes quickly into the blood through the lungs. It then goes to the brain and this is when the “high” is felt.

This can happen within a few minutes and can last up to five hours. There are many reasons why some children and young teens start smoking marijuana. One of the main reasons is because there may be a close family member or friend that may pressure them to try it. Other times, it is because they think it is cool to use marijuana due to societal pressures; they hear songs about it on the radio and see it on TV and in movies. “Whether it’s from TV, movies, or music, young people are receiving too many mixed messages about marijuana” says Donna E.

Shalala, U. S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Sora, 1997, page 69). According to one study, marijuana use by teenagers who have prior anti-social problems can quickly lead to dependence of the drug (T. J Crowley, 1998, page 57). Statements such as “everybody is doing it” or “it will make you feel good” highly influence middle school and high school students. Usually at the time that the drug is being offered, potential users do not think about the harm this drug can cause in the future.

Marijuana is also very popular in today’s community because adolescents are turned off by the harder drugs and believe that pot is not a gateway drug that may lead to more lethal substances (Sora, 1997, page 71). While marijuana users do not move on to harder drugs, smoking weed does increase a teen’s chances of being exposed, according to the National Institute of Drug abuse in Washington, D. C (Sora, 1997, page 71). So why do teens smoke marijuana? After many case studies and psychological theories “curiosity” is often the most logical reason. Ecstasy the common name for MethyleneDioxyMethAmphetamine.

Ecstasy (E) is a synthetic drug usually sold as small tablets, which come in a variety of colors and sizes. It is also available as a powder and can be snorted or injected. The effects of ecstasy depend on various factors, individually: the amount taken, the users experience with the drug and their expectations (http://www. gethereforfreeinformation. com). The effects of ecstasy can also depend on the quality and purity of the drug, starting about an hour after being taken and lasting up to six hours. Ecstasy may also produce a “hangover” effect. Like marijuana, adolescents use ecstasy because of peer pressure.

Many teens turn to this drug because it is as an escape from a variety of problems that they might be experiencing at home or in school. Others use ecstasy because of the “euphoric” feeling this particular drug produces. Ecstasy is very common at parties called “raves” or at many underground clubs. Many adolescents take this drug just to “feel big” and “show off” in front of their peers. Cocaine is a white crystalline powder usually produced in South America and is extracted from the coca plant. Cocaine users often inhale the powder through the nose where it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Cocaine can also be heated into a liquid and its fumes inhaled through a pipe in a method called “freebasing”. Freebasing is also a common method of using a form of cocaine called “crack”. Reports of sudden deaths while using crack cocaine are not uncommon because of the high dosages of cocaine that enter the bloodstream while inhaling. Although cocaine is uncommon in middle and high school students due to the cost, teenagers are curious to experiment because of the drug abuse among adult role models such as athletes, entertainers, businessmen and women, and professionals.

However, cocaine is very popular among the ages of 18 through 25 because it is very accessible (www. cocainethfacts. org). Cocaine is a very expensive drug that most teenagers cannot afford; this is why they turn to the cheaper drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy and heroin. The addiction to this drug can become both psychological and physical it can also cause depression when the drug is not available (Sora, 1997, page 91). Cocaine users often complain of eating and sleeping disorders and anxiety.

Despite all the negative side effects people become so dependent of this drug that in most cases, it can cost a person their life (Miller, 2000, page 38). Cocaine users become addicts because they convince themselves that this drug will allow them to perform efficiently in their day to day responsibilities. Most college students feel this drug will allow them to stay awake to complete assignments and/or job responsibilities. Unlike young teens peer pressure is not the main cause of drug addiction in college level students but it is not unheard of.

Lastly, heroin is a drug that comes from the opium poppy. Heroin (also called smack, skag, hammer, H, or horse) is in the class of drugs called depressant, because it slows down the brain and central nervous system (http://www. getithereforfreeinformation. com). Heroin usually comes in powder form and can be injected, smoked or snorted. It is absorbed in the blood and effects the brain within minutes. Unfortunately, despite all the damaging side effects heroin can cause to the body and brain, it is still used by today’s youth and young adults.

Why is heroin so common despite the dangerous side effects? Many say that it is highly promoted in the entertainment business, others say, “heroin is in our cultural bloodstream” (Sora, 1997, page 91). Today’s youth usually start experimenting with heroin because this drug overwhelms them, taking over their thoughts and emotions. It is known to be an escape from the “real world”. Heroin is a highly addictive drug and it is very easy to develop a need and a tolerance for this drug almost immediately after the first or second use.

Adolescence is a time of storm and strife

Adolescence is a period of time between childhood and adulthood. This is the age when one can either make something of his life or destroy it all, this is the time when a person makes those friends who changes the how he looks at life and how he faces it. An adolescent’s main goal these days is to fit in and not be different from their peers. In this paper I will explore the probabilities of the following grievances experienced by the adolescent youth which are drugs, suicide, and homelessness.

Adolescence is the developmental stage between childhood and adulthood; it generally refers to a period ranging from teen years through 20s. As now life is growing more complex, however, adolescents are increasingly cut off from the activities of their elders, leaving most young people with education as their sole occupation. Inexorably, this has isolated many of them from the adult world and has prolonged their adolescence. Now almost all over the world the adolescent years have become marked by violence to an alarming degree.

The phenomenon of teenage suicide has become particularly disturbing, but risk-taking behaviors of many sorts can be observed, including alcohol and drug abuse. Adolescents only want to have fun and go to parties. They get addicted to drugs and start to revolve their lives around drugs. Some get arrested and others encounter death. Addiction is so powerful that it takes control of people’s brains and only tells them to do wrong. Drugs are highly Addictive, and most of the adolescents main goal is to fit in the group by doing what the whole group does, this is how they get into crack, booze, pot and crystal.

Dr. Nowinski’s book in which he states his study of Adolescents drugs and addicts describes specific cases of adolescent drug abuse that he has worked with. He describes the different patterns of adolescent drug abuse and the causes of such type of abuse. He describes causes like alienation, low self-esteem and confidence, stress, and peer pressure. He goes into how developments of new treatment techniques are necessary because adolescent addictions are different from those of adults. He describes the process of counseling, denial and compliance, and surrender and recovery.

Nowinski stresses the need for family intervention in cases that involve adolescents. Addiction is the disease that eventually starts to plague the adolescents that decide to take the wrong path. Addiction lurks up on anyone putting aside race, age, or gender because this disease does not care. Adolescents are not aware of the consequences of drugs and have a hard time listening to their elders, since they think their all night parties in which drugs and alcohol booms are safe until someone dies or they are confronted by the law.

These parties take place in warehouses, outdoor recreation areas or any place where more than 1,000 young people can gather. At these kind of parties the trance music is played which is a composition of electronic sounds driven into shape by a DJ. Adolescents see these things just as fun; and do not understand that this road reaches nowhere. In time, this behavior becomes a way of every day life and causes in most case a lot of pain for the adolescent. This is where the disease of addiction takes over an adolescent’s body and controls it until someone helps him or her out of it.

The sad part is that most of the time help is given forcefully by the law or even by death. (New York Times, 1997) (Fort 209-215) Eventually after all the consequences occur treatment and rehabilitation is needed if death did not already occur. Adolescents need to hear stories and be able relate themselves with the stories. All the commercials and adults talking in schools do not helps our society out of this. Adolescents anyhow do not listen and still do what they want not realizing the results. Adolescent Suicide is a result of frustration and negligence because there is a lot to live for.

Each year in the U. S. , thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death for people 15 to 24 (behind accidents and homicide), and the sixth leading cause of death for adolescents 5 to 14. (Miller) Adolescent suicide is now responsible for more teen deaths than cardiovascular diseases or cancer. The suicide rate for adolescents has increased more than 200% over the last decade. Adolescent Suicide is a type of Adolescent Depression. Recent studies show that more than one fifth of adolescents have emotional problems and one-third of adolescents who attends psychiatric clinic go under depression.

The primary care physician with the support of the family can effectively take the majority of adolescent depression, says Maurice Blackman MB, FRCPC. Adolescence is a time of emotional instability, gloomy introspection, great drama, and discriminating sensitivity. The psychiatrist challenge is to identify depressive symptoms that may be superimposed on the milieu of a more evanescent, but anticipated developmental storm. It is common for adolescent to be preoccupied with issues of death and to consider the effect their death would have on close family and friends. Luckily, these ideas are habitually not acted upon.

Suicidal acts are generally associated with intense crisis in the adolescent’s life and may involve linked depression. It is important to stress that the crisis may be insignificant to the adults around, but very significant to the teenager. The losses of a boyfriend or girlfriend, a drop in school marks or negative reprimands by a significant adult, predominantly a parent or teacher, may be precipitant to a suicidal act. Suicidal acts are more common among adolescents who have already experienced major stress in their lives. Major stress includes parent discord, being physically or sexually abused and alcohol or drug abuse.

A suicide of close relative or confidant may also be an important identifier of those at the greatest risk, as when a teen commits suicide, it affects the whole community that they live in as well as their family. When a family member commits suicide, the whole family must grieve and show their emotions openly. The worst possible thing to do is to hold all of the emotions inside the body. The teenager who exhibits very clear character alter, including backing up from society, or who gives away cherished belongings may also be seriously contemplating ending his or her life.

Many adolescents try to commit suicide than who actually succeed, and the methods used may be unfledged. There is a propensity to treat alleged minor attempts as attention seeking, theatrical and of no importance. This is a mistake, as a teenager who has attempted suicide and has not received any relief from his or her unfeasible circumstances may well be a thriving repeater. All with nothing-to-live-for behaviors reflect a cry for help and must be taken seriously. Showing adolescents that you care about them is quite possibly all that they need to prevent them from becoming a statistic in the agonizing story of adolescent suicide.

No one is satisfied with what he has, an average person complains at least 50 times a day about his life, most of them have loving families, and good homes and almost all they need. Now, think of the stress on a homeless adolescent. School does not seem to be an easy place for homeless adolescents. The peers do not except homeless adolescents and therefore practically all suffer from low self esteem. Adolescents who share their room with their entire family or adolescents who share room with many other adolescents lack privacy and have limited space for all sort of activities.

Therefore, they are tending to become aggressive in nature. Adolescents who often change schools lack both structure and permanence in their lives, and may be unwilling to make close friends. Adolescents who have to keep moving have no sense of roots, personal space, or possessions. School is just one of the many places where homeless adolescents have trouble in. Many homeless adolescents find that exchanging sex for food, clothing, and shelter they are only chance for survival on the streets. Moreover, homeless youth are at a greater risk of contracting AIDS or HIV-related illnesses.

Homeless adolescents often undergo from harsh nervousness and depression, poor health and sustenance, and low self-esteem. Therefore, more than half of homeless adolescents will die before the age of 19. Accidentally before starting writing on this topic I read a story of a man who used to live on streets and after his hardwork throughout the life he is now a millionaire and helps homeless people now. It just goes to show that there are all types of people on the streets. Maybe the next Mozart sleeps in a refrigerator box.

Possibly, the next Hitler eats out of a garbage dump. In spite of the fact that we still can not state a solution, for homelessness, but we can say that all the adolescents out there with no homes deserve at least a chance to become something. In conclusion Id just like to state that adolescence is a period when an individual can either make or mar his future. Adolescence is a time when an adolescent gets easily carried away by all the things he is exposed to. Sometimes an adolescent seeks for easy way out of what all goes on and gets involved with pot, crack and booze.

This happens when he faces negligence, stress and group pressure and sometimes due to these factors they also choose the option of ending their life. This is the time when people start facing real challenges of life. There are many homeless adolescents which r given proper care and guidance while this period of their life and they fall prey to all kind of crimes. This is period when people should take control of their life. This is where the most of them lose their path, and gets attracted towards all sorts of things , i. e. why this period of life is called a period of storm and strife.

Research Paper Teen Alcohol Abuse

From unsupervised parties at home to college visits, the social calendars of most teens are full of alcohol. Other drugs rise and fall in popularity from generation to generation, but alcohol never really goes out of style. From being worshiped by the ancient Babylonians to being forbidden to teenagers, alcohol has caused many problems. Today, drinking is the drug of choice by teens and causes most wrecks and deaths today. To understand alcohol people must first know the history of alcohol, the effects of teen drinking, and the solutions to teen drinking.

Alcohol has been all around the world for centuries and has become a custom of people all over. No one knows for sure who discovered alcohol, but we know how different types of alcohol are made. Just as well, no know knows when alcohol was discovered. There are no records of the discovery or discoverers of alcohol. Although historians do know alcohol “was used by primitive people and recorded as early as 10,000 years ago in the Neolithic period and by European civilization”(Milgram 22). As early as 5000 B. C. the ancient Babylonians brewed, the process of making beer, their beer in religious temples because it was considered a gift from God.

Beer is an alcoholic beverage made by fermentation of cereal grains such as, wheat, rye, corn, or barley; beer contains 3 to 6 percent alcohol. Besides the ancient Babylonians, the ancient Egyptians drank beer. The Egyptians called their beer hek, which was made from barley bread. The bread was crumbled into jars, covered with water, and allowed to ferment. The Egyptian pharaohs blessed this beer in the honor of the goddess of nature, Isis. Egyptians handed out free jugs of beer to peasant workers, and by no surprise drunkenness was a common problem in ancient Egypt (Nielsen 13).

The strongest alcohol drinks are called liquors or spirits. Liquor was discovered in the eighteenth century A. D. by an Arabian alchemist named Geber. Geber made liquor by distillation, burning away the impurities that formed in wine during fermentation and isolated the remaining liquids. As a result, the concentrated liquid had a higher alcoholic content, which was “mainly flavored alcohol and water”(Milgram 65). Liquor was discovered in Europe 500 years later by Arnaud de Villanueva, when he made brandy. Arnaud claimed that brandy would cure all humanity’s diseases, prolong life, maintain youth, and clear away ill humor.

In the 1600’s gin, akravit, and whiskey were discovered in many other countries. Then in the 1700’s, the Americans invented bourbon. Teenagers rarely think before they do many things. Many times teenagers go to big parites or little get togethers with their friends on the weekends just to drink. Their first thought is not about death, their grades, or alcoholism; their main purpose is to get drunk fast and sober up before going home by their set curfews. At parties, teenagers have an average of five or more beers in one night. In the United States teenage drinking has become a major problem, with about 3. million teens as problem drinkers.

“One-fourth of all seventh through twelfth graders admit to drinking at least once a week”(Nielson 47). About forty percent of twelfth graders said they had one episode of heavy drinking in the past two weeks. Although no one knows why teens turn to drinking, various studies show that the amount of alcohol changes by their geographical location (Nielsen 47). One major problem with teens and alcohol is death. Many teenagers go to parties and drive home thinking that everything is all right, but “twenty- one percent of young drivers involved in fatal crashes have been drinking” (MADD 1).

On a normal weekend, an average of one teenager dies in a car crash every hour, and nearly fifty percent of these crashes were involved with alcohol. Uses of alcohol and other drugs are associated with the leading causes of death and injury among teenagers and young adults” (NCADD 1). Not only do car wrecks kill teenagers, so does compulsive drinking. Alcohol, a depressant on the central nervous system, is detectable when someone begins to have slurred speech, slow reaction time, or staggered walking (Milgram 20). The more a person drinks the higher the risk of having an alcohol overdose.

Some signs of an overdose are “mental confusion, stupor, coma, seizures, bluish skin color, low body temperature, slow or irregular breathing, and vomiting while sleeping”(Alcohol Education Program 4). If these symptoms appear, call 911 for an ambulance, but never leave the victim alone. Excessive drinking, it can lead to teenage alcoholism. People who begin drinking at the age of 15 are four-times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who start drinking at the age of 21. Most teens take their first drinks at the age of 13.

Alcoholism begins by first tasting, then social drinking, next abusive drinking, and last becoming a problem drinker or alcoholic. Many factors such as age, gender, and location, indicate that economic factors have little effects on teens (Nielsen 50). Most teenagers do not know why they drink but most do anyway. Peer pressure has a lot to do with teen drinking, as well as the people they hang out with. Teens turn to alcohol or other drugs when they are depressed or they try to fit in. By doing this, they become alcoholics. Under- age drinking is not an issue that is being ignored.

The government, parents, groups, and other countries are trying to come up with solutions to teen drinking. Many laws have already been passed to stop teenagers from drinking. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was signed into law on July 17, 1984 by President Reagan. The act strongly encourages states to have laws prohibiting the “purchase and public possession” of alcoholic beverages by anyone under 21 years of age by withholding a portion of federal-aid highway funds from state without such laws.

On March 26, 1986, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations and the Federal Highway Administration published a joint rule implementing the statue. (Net Biz 1) Most U. S. states have the Age- 21 law, but in Louisiana you can be 19 to enter a bar. Because of this law, the youth drinks less and statistics have gone down a little. With the technology that we have today, many youth, from 20 to 35 percent, have possession of a fake identification.

In Texas, having a fake identification is a third degree felony and will be subject to an automatic license suspension of 90 days to a year and a fine of up to $5000. Another law in Texas that helps cut down teenage drinking is the curfew. This law says teens can not drive between midnight and 5 a. m. unless accomplished by a licensed driver 21 years old or older. If a teen is stopped past curfew, that teen is not eligible for a full driver’s license until the age of 18, and they cannot have an alcohol or drug convection within six months of applications.

In addition, the government placed pricing and taxation regulations on the sales of alcohol. “Regulation through pricing and taxations is unpopular with both the public and the liquor industry, but while the impact is inconclusive, there seems to be evidence that such regulations do have some beneficial effects” (O’Brien, Chafetz, and Cohen 34). The amount of taxes collected from alcohol sales places second as a source of revenue for the government (Milgram 37). Parents can also help stop teen drinking by talking to their children about the dangers of drinking and using other drugs.

Although most parents help their children by paying their fines, they can also help by keeping their children under lock and key with no privileges. “Teenagers whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are forty-two percent less likely to use drugs than those whose parents who do not” (NCADD 4). Talking to their teen is the best way to affect them. Also, when teens break a rule, punishments are to be spelled out and carried out. In conjunction with talking to their teenagers, parents can encourage high self-esteem and set good examples. Along with parents, groups can help fight against teenage drinking.

A popular group is MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. This group tries to pass persuade the government to pass laws to help lower drinking and driving. MADD thrives to make statistics public and get more people to join the fight against drinking and driving. Another group similar to MADD is SADD, Students Against Drunk Driving. This is a group of students that fight against drinking and driving, and encourage other teens to stay sober. A teacher that lost two of his students to drunk driving started this group. “Students who belong to SADD sign a contract promising not to drink and drive” (Nielsen 101).

These students also wear stickers and buttons that persuade other students not to drink and drive. If okayed by the principal, SADD hangs up posters around the schools, warning students of drinking and driving before an event or holiday. A program to help teen alcoholics is Alcoholics Anonymous. Teens are treated differently while in this program. While in AA, teenagers have special needs such as finishing schools, learning dating skills, and choosing a career. Teens can also go to half- way houses, after they finish treatment for alcoholism, where they can meet new friends.

Other countries can also help by raising their drinking age to 21 years of age. Many places in the world a person must be 18 to drink, but in Germany he or she only has to be 16 (Net Biz 1). Canada has made it legal for people 18 and older to drink, but they also have the stiff minimum penalties for driving under the influence. Since that law, drinking offenses have plunged twenty-three percent. Along with Canada, “drunken drivers in Finland, Sweden, England, and France receive automatic jail sentences and lose their licenses for at lease a year” (Neilson 61).

If other countries would raise drinking to age 21, then it would be tough for teenagers to get their alcohol. It is easy for teenagers that live in states bordering Canada or Mexico to bootleg across the border to the United States. By raising the age limits to 21 in Mexico and Canada, it would help cut down on teenage drinking. Everyday teenagers drink, despite the many dangers and risks that they are taking every time they drink. Throughout history and probably in the future, alcohol will be the leading drug of choice for teenagers. On the other hand, teenagers in turn are becoming better educated about themselves and the risk of alcohol.

Drinking Age, a big problem

Drinking is a big problem that causes many teen-age deaths in the United States, however, many people still argue that the legal age for drinking should be reduced to eighteen. This issue has been brought up many times, but the law has not been changed since the change to twenty-one in 1980. States have become stricter about preventing under-age drinking, but teen-agers have no problem getting alcohol. There are many arguments in favor of changing the drinking age back to eighteen.

The facts show that drinking alcohol is too large of a responsibility for an eighteen-year-old to handle. In 1980 the government raised the drinking age to twenty-one because the number of drunk driving accidents was causing many teen-age deaths. The young adults of America considered this law a second prohibition. The main objective of the law was to make the young people happier, healthier, and safer (Smith & Smith 1). Because this law was viewed as a revival of prohibition, it was not widely accepted by the public, and some states were hesitant to pass the new law.

Despite the opposition, the government pursued the passage of the law and offered states benefits for their cooperation. Some of these benefits included extra government money for state highways as well as other programs previously funded by the individual state governments (McCarthy 2). Although this law was a good idea and passed with the safety of American teen-agers in mind, many people were not happy with the change. People feel that if eighteen-year-olds are considered adults they should have the right to consume alcoholic beverages without worrying about the law.

Adults over twenty-one that party with friends that are under twenty-one get a bad record for giving alcohol to minors. This type of record can cause a problem in the future when looking for a job, applying for a professional license, or seeking admission to graduate school. These are some heavy prices to pay for young people whose only crime was to engage in the traditional campus rituals of beer drinking and partying. Eighteen-year-olds are treated as adults. They can vote, fight for our country, buy and sell real estate, and raise families of their own.

These are responsibilities that only an adult can handle (Smith & Smith 1). The biggest problem with changing the drinking age back to eighteen would be that many eighteen-year-olds are not responsible enough to drink and then say they can not get behind the wheel of an automobile. This is why the drinking age was moved up to twenty-one in the first place. Drunk driving is the leading cause of teen-age deaths (Roth 26). The government figured that if they raised the drinking age the percentage of deaths by drunk driving would decrease.

Statistics show that in recent years, 45,000 people were killed in car accidents, and if alcohol was not involved in those accidents then 10,000 of those who died would have live. If the drinking age were eighteen then this figure would increase by about 12,000 (Olson & Gerstein 34). The law prevents people under twenty-one to buy and drink alcohol, but there are many issues on why the advertising for alcoholic products is aimed towards a younger audience.

Of 77 sites surveyed on the Internet 82% of beer sites and 72% of spirits sites used techniques the CME says are particularly attractive to underage audiences. As tobacco companies start to back off on targeting younger audiences, the alcohol companies began to step up their targeting of younger audiences. A big reason why young adults under twenty-one feel they should drink is because many of the alcohol companies aim their advertisements toward the younger generation. This gets the youngsters interested in these beverages and they get the urge to try them (Beatty 1).

The drinking age should not change, but the way the alcohol companies present their products should not be aimed towards younger audiences. One of the main reasons that the age should not be changed back to eighteen is that many eighteen-year-olds are still in high school and can distribute what they purchase to younger peers. More than 1/3 of high school seniors drinks to get drunk and if the age was lowered then that number would increase (OMalley, Johnston, & Bachman 1).

Males were more likely to drink than females but by a small margin (56 percent versus 49 percent), but the gender difference for getting drunk is a greater percentage (39 percent versus 29 percent). The law that was passed in 1980 has helped by lowering the percentage of drunk driving accidents by teenagers (OMalley, Johnston, & Bachman 2). Many teen-agers that start before fifteen are four times more likely to become more alcohol dependent as those who begin drinking at age twenty-one are (Brody 1).

Underlying Causes Of Teen Pregnancy

Before successfully preventing teen pregnancies among teenage girls, there are many underlying causes and facts about the dilemma that must be first exposed. Children from homes run by teenage mothers have to face almost insurmountable obstacles in life. The incidents of depression and mental health problems, the lack of father figures, and the high rate of poverty often connected to children in homes run by teenage mothers put them at serious disadvantages when compared to children raised in nuclear families.

Many people believe that the implementation of sex education in schools and the addition of more federal aid for single parents are major causes for the country’s high rate of teen pregnancies. The true purpose of sex education and federal aid is to help strengthen the mother and her child so that they can eventually lead productive lives. Although teen pregnancy rates dropped significantly in the USA over the past decade, rates remain higher than in many other developed countries (Ventura et al. , 2001; Flanigan, 2001).

Almost 900,000 teenage girls still become pregnant each year in the USA and significant racial/ethnic disparities exist (Ventura et al. , 2001). Given the adverse economic and health consequences stemming from teen pregnancy, including low birth weight and economic hardship, no one is claiming that the battle is won. Instead, experts are debating what motivated the decreases in sexual activity and increases in the use of contraceptives at first intercourse, and strategizing ways to continue the positive trends.

Possible explanations for the good news include economic prosperity, more informed and cautious attitudes about sex, improved use of contraceptives, and funding of new teen pregnancy prevention efforts through welfare reform (Darroch and Singh, 1999; Flanigan, 2001). Previous research has attributed a girl’s increased risk of pregnancy to the possible consequences of a father leaving such as, lower family income, conflict at home and weak parental monitoring. Yet even when these factors were taken into account, the study found that a father’s absence in itself seemed to put daughters at risk for having children early.

Girls’ whose fathers left before they were born or previous to age five were seven to eight times more at risk of becoming pregnant as an adolescent, than girls living with their fathers. A father’s departure between ages six to thirteen suggested that teen girls are two to three times’ at greater risk of becoming pregnant. (Psychology Today, 2003) Girls who see their single mothers date many partners may become primed for early sexual exploration. Or, a father’s absence early in life may trigger doubts in girls about male reliability that hasten sexual activity and reproduction, as well as promote a preference for brief relationships.

Juvenile abuse of alcohol and other drugs is strongly associated with risk-taking behavior, including promiscuity. According to the 1999 National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) study “Dangerous Liaisons,” increased promiscuity leads to a greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned teenage pregnancy (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse 1999). Adolescents aged fourteen and younger who use alcohol are twice more likely to engage in sexual behaviors than non-drinkers; drug users are five times more likely to be sexually active than youth who are drug-free.

Teens between the age of fifteen and nineteen who drink are seven times more likely to have sex and twice as likely to have four or more partners than those who refrain from alcohol. Furthermore, more than 50 percent of teenagers say that sex while drinking or on drugs often produces unplanned pregnancies. An Ohio study of high school girls who tried cocaine indicated that these adolescents were five times more likely to have experienced an unintended pregnancy than peers who avoided cocaine (Rome, E. S. , Rybicki, M. S. , & Durant, R. H. 1998).

Nevertheless, the results suggested that preventive efforts should be initiated within the family, targeting systematic functioning, drug and alcohol problems, and violent behaviors. Secondary, efforts should be made when physical or sexual abuse is uncovered, or when adolescents engage in delinquent acts or substance abuse. Once a teenager becomes pregnant, intervention must focus on her vulnerability to abuse.

Unfortunately, teenage mothers are more likely to associate with abusive partners (Berenson, San Miguel, & Wilkinson, 1992a. ). A 1990 study showed that almost one-half of all teenage mothers and over three-quarters of unmarried teen mothers began receiving welfare within five years of the birth of their first child (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy). The growth in single-parent families remains the single most important cause for increased poverty among children over the last twenty years, as documented in the 1998 Economic Report of the President.

Out-of-wedlock childbearing (as opposed to divorce) is currently the driving force behind the growth in the number of single parents, and half of first out-of-wedlock births are to teens (Sawhill, I. V. 1998). Therefore, reducing teen pregnancy and child-bearing is an obvious place to anchor serious efforts to reduce poverty in future generations. Adolescent pregnancy is a complex problem. There is no single or simple approach that will reduce adolescent pregnancy among all groups of teenagers. Because the causes of teen pregnancy are complicated, the strategies should be multi-pronged (Kirby, 1997).

Over the past two decades, there has been dramatic growth in the number and variety of programs aimed at preventing adolescent pregnancy. These have included education programs, family planning/contraceptive services, school-based health centers, youth development programs, and multi-component programs. Unfortunately, recent comprehensive reviews of adolescent pregnancy prevention programs concluded that few programs have been well evaluated. Of those that have been evaluated, none have been significantly successful in reducing adolescent pregnancy.

However, although there are studies that indicate that some programs can have some success at reducing one or more sexual behaviors for at least a brief period of time, few studies have measured long-term effects (Kirby, 1997, 1999; Moore et al. , 1995). Youth and communities need a comprehensive approach to teen pregnancy prevention that involves multiple intersecting strategies, including comprehensive sexuality education, access to contraceptives and reproductive health care, and youth development. When employed together, the following policy strategies will have the most significant impact on reducing teen pregnancy.

There are three main goals in preventing teen pregnancy. First there is comprehensive sexuality education. Research confirms that comprehensive sexuality education programs (those that include information about both abstinence and contraceptive methods) can delay the onset of sex, reduce the frequency of sex, reduce the number of sexual partners, and increase the use of condoms and other forms of contraception. In schools a effective way to help prevent students from being sexually active is having teachers that want to volunteer and are comfortable with using scientifically evaluated best practices programs and curricula.

By teachers volunteering to do this program it could work more effectively because they want to help teens learn more about it. Instead of a teacher that is picked and does not want to help as much would not bring the best approach to help the teen learn about what goes on in a pregnancy and the consequences of becoming a teen parent. Next is access to contraceptives and reproductive health care. In order to reduce teen pregnancy rates, sexually active teens, estimated to be over 60% of teens by age 18, and 80% by age 20 (Alan Guttmacher Institute. 01), must have access to reproductive health care and contraception.

Nationally, publicly funded family planning prevents 385,800 unintended pregnancies among adolescents aged 15 to 19 annually, avoiding 154,700 teenage births and 183,300 abortions (Forrest, J. D. , & Samara, R. 1996). Health care providers could adopt policies and procedures that are teen friendly, such as convenient hours and drop-in appointments; and care that is non-judgmental and respectful of teens; care provided by peer providers; and services provided off-site.

Finally, youth development plays a big role in preventing teen pregnancy. There is a widely held belief that one of the most effective pregnancy prevention strategies is to provide youth with supportive environment and a positive sense of the future. Youth development programs are one way to improve life skills and life options for youth who may be likely to become pregnant because they perceive a lack of opportunity. With these three options open for teens, the rate of teen pregnancy would drop effectively.

Teenage Curfew Laws: Beneficial or Detrimental

Sally walked out of the coffee shop downtown and wandered to her car. It was about 12:15 a. m. on one Tuesday over the summer, and her parents had set her curfew for 12:30 a. m. Sally thought she would be home right on time; unfortunately, the Roanoke City Council though otherwise. Since Sally is 16, she is breaking the teenage curfew in Roanoke City. Roanoke’s curfew, which took effect July 31, 1992, requires that teens 16 and under be off the streets by 11 p. m. from Sunday through Thursday and by 12 p. m. on Friday and Saturday (Turner, “Council” B3).

Because Sally’s arents did not set her curfew in compliance with the one Roanoke City had set for their child, Sally is now a criminal. Is that really what Roanoke wants to happen. By setting a teenage curfew, Roanoke City is undermining parental authority and turning innocent teens into criminals. Roanoke, however, is not the only locality that is issuing curfew laws. A survey from the Justice Department found that nearly three-quarters of the 200 largest cities in the united States have implemented curfew laws to lower juvenile crime rates (Gostomski 2).

Though backers of curfew laws pplaud their effectiveness in this capacity, statistics show no support for their claim that curfews reduce youth crime. As curfews are put into effect across the country, the American Civil Liberties Union and the courts are beginning to question their constitutionality. Though curfew laws are disguised as a mechanism to protect teens and reduce youth crime, they are unconstitutional, ill-advised, and ineffective. Curfew laws violate the basic constitutional guarantees in the Bill of Rights.

Though teenagers are minors, they are still citizens and not exempt from basic constitutional rights. Courts throughout the United States have thrown out local curfew laws, citing various violations of juveniles’ constitutional protections. The 9th U. S. District Court of Appeals threw out a San Diego curfew because it infringed upon youth’s first amendment right to speech (Gostomski 4). In Dallas, U. S. District Court Judge Jerry Buchmeyer said the city curfew defied minors’ right to freedom of association (Turner, “Constitutionality” B3).

The Supreme Court in Washington state has twice ruled that curfews cannot be ordered upon any citizen unless there is a state of emergency (Brown and Santana). Since curfews began to reappear in the 1980s and 1990s, the American Civil Liberties Union has been fighting their constitutionality because “they punish law-abiding teens more than true criminal” (“Survey”). Along with these infractions, challengers of curfew laws have cited their violation of freedoms of religion and assembly, rights to travel, and rights against unreasonable search and seizure (Crowell 5).

Also, opponents say curfew laws violate the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment (Crowell 5). Experts say that “it s trick, if not impossible, to craft a curfew law that protects the constitutional rights of minors” (“Problems”). If curfew laws do not protect the constitutional rights of minors, they violate the fundamental principles of the United States, and lawmakers should repeal them. Curfew laws, when they are implemented, lead to antagonism between law abiding teenagers and the police force, and often turn innocent teenagers into criminals.

Also, these laws create a stereotype that all teens are delinquents. Curfew laws allow police to arrest minors for offenses that are not crimes if adults commit them. When teens break the curfew law, they change from law-abiding citizens into criminals. This precedent creates tension between all teens, lawful and unlawful alike, and adults, especially law enforcement officers (Macallair and Males). To teenagers, police represent the unjust curfew laws that oppress them. To police officers, all teens that stay out past curfew hour are criminals.

A U. S. District Court threw out a curfew law in the District of Columbia on the basis that it did not differentiate between innocent teens and those who were a threat to society (Racine 233). Lumping all teenagers together tereotypes them in society. a study by Gallup Polls in 1994 shows that “the average adult believes juveniles commit 43% of violent crime, when the actual figure is just 13%” (Allen 2).

Also, most teens are not violent offenders. One survey showed that only 0. 5% of youths engage in violent acts (Allen 3). Curfew laws punish the 99. 5% of teenagers that are law abiding. y grouping all teens together, curfew laws contribute to the belief that youths are the downfall of society and lead to tension between those teens who are not a detriment to the community and law enforcement.

Along with leading to tension and antagonism, curfew laws distract police from more important and pressing matters. Spending time targeting innocent teens out past curfew and transporting them to police headquarters or to their homes is an inefficient way to deter crime (“Survey”). As Jordan Budd of the American Civil Liberties Union said, “Police already have the ability to arrest teenagers involved in real crime.

The curfew adds nothing more than the obligation to arrest the innocent as well” (qtd in Allen 4). Moreover, the curfew laws cost taxpayer money that the police departments do not have to spend. In a survey by the united States Conference of Mayors, 23% of cities with curfews reported that the paperwork, court appearances, and other aspects involved with their teenage curfew created additional costs for police departments (Cohn 88). This places excessive strain on localities that are already financially burdened and understaffed (Crowell 6).

If law enforcement is unable to properly enforce curfew laws, the value of more important laws may be degraded in the minds of youths (Bey and Smullyan-Capra 35). If they are not going to be punished for breaking curfew laws, they may not feel obligated to follow ther, more vital laws. Since statistics show that the “rates of serious crime among youths are strongly correlated with those of adults around them, both by local area and over time,” a more effective task for police would be to attempt to locate and punish adult criminals (Macallair and Males).

Instead of focusing on punishing law abiding teens, a more efficient use of police time and energy to deter crime would be to take steps to target adult criminals. Along with being unconstitutional and inefficient, curfew laws interfere with the rights of parents to set limits for their children and et the precedent that government control is a viable substitute for parental discretion. By taking away the responsibility of parents to supervise their own children, curfew laws take away their accountability for their children.

When the government sets curfews for teens, it disciplines and sets boundaries in place of parents, impeding upon their authority. On the basis that it violated parents rights to govern their children, a Court of Appeals in Washington State overturned a local curfew law (Brown and Santana). Also, in a ruling by the 9th U. S. District Court f Appeals, a San Diego curfew was repealed because it “usurped the roles of legal guardians” (Gostomski 4). By invading the home and setting curfews, government is violating the parent’s constitutional right to privacy (Crowell 5).

Teenage curfews are a family matter, which should be left to private discretion. Giving the power to set curfews to the government only dissipates parental authority and gives parents an excuse not to discipline their children. Most curfew supporters dismiss the opposition to youth curfews, citing the benefits of curfews in reducing juvenile crime. Statistical analysis, however, does not support the notion that stricter curfew enforcement reduces teenage crime in any way.

A report by the Los Angeles police department found that active curfew enforcement, including task forces, citations, and arrests, had no noticeable effect on juvenile crime (Macallair and Males). The ineffectiveness of curfews is not isolated to Los Angeles, though. An in-depth study of curfew laws throughout California by the Justice Policy Institute found “no support for the proposition that stricter curfew enforcement reduces youth crime, either absolutely or elative to adults, by location, by city, or by type of crime” (Macallair and Males).

In most cases, curfew laws had no effect on juvenile crime. When they did, though, stricter curfew enforcement was usually coupled with an increase in teenage crime rates (Macallair and males). One study suggest that curfews simply displace juvenile crime to the hours after school and before curfew (Goo 1A). Though supporters hail curfews as aiding the prevention of juvenile crime, statistical analysis of youth arrest data shows no support for their assertion, finding no correlation between curfew nforcement and a reduction in juvenile crime.

Though, on paper, curfew laws for teenagers sound like a viable option, they violate basic constitutional guarantees, punish law-abiding teenagers, are an inefficient use of police resources, usurp parental authority, and are ineffective at reducing youth crime. In actuality, teenage curfew laws are “purely cosmetic” (“More Curfew” A6). They are a way for politicians and lawmakers to claim they are doing something to reduce youth crime (“More Curfews” A6). In reality, when curfew laws do have an impact, statistics show that they are usually coupled with an ncrease in youth crime rates (Macallair and Males).

This increased crime rate probably comes from the law abiding teens that become criminals after police pick them up for curfew violations. If curfews only serve to turn innocent teens into lawbreakers, they are a waste of police time and money. Instead of robbing parents of the right to supervise their teenagers in order to reduce teenage crime, legislators should try a more effective approach. Police should continue to enforce the existing laws, and localities should present alternative activities for teenagers (“Problems”). Teenage curfew laws, though, must be opposed.

They are age discrimination in its purest form, judging a group of people based on its worst members. This discrimination not only judges but punishes innocent youths simply because they are young. This is the very situation the Constitution of the United States is designed to protect against. Somehow, though, when it comes to minors, lawmakers’ vision becomes cloudy. They find it easy to impress curfew laws upon innocent teens and helpless parents. Since curfew laws are unconstitutional, ineffective, and discriminatory, they can only be detrimental to society.

Teen Drinking Essay

Alcohol use among American teenagers is a problem of epidemic proportions. Alcohol is a drug — the drug of choice of adolescents and adults. Abuse of this drug Is responsible for death and injury in automobile accidents, physical and emotional disability, loss of productivity amounting to millions of dollars annually, deterioration of academic performance, aggressive and disruptive behavior causing problems with family and friends, and individual financial ruin. It also is the primary cause of criminal behavior and a leading cause of broken homes.

Despite the problems caused to young and old by alcohol, society sends a mixed signal to its youth. The media presents beer drinking with peers as not only acceptable but almost mandatory in order to insure friendship and good times. Wine is presented as a sophisticated and romantic beverage, which is drunk in a setting of dim lights, soft music, and expensive decor. Hard liquor is portrayed as the perfect drink to top of the day and to be enjoyed with the glamorous company of the opposite sex. We joke and laugh about alcohol consumption, our own and others. Parents and teachers look forward to their happy hour at the end of the work day.

We use euphemisms to avoid the reality of alcohol abuse. We rarely say we are going to get drunk; instead we talk about partying. We prefer to say that we, or someone else is bombed, smashed, or zonked rather than to call it what it is — drunk. Drinking alcohol is presented as routine behavior in many television programs and movies. Can I fix you a drink? , is a familiar opening line in television and movie dialogue. Occasionally, movies present a stark and realistic picture of alcohol abuse. But most of the messages we send to children are mixed and confused. In fact, many adults attitudes about alcohol are confused.

And our schools reflect the confusions of the larger society in the message they send to their students about alcohol use. Our curriculum guides in health talk about the responsible use of alcohol. We don’t consider teaching the responsible use of marijuana, cocaine, or heroin. Society is not confused about what it wants its schools to teach its youth about these drugs. But alcohol is viewed differently. No other drug presents this problem to our schools and society. Alcohol drinking has become the norm in America and abstinence the exception. Yet it is impossible to describe the typical drinker.

More men than women drink, but the statistics are changing since the number of women drinkers has increased significantly in the past 10 years (McCormick 1992) . While most adults drink occasionally, about 30% of adults dont drink at all. Of those who do drink, 10% account for the 50% of the alcoholic beverages consumed (Youcha 1978) . For some groups the ideal drinking behavior is not drinking at all; for other groups moderate or infrequent drinking behavior is acceptable; for still other groups occasional heavy drinking or even frequent heavy drinking is permissible.

The media bombard the American public, particularly its young people, with the acceptability of alcoholic beverages in adult society. A report by the Scientific Analysis Corporation examined portrayal of drinking practices on television. The study showed that alcoholic beverages were the most frequently used drinks by television characters. In 225 programs 701 alcoholic drinking acts were recorded, compared to second-place tea and coffee drinking recorded in 329 cases (Royce 1981) . Television characters seldom drank water or soft drinks.

Furthermore, many of the references to alcohol in the scripts were of humorous nature. These findings should be brought to the attention of the teenagers in order to help them sort out the realities of alcohol consumption from the make-believe world of television. Drinking is viewed as an adult behavior in our society. It is promoted as a rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood. The age when young people are taking there first drink is becoming lower each year. Many studies report that preteens are experimenting with alcohol and many are already heavy drinkers.

Three of every ten junior and senior high school students can be defined as problem drinkers (Cahalan 1987) . It may be difficult for parents and teachers to believe that a seventh-grade student can have an alcohol problem, but a study of student drinking practices shows that 5% of seventh-grade boys and 4. 4% of seventh-grade girls are seriously abusing alcohol (Cahalan 1987) . The largest increase in drinking for boys occurs between seventh eight grades and for girls between eight and ninth grades. Nearly 28% of all high school students in one major study were identified as alcohol abusers (Caholan 1987) .

Their immaturity, their inexperience with drinking, and their lack of understanding of the effects of alcohol only intensifies the problem of drinking among adolescence. Teenagers value driving as a symbol of independence and the highways as a place to demonstrate that independence. Inexperienced driving combined with inexperienced drinking is a deadly combination. A report from the National Center for Health Statistics reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among persons 15 to 24 years old. Forty-five out of every 100,000 people in this age group die in fatal car crashes annually.

Nationally this figure translates to 16,500 youths. The study further reports that more motor vehicle fatalities occur in that age group on weekends evenings between the hours of 11 p. m. and 3 a. m. than at any other time. One out of every four senior high school student was at risk of an alcohol-related accident at least once during the past year. Although adolescents may present a veneer of sophistication about alcoholic drinking, research shows them to be naive and gullible. A recent survey found that more than 50% of the teenagers studied did not know that beer is intoxicating as mineral spirits.

Many believed it was impossible to get drunk on beer. Others believed that as many as five to seven cans of beer could be drunk within a two-hour period without risk of intoxication (Yaoucha 1978) . Their lack of understanding of the intoxicating properties of beer is especially alarming since beer is the preferred alcoholic drink for teenager. Where alcohol is concerned, teenagers are short on fact and long on myths. For example, 70% of the respondents in one study believed that a cold shower will sober up someone who is intoxicated; 62% believed that black coffee will serve the purpose.

Few realized that only time can restore sobriety (Youcha1978). Binge Drinking was rated the number one health risk to teens in the United States. Seventy percent of college students polled admitted to bingeing, and one half of all bingers do so regularly (Kalb and McComick 89). Most teens, however, did not know that bingeing could lead to alcoholism. Six teens will die today alone in alcohol related automobile crashes (Pille 1). Binge drinking has become a popular social activity sometimes caused by peer pressure, problems at home and problems at school.

The consequences of bingeing can be deadly, or in some cases lead to severe alcoholism (Jamison). Educating teens about the effects of binge drinking could help bring this popular trend to an end. What exactly is binge drinking? Bingeing for a man is an intake of five or more drinks in a row, or during a short period of time. For a women bingeing is the same, with the exception that it requires only four drinks for the alcohol to take effect. Alcohol affects the female body differently than that of the male (Kalb and McCormik 89). Binge drinking differs from having a drink, because bingers become intoxicated.

An example of bingeing would be guzzling pitchers of a very potent drink, such as Three Wise Men, an alcoholic beverage normally served in shots (Purdy 71-72). One cause of binge drinking is simply peer pressure. Some teens drink just so they can fit in (Pille 1). When most teens and college aged students are around friends who are drinking, they are more than likely to do it too (Price 17). In some cases peer pressure turns to hazing. Scott Crougar, an 18-year-old freshman at MIT, went to a Fraternity party five weeks after arriving at the school. Scott was a bright young man with a wonderful future ahead of him.

At this Fiji house party Scott was forced to drink two cases of beer along with vacadie spiced rum. His blood alcohol level was five times the legal driving limit. When members of the Fraternity house found Scott passed out and puking, they simply left him on the basement couch where he choked on his own vomit and died (Walters, Barbara). Another cause of binge drinking is problems at school. Students with poor or low grades may become frustrated and turn to alcohol as a way out. Problems in ones social life at school could also result in bingeing.

If a teen has had a fight with a close friend or had a break-up with a boy or girlfriend, they may find it necessary to get drunk (Pille 1). Additionally, problems at home may lead to binge drinking. For example a death in the family could cause depression, or a divorce could cause anger and frustration. All are signs of family members being emotionally unstable. Emotional instability in the home commonly forces family members to binge (Jamison). Forty percent of teens that admit to drinking say they do so when they are upset and looking to relieve stress (Purdy 72).

One effect of binge drinking is people participating in activities they are unaware of and/or will later regret. In a survey of frequent binge drinkers, fifty-nine percent drove after drinking, fifty-six percent experienced memory lapses, and forty-five percent were involved in unplanned sexual activity (Kalb and McCormick 89). Kevin Price sets a good example of what can go wrong when people drink too much. Price is currently spending time in prison for the killing of five people. He had been at a college fraternity party and was binge drinking. His last memory of that night was sitting down with friends to play a drinking game.

He was unaware that he would be the cause of a drunk driving automobile accident that night (Price 17). Another effect of bingeing is the disease of alcoholism. Binge drinkers can be alcoholics. Even if a person only drinks on weekends or is a social drinker, they can still be classified as an alcoholic (Jamison). Alcohol is a mind-altering drug. It alters moods and causes changes to the body. Alcohol is a downer which can depress the central nervous system. It can easily become addictive or habit forming (Pille 1). The state classification for alcoholism requires three things. One is a change in tolerance.

This means that each time someone drinks they must consume more alcohol to get drunk. Second is the compulsion to use alcohol, and third is a continuance to drink despite adverse consequences. If a person has any one of these three signs, then they can be classified as an alcoholic (Jamison). The worst effect binge drinking can have on a person is death. An average of fifty-six teens die each year in the western United States alone as a result of binge drinking (Purdy 72). What most people are unaware of is that when someone is passed out, it is because they have alcohol poisoning. This means that they are in a coma.

It is common at parties to pick on the people who are passed out and play games with them. Many people never wake up from these comas (Wechaler 2). One way for people suffering from alcoholism to get help is for them to contact their local Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. The only requirement to join is that the alcoholic must have the desire to quit drinking (A. A. ). If a person is unsure that their binge drinking is a problem, they can also contact their AA who will give them brochures which include questions. If the person answers yes to these questions, then they will know to seek help (A Message to Teens).

One solution that many colleges are now trying is having open bars on campus. These bars are open to all students who are of legal drinking age. Some people argue that open bars on campus are sending the wrong message to students. The school officials however beg to differ. They claim that all drinking on campus is monitored closely. It is almost impossible to ban all alcohol from colleges, but this way bartenders have control of the amount of alcohol consumed by students (Purdy 73). Despite all efforts to end binge drinking, many teens continue to do so (Purdy 72).

It is believed that mortality rates would be lower if teens were educated more, not just about the effects of binge drinking, but about what to do in any given situation (Wechaler 2). If members of the Fiji house had been educated on what to do when someone has alcohol poisoning, then it is possible that Scott Crougar would still be alive today. It is likely that most of the Fiji house members did not know that Scott would choke on his own vomit and die. Medical records show that if Scott had been treated for alcohol poisoning just hours earlier, he would have survived (Walters).

Alcohol and Teens

From pastures to unsupervised blowouts at home, the social calendars of most teens are full of alcohol. Other drugs rise and fall in popularity from generation to generation, but alcohol never really goes out of style. From being worshiped by the ancient Babylonians to being forbidden to teenagers, alcohol has caused many problems. Today, drinking is the drug of choice by teens and causes most wrecks and deaths today. To understand alcohol people must first know the history of alcohol, the effects of teen drinking, and the solutions to teen drinking.

Alcohol has been all around the world for centuries and has become a custom of people all over. No one knows for sure who discovered alcohol, but we know how different types of alcohol are made. Just as well, no know knows when alcohol was discovered. There are no records of the discovery or discoverers of alcohol. Although historians do know alcohol was used by primitive people and recorded as early as 10,000 years ago in the Neolithic period and by European civilization(Milgram 22). As early as 5000 B. C. , the ancient Babylonians brewed, the process of making beer, their beer in religious temples because it was considered a gift from God.

Beer is an alcoholic beverage made by fermentation of cereal grains such as, wheat, rye, corn, or barley; beer contains 3 to 6 percent alcohol. Besides the ancient Babylonians, the ancient Egyptians drank beer. The Egyptians called their beer hek, which was made from barley bread. The bread was crumbled into jars, covered with water, and allowed to ferment. The Egyptian pharaohs blessed this beer in the honor of the goddess of nature, Isis. Egyptians handed out free jugs of beer to peasant workers, and by no surprise drunkenness was a common problem in ancient Egypt (Nielsen 13).

The strongest alcohol drinks are called liquors or spirits. An Arabian alchemist named Geber discovered liquor in the eighteenth century A. D. Geber made liquor by distillation, burning away the impurities that formed in wine during fermentation and isolated the remaining liquids. As a result, the concentrated liquid had a higher alcoholic content, which was mainly flavored alcohol and water(Milgram 65). Arnaud de Villanueva discovered liquor in Europe 500 years later, when he made brandy. Arnaud claimed that brandy would cure all humanitys diseases, prolong life, maintain youth, and clear away ill humor.

In the 1600s gin, akravit, and whiskey were discovered in many other countries. Then in the 1700s, the Americans invented bourbon. Teenagers rarely think before they do many things. Many times teenagers go to big blowouts or little get togethers with their friends. Their first thought is not about death, their grades, or alcoholism; their main purpose is to get drunk fast and sober up before going home by their set curfews. At parties, teenagers have an average of five or more beers in one night. In the United States teenage drinking has become a major problem, with about 3. 3 million teens as problem drinkers.

One-fourth of all seventh through twelfth graders admit to drinking at least once a week(Nielson 47). About forty percent of twelfth graders said they had one episode of heavy drinking in the past two weeks. Although no one knows why teens turn to drinking, various studies show that the amount of alcohol changes by their geographical location (Nielsen 47). One major problem with teens and alcohol is death. Many teenagers go to parties and drive home thinking that everything is all right, but twenty- one percent of young drivers involved in fatal crashes have been drinking (MADD 1).

On a normal weekend, an average of one teenager dies in a car crash every hour, and nearly fifty percent of these crashes were involved with alcohol. Uses of alcohol and other drugs are associated with the leading causes of death and injury among teenagers and young adults (NCADD 1). Not only do car wrecks kill teenagers, so does compulsive drinking. Alcohol, a depressant on the central nervous system, is detectable when someone begins to have slurred speech, slow reaction time, or staggered walking (Milgram 20).

The more a person drinks the higher the risk of having an alcohol over dose. Some signs of an overdose are mental confusion, stupor, coma, seizures, bluish skin color, low body temperature, slow or irregular breathing, and vomiting while sleeping(Alcohol Education Program 4). If these symptoms appear, call 911 for an ambulance, but never leave the victim alone. Excessive drinking, it can lead to teenage alcoholism. People who begin drinking at the age of 15 are four-times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who start drinking at the age of 21.

Most teens take their first drinks at the age of 13. Alcoholism begins by first tasting, then social drinking, next abusive drinking, and last becoming a problem drinker or alcoholic. Many factors such as age, gender, and location, indicate that economic factors have little effects on teens (Nielsen 50). Most teenagers do not know why they drink but most do anyway. Peer pressure has a lot to do with teen drinking, as well as the people they hang out with. Teens turn to alcohol or other drugs when they are depressed or they try to fit in. By doing this, they become alcoholics.

Under-age drinking is not an issue that is being ignored. The government, parents, groups, and other countries are trying to come up with solutions to teen drinking. Many laws have already been passed to stop teenagers from drinking. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was signed into law on July 17, 1984 by President Reagan. The act strongly encourages states to have laws prohibiting the purchase and public possession of alcoholic beverages by anyone under 21 years of age by withholding a portion of federal-aid highway funds from state without such laws.

On March 26, 1986, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations and the Federal Highway Administration published a joint rule implementing the statue. (Net Biz 1) Most U. S. states have the Age- 21 law, but in Louisiana you can be 19 to enter a bar. Because of this law, the youth drinks less and statistics have gone down a little. With the technology that we have today, many youth, from 20 to 35 percent, have possession of a fake identification. In Texas, having a fake identification is a third degree felony and will be subject to an automatic license suspension of 90 days to a year and a fine of up to $5000.

Another law in Texas that helps cut down teenage drinking is the curfew. This law says teens cannot drive between midnight and 5 a. m. unless accomplished by a licensed driver 21 years old or older. If a teen is stopped past curfew, that teen is not eligible for a full drivers license until the age of 18, and they cannot have an alcohol or drug convection within six months of applications. In addition, the government placed pricing and taxation regulations on the sales of alcohol.

Regulation through pricing and taxations is unpopular with both the public and the liquor industry, but while the impact is inconclusive, there seems to be evidence that such regulations do have some beneficial effects (OBrien, Chafetz, and Cohen 34). The amount of taxes collected from alcohol sales places second as a source of revenue for the government (Milgram 37). Parents can also help stop teen drinking by talking to their children about the dangers of drinking and using other drugs. Although most parents help their children by paying their fines, they can also help by keeping their children under lock and key with no privileges.

Teenagers whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are forty-two percent less likely to use drugs than those whose parents who do not (NCADD 4). Talking to their teen is the best way to affect them. Also, when teens break a rule, punishments are to be spelled out and carried out. In conjunction with talking to their teenagers, parents can encourage high self-esteem and set good examples. Along with parents, groups can help fight against teenage drinking. A popular group is MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. This group tries to pass persuade the government to pass laws to help lower drinking and driving.

MADD thrives to make statistics public and get more people to join the fight against drinking and driving. Another group similar to MADD is SADD, Students Against Drunk Driving. This is a group of students that fight against drinking and driving, and encourage other teens to stay sober. A teacher that lost two of his students to drunk driving started this group. Students who belong to SADD sign a contract promising not to drink and drive (Nielsen 101). These students also wear stickers and buttons that persuade other students not to drink and drive.

If okayed by the principal, SADD hangs up posters around the schools, warning students of drinking and driving before an event or holiday. A program to help teen alcoholics is Alcoholics Anonymous. Teens are treated differently while in this program. While in AA, teenagers have special needs such as finishing schools, learning dating skills, and choosing a career. Teens can also go to half- way houses, after they finish treatment for alcoholism, where they can meet new friends. Other countries can also help by raising their drinking age to 21 years of age.

Many places in the world a person must be 18 to drink, but in Germany he or she only has to be 16 (Net Biz 1). Canada has made it legal for people 18 and older to drink, but they also have the stiff minimum penalties for driving under the influence. Since that law, drinking offenses have plunged twenty-three percent. Along with Canada, drunken drivers in Finland, Sweden, England, and France receive automatic jail sentences and lose their licenses for at lease a year (Neilson 61). If other countries would raise drinking to age 21, then it would be tough for teenagers to get their alcohol.

It is easy for teenagers that live in states bordering Canada or Mexico to bootleg across the border to the United States. By raising the age limits to 21 in Mexico and Canada, it would help cut down on teenage drinking. Everyday teenagers drink, despite the many dangers and risks that they are taking every time they drink. Throughout history and probably in the future, alcohol will be the leading drug of choice for teenagers. On the other hand, teenagers in turn are becoming better educated about themselves and the risk of alcohol.

Teen Drinking Essay

Alcohol use among American teenagers is a problem of epidemic proportions. Alcohol is a drug — the drug of choice of adolescents and adults. Abuse of this drug Is responsible for death and injury in automobile accidents, physical and emotional disability, loss of productivity amounting to millions of dollars annually, deterioration of academic performance, aggressive and disruptive behavior causing problems with family and friends, and individual financial ruin. It also is the primary cause of criminal behavior and a leading cause of broken homes.

Despite the problems caused to young and old by alcohol, society sends a mixed signal to its youth. The media presents beer drinking with peers as not only acceptable but almost mandatory in order to insure friendship and good times. Wine is presented as a sophisticated and romantic beverage, which is drunk in a setting of dim lights, soft music, and expensive decor. Hard liquor is portrayed as the perfect drink to top of the day and to be enjoyed with the glamorous company of the opposite sex. We joke and laugh about alcohol consumption, our own and others. Parents and teachers look forward to their happy hour at the end of the work day.

We use euphemisms to avoid the reality of alcohol abuse. We rarely say we are going to get drunk; instead we talk about partying. We prefer to say that we, or someone else is bombed, smashed, or zonked rather than to call it what it is — drunk. Drinking alcohol is presented as routine behavior in many television programs and movies. Can I fix you a drink? , is a familiar opening line in television and movie dialogue. Occasionally, movies present a stark and realistic picture of alcohol abuse. But most of the messages we send to children are mixed and confused. In fact, many adults attitudes about alcohol are confused.

And our schools reflect the confusions of the larger society in the message they send to their students about alcohol use. Our curriculum guides in health talk about the responsible use of alcohol. We don’t consider teaching the responsible use of marijuana, cocaine, or heroin. Society is not confused about what it wants its schools to teach its youth about these drugs. But alcohol is viewed differently. No other drug presents this problem to our schools and society. Alcohol drinking has become the norm in America and abstinence the exception. Yet it is impossible to describe the typical drinker.

More men than women drink, but the statistics are changing since the number of women drinkers has increased significantly in the past 10 years (McCormick 1992) . While most adults drink occasionally, about 30% of adults dont drink at all. Of those who do drink, 10% account for the 50% of the alcoholic beverages consumed (Youcha 1978) . For some groups the ideal drinking behavior is not drinking at all; for other groups moderate or infrequent drinking behavior is acceptable; for still other groups occasional heavy drinking or even frequent heavy drinking is permissible.

The media bombard the American public, particularly its young people, with the acceptability of alcoholic beverages in adult society. A report by the Scientific Analysis Corporation examined portrayal of drinking practices on television. The study showed that alcoholic beverages were the most frequently used drinks by television characters. In 225 programs 701 alcoholic drinking acts were recorded, compared to second-place tea and coffee drinking recorded in 329 cases (Royce 1981) . Television characters seldom drank water or soft drinks.

Furthermore, many of the references to alcohol in the scripts were of humorous nature. These findings should be brought to the attention of the teenagers in order to help them sort out the realities of alcohol consumption from the make-believe world of television. Drinking is viewed as an adult behavior in our society. It is promoted as a rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood. The age when young people are taking there first drink is becoming lower each year. Many studies report that preteens are experimenting with alcohol and many are already heavy drinkers.

Three of every ten junior and senior high school students can be defined as problem drinkers (Cahalan 1987) . It may be difficult for parents and teachers to believe that a seventh-grade student can have an alcohol problem, but a study of student drinking practices shows that 5% of seventh-grade boys and 4. 4% of seventh-grade girls are seriously abusing alcohol (Cahalan 1987) . The largest increase in drinking for boys occurs between seventh eight grades and for girls between eight and ninth grades. Nearly 28% of all high school students in one major study were identified as alcohol abusers (Caholan 1987) .

Their immaturity, their inexperience with drinking, and their lack of understanding of the effects of alcohol only intensifies the problem of drinking among adolescence. Teenagers value driving as a symbol of independence and the highways as a place to demonstrate that independence. Inexperienced driving combined with inexperienced drinking is a deadly combination. A report from the National Center for Health Statistics reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among persons 15 to 24 years old. Forty-five out of every 100,000 people in this age group die in fatal car crashes annually.

Nationally this figure translates to 16,500 youths. The study further reports that more motor vehicle fatalities occur in that age group on weekends evenings between the hours of 11 p. m. and 3 a. m. than at any other time. One out of every four senior high school student was at risk of an alcohol-related accident at least once during the past year. Although adolescents may present a veneer of sophistication about alcoholic drinking, research shows them to be naive and gullible. A recent survey found that more than 50% of the teenagers studied did not know that beer is intoxicating as mineral spirits.

Many believed it was impossible to get drunk on beer. Others believed that as many as five to seven cans of beer could be drunk within a two-hour period without risk of intoxication (Yaoucha 1978) . Their lack of understanding of the intoxicating properties of beer is especially alarming since beer is the preferred alcoholic drink for teenager. Where alcohol is concerned, teenagers are short on fact and long on myths. For example, 70% of the respondents in one study believed that a cold shower will sober up someone who is intoxicated; 62% believed that black coffee will serve the purpose.

Few realized that only time can restore sobriety (Youcha1978). Binge Drinking was rated the number one health risk to teens in the United States. Seventy percent of college students polled admitted to bingeing, and one half of all bingers do so regularly (Kalb and McComick 89). Most teens, however, did not know that bingeing could lead to alcoholism. Six teens will die today alone in alcohol related automobile crashes (Pille 1). Binge drinking has become a popular social activity sometimes caused by peer pressure, problems at home and problems at school.

The consequences of bingeing can be deadly, or in some cases lead to severe alcoholism (Jamison). Educating teens about the effects of binge drinking could help bring this popular trend to an end. What exactly is binge drinking? Bingeing for a man is an intake of five or more drinks in a row, or during a short period of time. For a women bingeing is the same, with the exception that it requires only four drinks for the alcohol to take effect. Alcohol affects the female body differently than that of the male (Kalb and McCormik 89). Binge drinking differs from having a drink, because bingers become intoxicated.

An example of bingeing would be guzzling pitchers of a very potent drink, such as Three Wise Men, an alcoholic beverage normally served in shots (Purdy 71-72). One cause of binge drinking is simply peer pressure. Some teens drink just so they can fit in (Pille 1). When most teens and college aged students are around friends who are drinking, they are more than likely to do it too (Price 17). In some cases peer pressure turns to hazing. Scott Crougar, an 18-year-old freshman at MIT, went to a Fraternity party five weeks after arriving at the school. Scott was a bright young man with a wonderful future ahead of him.

At this Fiji house party Scott was forced to drink two cases of beer along with vacadie spiced rum. His blood alcohol level was five times the legal driving limit. When members of the Fraternity house found Scott passed out and puking, they simply left him on the basement couch where he choked on his own vomit and died (Walters, Barbara). Another cause of binge drinking is problems at school. Students with poor or low grades may become frustrated and turn to alcohol as a way out. Problems in ones social life at school could also result in bingeing.

If a teen has had a fight with a close friend or had a break-up with a boy or girlfriend, they may find it necessary to get drunk (Pille 1). Additionally, problems at home may lead to binge drinking. For example a death in the family could cause depression, or a divorce could cause anger and frustration. All are signs of family members being emotionally unstable. Emotional instability in the home commonly forces family members to binge (Jamison). Forty percent of teens that admit to drinking say they do so when they are upset and looking to relieve stress (Purdy 72).

One effect of binge drinking is people participating in activities they are unaware of and/or will later regret. In a survey of frequent binge drinkers, fifty-nine percent drove after drinking, fifty-six percent experienced memory lapses, and forty-five percent were involved in unplanned sexual activity (Kalb and McCormick 89). Kevin Price sets a good example of what can go wrong when people drink too much. Price is currently spending time in prison for the killing of five people. He had been at a college fraternity party and was binge drinking. His last memory of that night was sitting down with friends to play a drinking game.

He was unaware that he would be the cause of a drunk driving automobile accident that night (Price 17). Another effect of bingeing is the disease of alcoholism. Binge drinkers can be alcoholics. Even if a person only drinks on weekends or is a social drinker, they can still be classified as an alcoholic (Jamison). Alcohol is a mind-altering drug. It alters moods and causes changes to the body. Alcohol is a downer which can depress the central nervous system. It can easily become addictive or habit forming (Pille 1). The state classification for alcoholism requires three things. One is a change in tolerance.

This means that each time someone drinks they must consume more alcohol to get drunk. Second is the compulsion to use alcohol, and third is a continuance to drink despite adverse consequences. If a person has any one of these three signs, then they can be classified as an alcoholic (Jamison). The worst effect binge drinking can have on a person is death. An average of fifty-six teens die each year in the western United States alone as a result of binge drinking (Purdy 72). What most people are unaware of is that when someone is passed out, it is because they have alcohol poisoning. This means that they are in a coma.

It is common at parties to pick on the people who are passed out and play games with them. Many people never wake up from these comas (Wechaler 2). One way for people suffering from alcoholism to get help is for them to contact their local Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. The only requirement to join is that the alcoholic must have the desire to quit drinking (A. A. ). If a person is unsure that their binge drinking is a problem, they can also contact their AA who will give them brochures which include questions. If the person answers yes to these questions, then they will know to seek help (A Message to Teens).

One solution that many colleges are now trying is having open bars on campus. These bars are open to all students who are of legal drinking age. Some people argue that open bars on campus are sending the wrong message to students. The school officials however beg to differ. They claim that all drinking on campus is monitored closely. It is almost impossible to ban all alcohol from colleges, but this way bartenders have control of the amount of alcohol consumed by students (Purdy 73). Despite all efforts to end binge drinking, many teens continue to do so (Purdy 72).

It is believed that mortality rates would be lower if teens were educated more, not just about the effects of binge drinking, but about what to do in any given situation (Wechaler 2). If members of the Fiji house had been educated on what to do when someone has alcohol poisoning, then it is possible that Scott Crougar would still be alive today. It is likely that most of the Fiji house members did not know that Scott would choke on his own vomit and die. Medical records show that if Scott had been treated for alcohol poisoning just hours earlier, he would have survived (Walters).

Adolescent Eating Behaviors

Adolescence is a stage in life that has many biological, cognitive and sociocultural changes. This stage in life is when individuals are most vulnerable and health behaviors play an important role in their future. An adolescent this day in age is bombarded with many behaviors that can affect their future such as; smoking, drug use, and sex. These behaviors can carry immediate and severe consequences but there are other health behaviors such as eating choices and physical activity that can carry risks as well (Lytle, 2002).

Lytle explains that there is data that suggests that adolescent’s current eating behaviors are putting them at risk for many different diseases later in life. Some of those diseases include: cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Adolescents today have decreased physical activity and poor diet habits which makes nutritional issues for adolescents a very important topic that needs to be addressed (Lytle, 2002). Cardiovascular disease begins in childhood. A study completed by Kelley, Krummel, Gonzales, Neal and Fitch examined 279 children.

There hypothesis was that children who were at high risk for cardiovascular disease based on their family history would have diets that were different than the low risk children. The children’s height, weight, and total cholesterol were measured and each child filled out a food frequency questionnaire. 23% of the children were at risk for cardiovascular disease and their cholesterol was significantly higher. However intakes of energy, fat, cholesterol and fiber were similar in both the high risk and low risk groups.

The researchers concluded that all children whether high risk or low risk need to change their dietary patterns in order to prevent cardiovascular disease. Those at high risk need specific guidelines in order to lower their risk for the disease. Healthcare professionals must promote the healthy benefits of healthy eating habits to both children and their families and finally it is critical that public health research address behavior modification in children (2004). Diets high in saturated fat, total fat, sodium and low in fiber are associated not only with cardiovascular disease but also some types of cancer.

Also diets low in fruits and vegetables are associated with increased risk of some types of cancer. National nutrition surveillance data shows that only 34% of girls and 27% of boys aged 12-19 years fall within the recommended levels for saturated fat, and 36% of girls and 30% of boys aged 12-19 years fall within the recommended levels for total fat. Adolescent diets also exceed the recommended level of 2,400mg of sodium. National Health and Nutrition Health Survey (NHANES) III showed the range of sodium aged 12-19 years ranged from 3,000mg – 5,000mg/day for both girls and boys.

The recommended intake of fiber for children aged 2-18 years is their age plus 5 grams per day. NHANES III data suggest that aged 12-15 year olds would need to increase their fiber intake by 25%-50% and 16-19 year olds would need to double their intakes to meet the recommendations for fiber stated above (Lytle, 2002). Adolescent’s high fat, high sodium and low fiber diet not only contribute to increased risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer but also put them at risk to be obese and potential develop type 2 diabetes. Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic in the United States.

The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity has led policy makers to rank it as a critical public health threat. Its rate has doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years, and it has tripled for children aged 6-11 years. This has all occurred in the past 30 years. Childhood obesity involves immediate and long-term risks to physical health. For children born in the United States in the year 2000, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives is estimated at 30% for boys and 40% for girls if obesity rates level off (Koplan, Liverman & Kraak, 2005).

Koplan, Liverman & Kraak also explain how dramatically the Unites States has changed over the past thirty years and how that has impacted the rise of childhood obesity. Family dynamics have changed, now both parents work and they work very long hours. Majority of meals today are not eaten as a family and are usually eaten outside the home. The school environment has changed; children have many more options at lunchtime including fast food, soda, and candy. Physical activity has decreased.

Children’s leisure time is spent watching television or playing on the computer. Understanding all of these things and working to modify them is essential for reducing childhood obesity (2005). Clearly the food choices of adolescents are not consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Children’s food intake tends to be low in fruits, vegetables and calcium rich foods, and high in both total fat and saturated fat. Children’s dietary habits are causing many nutritional issues that can affect their health in many negative ways.

In order to develop effective nutrition interventions to change eating behaviors and ward off disease, factors influencing adolescent eating behaviors need to be understood. Story, Neumark-Sztainer & French discuss Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). “SCT provides a useful theoretical framework for understanding and describing the multiple influences that have an impact on the food behaviors of adolescence. In SCT, behavior is explained in terms of a 3-way, dynamic and reciprocal interaction between personal factors, environmental influences, and behavior.

Key concepts of SCT are self efficacy (self confidence to change a behavior), observational learning (modeling), reciprocal determinism (bidirectional influences), behavioral capability (knowledge and skills to change the behavior), expectations (beliefs about likely results of the action), functional meanings (personal meaning attached to the behavior), and reinforcement (response to a person’s behavior that increases or decreases the chances of its recurrence)” (2002).

Ecological perspective is another model used for understanding factors influencing eating behavior. Ecological perspective looks at the connections between people and their environments. Reciprocal determinism is central in both SCT and the ecological perspective. Reciprocal determinism means that both the behavior and the environment influence each other in both directions (Story, Neumark-Sztainer & French, 2002). Adolescent eating behavior has multiple levels of influence.

There are four broad levels of influence, they are as follows; individual influences (intrapersonal), social environmental influences (interpersonal), physical environmental influences (community settings) and macrosystem influences (societal) (Story, Neumark-Sztainer & French, 2002). The following portion of this paper will examine the four levels of influence. Story, Neumark-Sztainer & French explain how psychosocial, biological and lifestyle factors are apart of individual influences.

Psychosocial factors like attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, self-efficacy, taste and food preferences, biological factors like hunger and life-style factors like cost, time demands and convenience are all considered individual factors that effect eating behaviors (2002). Social environmental influences include family and friends. Family not only provides the food but also shapes a child’s food attitude, preference, values and habits. As stated before, United States families have dramatically changed over the past thirty years.

Family structure is different, both parents are working, both children and parents are too busy for meals at home. Family meals no longer exist and parents can not control what their child is eating outside of the home. Friends influence adolescent behavior in all aspects. Adolescents seek out approval among their peers. There are however not many studies that have found a strong association between eating behaviors and peer influence (Story, Neumark-Sztainer & French, 2002). Another influence that effect adolescent-eating behavior is the physical environment (community setting).

One third of all eating done by adolescents is outside of the home. Children these days eat majority of their meals at school, fast food restaurants, from vending machines, and convenience stores. Macrosystem influence (Societal) is the last of the four influences. Factors within the larger society, which can affect adolescent eating behavior, include the media, cultural norms, social norms, food production and distribution systems, and food accessibility and availability. Adolescents are consumers. Marketers have now targeted adolescents specifically.

Adolescents spend about 140 billion dollars a year, 94 billion is money they have earned themselves. Boys spend $59. 00 a week and girls spend $53. 00 a week and 15% of the money spent is on fast foods and snacks. Adolescents also influence their parents spending. It is estimated that adolescents spent 47 billion of family money and 19. 6 billion in grocery money spent was influenced by adolescent’s preferences. Marketers see adolescents as future adult spenders and really work to maintain brand loyalty (Story, Neumark-Sztainer & French, 2002). Clearly there are a multiple influences on adolescent eating behavior.

An understanding of how the four levels of influence interact and affect adolescent eating behaviors is needed for the development of effective nutrition interventions. Interventions addressing factors at the different levels of influence are needed to improve eating behaviors of youth. This is a challenge that will require multifaceted, community wide efforts. Through community outreach, advocacy work, partnerships with food/restaurant industries, media groups, government programs, and school districts efforts can be made to positively influence adolescent eating behavior.

Knowing the all the influences adolescents have today, where does a dietitian begin when addressing eating behaviors of adolescents and their nutritional status? An article written by Jamie Stang, PhD, MPH, RD discusses the assessment of nutritional status and motivation to make behavior changes among adolescents. Nutritional screening, establishing a relationship, setting an agenda, assessment of growth and development, assessment of dietary intake and physical activity, in-depth dietary assessment and assessing motivation to make behavior changes are all aspects a comprehensive, effective counseling session with a child (2002).

A nutritional screen should be completed on the initial visit and should involve a complete nutritional profile of the adolescent. A review of available medical, laboratory, psychosocial, and socioeconomic assessments should be completed and provide relevant information on physiological, psychological, and economic factors that may influence nutrient needs and dietary adequacy among the adolescent population. Second a relationship needs to be established. Stang recommends that the counselor introduces his/her self and explains why they are meeting. Open-ended questions should be used giving the adolescent adequate time to respond.

Also working to normalize the adolescent’s feelings of apprehension aids in opening the lines of communication. The third step is to set an agenda. Discuss with the adolescent how long they will be talking and what they will be discussing during the session. Also asking the adolescent what they expect from the session is beneficial and letting them know that they can address any topic discussed at any point during the session is important. Stang suggests that the agenda is mutually agreed upon and permission is granted to proceed. The fourth step involves obtaining an accurate assessment of growth and development.

Looking at the client’s height and weight at every session is very important there is a rapid rate of growth and development during this period of time. Initial assessment of dietary intake and physical activity is the fifth step. Physical activity should be briefly discussed to determine whether or not further counseling is appropriate on exercise. Asking questions like, “How many days of the week do you participate in light exercise such as walking, and rigorous exercise such as a competitive sport? ” will provide the counselor with the adolescent level of physical activity.

Also inquiring about the amount of time the client watches television or spends on the internet is good information for the counselor. This information can be used during educational and counseling sessions for goal setting and determining behavior changes. The initial dietary assessment involves gathering a large amount of data to determine eating patterns and to identify nutrition risk indicators. Stang lists many questions that can be used to characterize usual eating patterns of adolescents and to determine the presence of nutrition risk indicators.

Here is a list of a few: Number of meals and snacks eaten n weekdays and weekends Location where meals and snacks are eaten Determine the kind of meals eaten at school, a la carte or program meals The number of family meal times, whether the adolescent eats alone or with peers Food preferences Determine the adolescent’s ability to purchase and prepare food Note the number of servings of fruits and vegetables consumed in a week Determine ethnic or religious food preferences, food allergies or intolerances

Bullets listed above are just a few questions that can be asked in order to obtain information about an adolescent’s eating behaviors. Brief, informal, dietary assessment questionnaires that target specific behaviors can also be useful for an initial nutrition screening. These can be done quickly to determine whether an adolescent needs further nutritional counseling or to determine the need to address certain food components such as fat, sodium or calcium (2002). An in-depth nutritional assessment is completed on adolescents with a nutritional related health risk.

It should involve a full medical history review, psychosocial development and evaluation of laboratory data. A detailed dietary assessment is also obtained and has four main components – 24 hour recall (A1), food frequency questionnaire (A2), food record (A3) and diet history (A4). Also Stang provides a helpful table that lists the strengths, limitations and applications of the four main components of a detailed dietary assessment. After obtaining the adolescent’s diet history with one of the four components, the data should be analyzed with a nutrient analysis program.

The results should be compared with the recommended dietary intakes of the adolescent and Stang suggests allowing the client to view the results of his/her diet with the recommended dietary intakes to see how they compare. His gives adolescents’ empowerment builds rapport between client and counselor and increases the likelihood that they will be motivated to make dietary changes (2002). Once the counseling session has begun with an adolescent it is important to evaluate the motivation to make behavior changes.

The adolescent at this point has already compared his/her diet with the recommendations and has identified what areas they need to improve. At this time the adolescent should prioritize one or two areas they are willing to work on. Once that is decided upon the counselor must make suggestions as to how the adolescent can achieve the goal. For example if the adolescent is overweight recommendations can be made on ways to lose weight such as increasing physical activity, decreasing portion sizes, making healthier food choices. The adolescent should be asked what changes would work for them and focus in on one change.

This way the client is making the decisions and is not being told what to do. Also with the client choosing it shows that they want to change and is willing to work on one goal. Stang suggests that the adolescent rates his/her motivation to make the behavioral change on a scale of 0-10, 0 meaning not willing to change and 10 meaning very willing to change. The counselor should than ask why he/she choose that number and not a higher number. The adolescent is than given the opportunity to voice some potential barriers to change.

This should be discussed for every behavior change the adolescent decides to work on. An intervention such as nutrition counseling and education can be tailored to the level of change the adolescent is comfortable with (2002). Fit Family Fit Kids is a joint initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing. Their goal is to help raise awareness and provide long term strategies to help parents of kids ages 9-13 in their efforts to improve their family’s physical activity and nutrition habits (xxxxxxx, ).

Every month in Fitness magazine has an update on the current family in. In the March issue of Fitness magazine the Schall family was featured in their six and last month. Donna and Roth Schall agreed in October 2004 to change their sedentary ways and increase their physical activity. Their ultimate goal was 60 minutes a day for Roth (teen-age son) and 30 minutes a day for Donna (busy single mom). The Schall’s motivation to make behavior changes is clear. Both mother and child agreed to be followed by Fitness magazine and have their stories told to millions of readers.

Keri Kulik, an exercise physiologist, who helped the Schall’s with monthly strategies to meet their goals, followed them for the next 6 months. Each month Keri gave the Schall family key strategies for success. Strategies started small like walking two nights a week together, watching less television and decreasing soda intake. By month 3 the family was including more sports like cycling, tennis and baseball in their routine also they have started circuit weight training together and have been drinking more water. By month six the Schall’s have consistently included exercise in their daily life and love it.

They had one goal as a family and that was to increase physical activity, now the Schall’s are interested in working on their diet. They had made a consistent effort to eat a healthy breakfast every morning and include more healthy meals and snacks in their day. As Keri stated, “they now see the big picture and are motivated to continue their healthy lifestyle. ” Fit Family Fit Kids has shown how making small behavior changes in one families life can make big changes in both parent’s and children’s health (Fitness, 2005).

Teenage Alcoholism Essay

Teenagers today have no idea what alcoholism really is. They think that they can never become alcoholics. They think that it could never happen to them, but they are wrong. Stress, Family problems and the desire to be popular are wrong the cause of teenage alcoholism. Signs that a teenager has a drinking problem and steps that parents can take to help their child are what I will discuss in this paper. The critical ingredient common to all alcoholic beverages is ethyl alcohol or ethanol. It is a clear, tasteless liquid formed through the fermentation of sugars by yeast spores.

The amount of alcohol produced depends on the type and amount of sugar in the original mixture, the type of yeast used, the temperature maintained during the fermentation process. American beers, which contain about 3% to 6% alcohol, are made from malted barley and hops (he ripened and dried cones of the hop plant). Most wines are made by fermenting grapes or berries, and normally reach a maximum of about 15% alcohol. Though they are sometimes fortifies with additional ethanol alcohol and thus may reach 20% alcohol in cherry or port wines.

Teenage years are filled with unsure time. Intense pressure to perform and succeed are felt by many youths, according to Alliant Health Systems, Louisville, Ky. Perceived failure at home and or school can lead to the need for escape. Teenagers often see their parents react to stress by drinking. This providing and example for them. They also see their favorite movie actors or actresses getting drunk when they go to a movie so they think that it’s OK for them to o it but what they don’t know it really hurts them in the long run.

With their parents, the might being having marital problems and that can usually drive a teenager to drink. The desire to be accepted and popular among their friends encourages many to begin drinking as well. The ability to consume a lot of alcohol is associated with being a “real man or woman” ( Lang 23). When teens see adults drink heavily and movie stars on screen getting drunk, the message that gets through is that “it’s cool to drink” which is the wrong one to be sending. Almost one half (47. 9 %) of seniors drink alcohol at least once a month 19. 8 % drink at least once a week.

Nearly one third (30. 7%) of ninth graders drink some kind of alcohol monthly or more often 12% drink at least once a week. Thirteen (13. 2%) of seventh graders and 6. 6% of sixth graders drink alcohol regularly. Regular use of alcohol has no changed significantly since the first survey in 1989. (Casey 1). Crime is inextricably related to alcohol and other drugs (AOD). More than 1. 1 million annual arrests for illicit drug violations, almost 1. 4 million arrests for driving while intoxicated, 480,000 arrests for liquor law violations and 704,000 arrests for drunkenness come to a total of 4. illion arrests for alcohol and other drug statutory crimes.

That total accounts for over one-third of all arrests in this country. ( Lang 33) The impaired judgment and violence induced by alcohol contribute to alcohol-related crime. Rapes, fights, and assaults leading to injury, manslaughter, and homicide often are linked with alcohol because the perpetrator, the victim, or both were drinking. The economic cost of AOD-related crime is $61. 8 billion annually. Many perpetrators of violent crime were also using illicit drugs. Some of these drugs, such as PCP and steroids, may induce violence.

These drugs can also be a catalyst for aggressive-prone individuals who exhibit violent behavior as a result of taking them. The need for preventing alcohol and other drug problems is clear when the following statistics are examined: Alcohol is a key factor in up to 68 percent of manslaughter, 62 percent of assaults, 54 percent of murders/attempted murders, 48 percent of robberies, and 44 percent of burglaries. Among jail inmates, 42. 2 percent of those convicted of rape reported being under the influence of alcohol or alcohol and other drugs at the time of the offense.

Over 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women arrested for property crimes (burglary, larceny, and robbery) in 1990, who were voluntarily tested, tested positive for illicit drug use. In 1987, 64 percent of all reported child abuse and neglect cases in New York City were associated with parental AOD abuse. In 1992, there were 6,839 deaths due to alcohol. There were 1,154 deaths from direct alcohol related problems and 5,685 deaths indirectly due to alcohol. Alcohol related deaths accounted for 9. 4% of all deaths.

In 1985to 1992, the number of deaths has remained relatively stable. Of all direct alcohol related deaths, 74. 8% are due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. The rest are due to alcohol dependence syndrome (18. 2%) toxic effects of alcohol (2. 2%) alcoholics psychoses (2. 0%) alcoholics cardiomypathy (2. 0%) and alcoholic gastritis (0. 8%). Most alcoholics’ deaths occur among men (72. 4%) this is why most men become alcoholics. When students want to talk to or with someone about their problem, 50. 4 percent report that they would choose a peer 62. ercent a parent 39. 1 percent an adult friend and 30. 4 percent a relative other that a parent.

At school, 27. 2 percent of sixth graders and an average of 12. 1 percent of seventh graders, ninth and seniors would trust a teacher and an average of 13. 2 percent would trust a coach. In general, he percentage of students expressing trust of any kind has decreased over the past four years the only exception being an increase from 1991 to 1993 among sixth and seventh graders who indicate they would take a drug concern to a parent.

Alcoholic’s Anonymous does not engage in the fields of alcoholism research, medical or psychiatric treatment, education, or advocacy in any form, although members may participate in such activities as individuals. The Fellowship has adopted a policy of “cooperation but not affiliation” with other organizations concerned with the problem of alcoholism. Traditionally, Alcoholics Anonymous does not accept or seek financial support from outside sources, and members preserve personal anonymity in print and broadcast media and otherwise at the public level.

A. A. perience has always been made available freely to all who sought it – business people, spiritual leaders, civic groups, law enforcement officers, health and welfare personnel, educators, representatives of military establishments, institutional authorities, representatives of organized labor, and many others. But A. A. never endorses, supports, becomes affiliated with, or expresses an opinion on the programs of others in the field of alcoholism, since such actions would be beyond the scope of the Fellowship’s primary purpose.

In the United States and Canada A. A. relations with professional groups, agencies, facilities, and individuals involved with the problems of alcoholism are handled by the trustees’ Committee on Cooperation with the Professional Community. Mutual understanding and cooperation between AA members and others who work with alcoholics are the concerns of this standing committee of the General Service Board. Student Life Alcohol and Drug Education Programs offers alcohol and other drug prevention and education courses for adjudication purposes. The goal of required alcohol education is to promote healthy choices a! nd responsible decision making about alcohol and other drug use.

Required alcohol education is intended as both an intervention and educational tool. The participants are students who have been involved in alcohol related incidents and who have opted to attend the classes. Students in the Alcohol Education Workshop classes undergo formal assessment by a licensed chemical dependency counselor. Students in other classes are assessed informally some are then referred for professional assessment. An examination of American public policy on problem drinking reveals that it is until still another area where our ambivalence about alcohol is evident.

There is no clear and single- minded plan to deal with the drinking issue. Instead policymakers have accepted the simplest disease concept of alcoholism. The result has been a heavy investment of resources in just one area for only one group that represents but a small part of the drinking problems of this country. Coming to grips with our ambivalence about the social meaning of drinking is essential. Though this is clearly not just a problem for teenagers, they may represent one of the best groups with which to start. After all, they will shape the alcohol policy for the next generation to come.

Creating a profile of a developmental stage of the lifespan

In this essay, I am going to discuss the developmental stage of the adolescent aged from 12 to 20 years old from the physical development like puberty and sexual maturity, the social development like peer pressure, popularity and rejection in school and the issues surrounding them like juvenile delinquency and gangs, eating disorders like obesity, anorexia nervosa and bulimia. I will also be touching on the causes of these issues. Physical Development during adolescence

Between the ages of 12 to 20 is considered the most life changing, awkward and exciting stage of a human beings life as they will go through the physical changes which might cause them to have some embarrassing moments. Physical and sexual maturation are processes set in motion by the genes and executed by hormones. Most males and females feel most awkward during this stage as it is during this time that physical attraction between the two sexes will develop and they become more conscious of their own appearance.

Adolescents experienced the most dramatic physical changes during this stage as their body undergoes a range of transformation from child to adult. What they are experiencing is called puberty, the process of biological change that results in an individuals attaining sexual maturity and becoming capable of producing a child. (Sigelman and Rider, 2006, p. 130) As the level of growth hormones circulating in the body increases, the adolescent growth spurt is triggered. Girls peak growth for height is around 12 years while for boys it is 13. 4 years. Both sexes will return to a slower rate of growth after experiencing that peak of growth spurt.

Both sexes develop muscles rapidly but boys usually gain a greater proportion of muscle mass than girls. Girls will gain extra fats in the breasts, hips and buttocks while boys will develop broader shoulders. The sexual maturity part will follow, whereby it refers to the ability for a male to father a child and a female to carry a fetus to term. The primary sex characteristics like the testes and penis in males will develop around the age of 11 and a half years old while the ovaries, uterus and vagina in females will develop around 12 and a half years old.

Secondary sex characteristics like breasts development for girls and changes in voices for boys plus the development of body hair for both sexes will also follow. Social relationship during adolescence During early adolescence, friends or peer group becomes the focal point of social relationships for youths. (Kail and Cavanaugh, 2000, p. 256) They usually start with a clique which are basically a small group consisting of 3 to 6 children of the similar age, sex, race and attitudes who are friends. Friends within the clique will spend time together talking, gossiping about mutual friends or school mates.

They tend to dress alike, act alike and talk alike too. At the age of 13, which is the age that most adolescents goes from Primary school to Secondary school, they will have to face a transitional change of changing schools and meeting or making new friends as the former classmates or school mates which they knew since primary school might not be going to the same secondary school. In a new environment, an adolescent will have to learn to adapt quickly and make new friends all over again. It can be quite stressful for them at first but normally, they will be able to adapt and get settle in fairly fast.

It is also around this time from the age of 13 to 17 in secondary school that they will make friends who might last throughout their life. To a teenager, friends matter a lot to them as friends provides assurance, understanding, moral support, advice and immediate acceptance which help to ease the uncertainty and insecurities that they face during the adolescent years. Being able to share inner feelings of happiness or disappointment will enables the adolescent to deal with their emotional ups and downs better. In a peer group, they usually establish norms which are the standard behavior that applies to all the members within the group.

Groups will pressure members to conform to these norms. This irresistible and harmful force is called peer pressure. This kind of peer pressure might be positive or negative. It is positive if peers are urged to do community services or participate in school activities together. It is considered negative if peers were to ask each other to try stealing from stores or fight with other groups of adolescences. To conform to peer pressure in early adolescence can be very disruptive and they might be judged by their teachers or treated as an outcast.

In every school, there are bound to be popular and unpopular teenagers. According to research, social skill is the most important factor which determines a persons popularity. Popular teenagers are found to be usually better at initiating conversations with other people and they are also better at integrating themselves into an ongoing conversation or play session. Unpopular or rejected teenagers tend to be socially unskilled, timid, withdrawn, disruptive or aggressive. For those rejected teenagers, being rejected repeatedly might cause them to drop out of schools, join gangs or suffer from psychopathology.

Peer rejection can be traced in part to the influences of parents, according to Banduras social cognitive theory. (Seifert, Hoffnung and Hoffnung, 2000, p. 260) As a kid, teenagers will observe their parents response to social situations and they will imitate these responses later in life. Thus if their parents typical response to interpersonal relationship is with aggression or intimidation, they will imitate them and this will hamper the development of their social skills in the long run. The consequences of the lack of social skills will be their classmates or school mates shunning them.

Academically, their grades will also suffer and they are seen as a failure in school. Such adolescents normally have a higher risk of going into depression or become a juvenile delinquent to feel accepted. Right now I will go into the issues surrounding adolescents like juvenile delinquency and gangs, eating disorders like obesity, anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Juvenile delinquency and gangs Juvenile delinquency refers to a pattern of destructive or antisocial activities and lawbreaking offences committed by adolescents. (Seifert et al, 2000, p. 1)

Many juvenile delinquent youngsters belong to gangs and their age are usually from 12 to 20 years old. They normally commit petty offences like shop theft, playing truant, fighting among different gangs and running away from home. In a gang, there is usually a gang leader and clear role expectations for its other members. Traditionally gang members are usually adolescent males but in recent years, there has been increased female involvement. The recent case of a video being circulated online showing four girls beating another girl in a staircase landing are examples of girl gangs in Singapore.

Being in a gang provide social supports for those alienated youths who faced insecurity, uncertainty and they also provide alternative forms of economic opportunities. This kind of gangs offers a form of identity, belonging, status and power and most importantly, protection from all those people who used to shun them in the past. In Singapore as youth arrests accounted for 19 per cent of total persons arrested, thus in order to reduce and prevent delinquency, a curfew has been set at 11pm starting from this year.

If teenagers were spotted unnecessarily exposing themselves to crime risk or bad influence by loitering in crime-prone areas such as quiet, secluded spots late at night, a warning letter will be sent to their parents informing them of their childs whereabouts on that night. Whether this form of enforcement on the part of the police will provide any long term effects will remains to be seen as it is still too early to judge. Eating Disorders- Obesity In Singapore as the standard of living goes up, people have better spending power. Parents nowadays give their children more money to spend as both parents are likely to be working.

There is a lack of control when it comes to what their children are eating as they are not around to control or advice on their calories intake, thus their children become obese. When parents are around, they usually encourage their children to finish off all the food on their plates even though the children are already full is in fact encouraging them to ignore internal cues to eating. Obese adolescents may overeat as they rely on such external cues and disregarding internal cues to stop. Another reason could also be environmental. Print advertisements and TV commercials encourages people to eat tasty but fattening food.

For example, Macdonalds are even introducing 24 hours home delivery and staying open 24 hours for certain outlets. Thus it is no surprise to find that an increasing number of children and adolescents are becoming overweight as they can always order food from fast food restaurants. Heredity may play a part in juvenile obesity too. Genes may influence obesity by helping to determine a persons activity level. (Kail et al, 2000, p. 281) Some adolescents are genetically more prone to being inactive thus that makes it more difficult for them to burn off calories and it is easier for them to gain weight.

Psychological factors such as boredom, sadness or anger might influence eating habits too. Some adolescents overindulge in eating and food as a way of dealing with stress, pressures from school or depression. Obese children are often unpopular and have low self esteem. They often dislike physical games during physical education classes, subject to name callings by their peers, have very few friends and are at risk for many health problems like high blood pressure and diabetics.

Schools in Singapore try to deal with obesity in children by having the TAF (Trim and Fit) club program in Primary and Secondary schools. Its aims are to educate students on the need to lead a physically active and healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and regular exercise. The obese children and adolescents are asked to come back to school for an hour once a week and they are usually engaged in some games and physical exercise during that hour. This is a compulsory program to help them lose weigh through exercising.

By having a healthy weight and eating habit, adolescents will start to have higher self esteem, less chances of suffering from depression, have more friends and have a better outlook at life. Eating disorders- Anorexia nervosa Anorexia nervosa is a psychological and emotional disorder characterized by severely abnormal eating patterns, an obsession with food and weight plus a relentless pursuit of excessive thinness. (Seifert et al, 2000, p. 353) Currently as Singapore is growing in terms of our economy and industrializations, we are fast becoming westernized in many aspects.

With the adolescents being exposed to western cultures like equating beauty with thinness, more adolescents are pursuing thinness relentlessly. In many of our local magazines and TV advertisements, slimming commercials are everywhere and many beautiful and slim celebrities are endorsing these advertisements since the last decade or so. Their before and after pictures are shown side by side in those ads and teenagers begin to have the idea that being slim or thin is the in thing now. The typical Singaporean patient suffering from anorexia nervosa is a single, female, teenage student.

However according to studies, 53% of females and 28% of males wanted to be thinner. The average age of adolescents suffering from anorexia nervosa is around 15. 5 although it seems that some teenagers are having this disorder at around 12 years of age. The reason could be that this period of time happens to be the transitional period when they graduated from primary school to secondary school and coupled with the physical and emotional changes as they go through puberty, it makes them more vulnerable to anorexia nervosa.

Anorexic adolescents experience severe disturbances in 3 areas of psychological functioning. The first is their body image. Although they might be looking like a skeleton already but they still see someone who is too fat and needs to continue dieting. The second disturbance is misinterpretation of internal and external stimuli. It means that although an adolescent is literally starving to death but they enjoy the feeling of hunger and their thin bodies, both of which make them feel thinner.

The third disturbance would be a pervasive sense of ineffectiveness and helplessness about their ability to direct their life. This disorder is accompanied by psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder as the victim magnifies a slight flaw to such a degree that all other aspects of personality and appearance are ignored. (Kagan and Gall, 1998, p. 107) In this case, depression is being viewed as being secondary to the dieting and the state of starvation rather than a separated entity.

Usually patients with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are usually referred to the Child Guidance Clinic (CGC) or the Eating Disorder Clinic (EDC) which was established at the Institute of Mental Health in 1994. CGC usually see patients who are under 18 while EDC attends to cases 18 years old and above. Eating disorder- Bulimia Bulimia is a related eating disorder that frequently involves a recurrent binge-purge syndrome in which food are eaten and then immediately purged by forced vomiting, laxatives and other cathartics. (Seifert et al, 2000, p. 353) Almost half of anorexics have bulimia eating patterns too.

People at greatest risk for bulimia are those who have deeply accepted or identify with the social and cultural norms that equate fat with the ugly and thinness with the beautiful. Anorexia and bulimia are also frequently associated with serious family problem such as a mother-daughter relationship that is overprotective, rigid, rejecting or hostile. Most likely the mothers in this case are preoccupied with being thin and have some disturbed eating patterns. There is also evidence that sexual abuse may be involved in some cases. To treat anorexia and bulimia successfully, there are a few steps to follow.

Firstly, the eating disorder must be deal with in a way that addresses both the patients need for control and the distortions in their thinking. In this case, a highly restricted hospital environment is needed which will allows careful observation and also to reinforce more appropriate eating behaviors. Antidepressant medications are helpful in reducing depression and risk of suicide that are present in many such cases. Secondly, the treatment must address the underlying family problems and abnormal interactions among family members that are invariably related to the eating disorder.

Finally, individual counseling or therapy sessions for the patient must be held to help her uncover her own abilities and resources for independent thinking, judging and feelings. It must help her to achieve autonomy and self directed identity by helping her to become aware of, express and act on her own impulses, feelings and needs. Summary During those awkward adolescent years, teenagers are more likely to commit crimes, join gangs, be stressed out or sink into depression, thus it will be good for parents to be more supportive morally and emotionally and care for their children during that time.

Some of them have eating disorders which might not be discovered until it is too late as they tend to be able to hide them well. The choices that teenagers make during that time could also greatly affect their future if they happen to make a wrong decision. It will be good for teenagers to participate in healthy activities organized by their schools such as camps, community services, field trips and maybe some competitions. This way they can make more friends, be active socially, gain knowledge and grow up in a healthier environment.

Suicide Among Teens

Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among humans between the ages of 15-25 years old. It is the 6th leading cause of death among children 5-14 years of age. Every day more and more people are taking their own lives. They assume that life is not worth living or pointless (Teen Suicide, an epidemic). Thousands of young people die every year, not by the hands of others, but instead, their own (Some Facts). The problem of suicide occurs all over the world.

Statistics show that in the United States alone, 13 teens out of 100,000 take their own life (Teen Suicide, an epidemic). Hungary is at the top of the list when it comes to suicide with 38 out of every 100,000 people. Approximately 500,000 teens attempt to commit suicide, but only about 500 succeed. Suicide has become a major problem among youths in other countries, where it is considered a felony (Some Facts). People are becoming more lethal when it comes to taking their own life. They are using such things as drugs, rope, knives, and guns.

In the United States, 61% of the reported suicides involved a gunshot. Hanging or strangulation was next on the list with 14. 5% of reported suicides. Gas poisoning came in with 7. 5%, other poisoning, 10%; and other, 7% (Gelman, David). It seems as though teens are becoming more and more creative with their deaths. Making their suicide seem quick and easy. Suicide was not a problem that has been conceived by the stresses and pressures of our increasingly fast paced world.

One of the earliest recorded suicides dates back to 7th century B. C. en Shamash-shum-ukin, a crown prince of Babylon, burned himself to death. In the play Romeo and Juliet, suicide was the tragedy that brought the two lovers together in the end; this play dates back to 1594. Suicide has dramatically increased since the late 1890s to early 1900s (Britanica, computer software). There are many causes and reasons why a young one might want to commit suicide. One of the most common reasons for suicide is depression (Some Facts). Depression can be caused by stress, loss of support, or isolation, not feeling able to fit in.

Other reasons for suicide may be caused by mental disorders or physical illness (Craig, Judith). Only the person wanting to act out suicide knows the true reason why they would want to do so. Someone who takes their life affects everyone around them, especially those who care about them the most. The friends and family of those who are lost to suicide are put through the agony of losing someone dear to them. Even those that one may not seem close to are effected also, simply because it is so close to home or the community in which that person may have lived.

The school in which the youth may have attended would also be affected, including the teachers who dealt with the teen for most of the day out of the week. The death of a person would effect the population of society on this earth as well. There are several warning signs to a person who might be considering suicide. Out of the suicides that have occurred 8 out of 10 suicide victims gave clues (Some Facts). Some of the clues may include a change in habits such as: withdraw from friends or family members, neglect in their personal appearance, or a loss of interest in pleasurable activities.

Other signs may be more intense, fore say: drug and/or alcohol abuse, violent behavior, and increase in anger or frustration (Warning Signs). There is no real solution to a problem such as suicide. It would all depend on how determined the one who wants to die is about taking their life. A threat of suicide is usually some form of cry for help. Counseling may be a solution to someone who does not really want to kill his or her self. They could use the counseling as a form of ventilation.

Friends or family members may be easy to converse with because that person may feel uncomfortable speaking their feelings with someone who is professional. It all depends on the severity of their thoughts, feelings, or problems. One may also consider hospitalization or a suicide prevention program. Others who understand the intensity of their feelings will surround them. They will find others who may relate to their problems and may not feel as secluded. The one wanting to act upon suicide may also find reasons not to just by meeting others who may have problems more intense than their own.

Every reason for every problem is different and varies from person to person. Its neither a fact of how nor which problem may be eliminated; its the severity of the problem of who is experiencing those thoughts. In a sense, several of the reasons that give one thoughts of suicide may be reduced drastically, only if the surrounding, in which the person lives, changes. No one person is completely satisfied with himself or herself, if there were such things as perfect beings, the world would not experience such problems.

The world consists of stereotypes: beauty, education, financial status, or just simply the way you dress or act. Most of the stress put among teens is from the catagories they are put in by their surrounding peers. Not many people would simply look at a person from within without looking on the outside first. If people realize that we are the ones causing shame, hurt, and pain to others, maybe then suicide among teen will decrease. Until then, teens will still live a life stressed by trying to simply fit in and feel wanted.

Teens, Sex, and Virginity

Sexually active teenagers, in America, are a significant problem we must look at. A question that rings in the minds of teenagers everywhere is when to have sex. Our Catholic teachings, instruct us to wait until one is in a loving marriage to have sex. Not only is the church preaching abstinence, but now public schools are also teaching students on the advantages of abstinence. Premarital sex is a growing, and important issue. Premarital sex is usually the cause of sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, and deep, emotions of regret.

Sexually transmitted diseases flourish in a society of premarital sex, where teens have many sex partners. A direct result of this, is STD’s becoming more abundant among the population. One reason for the plague of STD’s is the misuse of contraceptives by teens. Many teens believe that condoms, or the pill prohibit the spread of herpes, AIDS, or other diseases, but in fact, they do not stop the spread, and no where do the products state that they do stop the spread of STDs.

Three million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases among teens are reported each year. Many teens that believe nothing is wrong in committing premarital sex have intercourse with many different teens through the ages of 15 and 19, and increase the chance of spreading sexually transmitted diseases each time. With sexual intercourse on the rise with high school students, and its acceptance among the public, even more teens are having sex now, to the point that every eleven seconds a teen has sex for their first time.

Seventy percent of these students say they were socially pressured into having sex. If society has the power to pressuring teens to have sex, society ought to use that power to educate teems about the dangers of premarital sex. Sex before marriage has also been one of the major causes of teen pregnancy. Teens often think that pregnancy just cannot happen to them, yet teen pregnancy grows each year, and shows no stop. Carelessness is the significant factor in teen pregnancy, whether the carelessness is in contraceptive use, or choosing of a partner.

Teens just use different forms of contraceptives and birth control incorrectly. Teens, in most cases, do not have the maturity to choose a life partner at their age, and choose wrong, ending up in wrong results such as an unplanned pregnancy. Many of unplanned pregnancies happen because of the lack of knowledge. Some teenagers just do not realize either how easy it is to become pregnant, or how to correctly use birth control.

Some other teens actually believe they are in love and actually plan to have a baby, but do not have knowledge of the finances involved. Thirty percent of unplanned pregnancies in America involve teen parents. Premarital sex makes teen pregnancy a growing concern for all, especial parents. Lastly, premarital sex can be a great emotional factor on teens’ lives. Many teens feel deep, emotional regret with their involvement in early intercourse.

Some teens may not feel the emotional regret now, but when time goes by and long-term effects start to be recognized, either by their unplanned children, or by diseases, the regret can hit with depression or low self esteem. In fact, a great number of teens, active in sexual relationships, and ninety percent actually, regret their earlier choice to have sex. Teens may feel the regret when their partner breaks up with them, or realize later that they both do not want the same things out of the relationship.

Premarital sex is a great cause of depression in teens and even adults who reflect on their youthful choices. Sexual relations among teens are a growing problem, not only for the teens and possibly their children, but also for America as a whole. Premarital sex has been the cause of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and feelings of regret, all terrible things that no one should have to go through, and the astonishing fact is that no one has to go through these events, if only they could have prolonged those few minutes of bliss for marriage.

As for the adults, they can be more informative for all teens about the dangers of premarital sex, and should pay more attention to this large problem. If this is done, than the effects of premarital sex could be recognized by teens and all who listen, and to the morality behind it. In actuality, the only way to not be affected by these life-changing events is to sexual abstinence. Many teens claim, however, that abstinence is ridiculous and impossible, yet millions of people do it, and it only takes one word, “no”, to achieve.

Teenage Years Are The Hardest Times

Teenage years are the hardest times. Your having changes in your body, going through relationships, and trying to plan your future. When you go to look for answers, it seems like no one has them. Thats what starts teenagers to feel alone. When they feel this way they will try to medicate themselves by drugs and alcohol or violence. Studies show that teens who feel this way are Suicide, intentional, self-inflicted death. A uniquely human act, suicide occurs in all cultures. People who attempt or complete suicide usually suffer from extreme emotional pain and distress nd feel unable to cope with their problems.

They are likely to suffer from mental illness, particularly severe depression, and to Suicide is becoming a public-health problem. It is now the leading cause of death worldwide. Researchers believe mental illness in young people are the cause of the increase in suicide. Not only do suicides rates differ between age groups but also men and women. Men succeed in more suicides but more women attempt. Methods of suicide can differ from drug overdose to hanging. Poisoning or overdose is the least amount of suicide ates.

Hanging is the leading method worldwide. The United States has 60 percent suicides committed by guns. Where it is less easy to get a gun in Canada there is only 30 percent committed suicides. Only 15 to 25 percent of those who kill themselves leave suicide notes. People often think suicide is caused by difficult situations such as failure in school or marriage. Experts believe those are just triggers and its really caused by the brain, genetics or social forces. The majority of people who kill themselves are suffering from depression.

Researchers believe that genetics play a role in suicidal behavior. They believe it runs in the family. There are also some psychological theories. Suicides have three interrelated and unconscious dimensions: revenge/hate, depression/hopelessness, and guilt. said Karl Menninger. Many suicide attempts are a cry for help and to try to get attention. Soem socialogical theories show suicidal people dont know how to cope with stress well. They are also probably suffering from a loss of a family member. There are ways to help prevent suicide.

If recongized early you can get psychiatric help and get on medication. Some risk factors can be people with mental illnesses, or substance-abuse disorders. Hopelessness is shown to be the best predictor. Behavioral disorders also have a higher risk of suicide. These people complete about 90 percent of suicides. People with this may see suicide as the only way to a pained existence. Many people feel uneasy talking about suicide, especially surviving family members and friends. Most suicides can be prevented because the suicidal state

Suicide has a devasting emotional impact on surviving family members and friends. THe intentional, sudden, and violent nature of the persons death often makes others feel abandoned, helpless, and rejected. A family member or friend may have the added burden of discovering the body of the suicide victim. Parents often suffer exaggerated feelings of shame and guilt. Because of the socail stigma, or shame, surrounding suicide, survivors may avoid talking to others about the person who died, and others may avoid the survivors.

Despite these extra problems, research has shown that suicide survivors go through the same grieving process as other people who have lost someone. They will eventually recover from grief. Support groups may be helpful for There is a myth that suicide should not be a topic of conversation around depresed people because they would put this idea in their head. Suicide was once a crime. Now no U. S. state considers a suicide a crime. Helping someone complete suicide is criminally punishable in several states.

Teenage Depression, A Growing Problem

Teenage depression is a growing problem in today’s society and is often a major contributing factor for a multitude of adolescent problems. The statistics about teenage runaways, alcoholism, drug problems, pregnancy, eating disorders, and suicide are alarming. Even more startling are the individual stories behind these statistics because the young people involved come from all communities, all economic levels, all home situations-anyone’s family. The common link is often depression. For the individuals experiencing this crisis, the statistics become relatively meaningless.

The difficult passage into adolescence and early dulthood can leave lasting scars on the lives and psyches of an entire generation of young men and women. There is growing realization that teenage depression can be life- changing, even life-threatening. (McCoy 21) Depression is a murky pool of feelings and actions scientists have been trying to understand since the days of Hippocrates, who called it a “black bile. ” It has been called “the common cold of mental illness and, like the cold, it’s difficult to quantify. ” (Arbetter 1) If feelings of great sadness or agitation last for much more than two weeks, it may be depression.

For a long time, people who were feeling depressed ere told to “snap out of it. ” According to a study done by National Institute of Mental Health, half of all Americans still view depression as a personal weakness or character flaw. Depression, however, is considered a medical disorder and can affect thoughts, feelings, physical health, and behaviors. It interferes with daily life such as school, friends, and family. “Clinical depression is the most incapacitating of all chronic conditions in terms of social functioning. ” (Salmans 11-12) Teenagers have always been vulnerable to depression for a variety of reasons.

It’s a confusing time f life because a teen’s body is changing along with their relationships. “Teenagers constantly vacillate between strivings for independence from family and regressions to childish dependence on it. ” (Elkind 89) But today’s teens face an additional challenge: They’re growing up in a world quite different from that of their parent’s youth. Adolescents today are faced with stresses that were unknown to previous generations and are dealing with them in an often self-destructive way. Contemporary society has changed the perception of teenagers.

New parental lifestyles, combined with changes in the economy, often give less ime and energy for parents to devote to their offspring. Society all too often views teens for what they can be instead of for who they are. Who they are becomes the identity of teenagers today. “They are confronted with the ambiguity of education, the dis! solution of family, the hostile commercialism of society, and the insecurity of relationships. ” (McCoy 16) This identity is fragile and is threatened by fears of rejection, feelings of failure, and of being different.

These young people face stress in school as well with resources dwindling and campus violence and harassment increasing. Their sexual awakening comes in the age of AIDS, when sex can kill. In summary, teens today feel less safe, less empowered and less hopeful than we did a generation ago. Depression is a common concomitant to this struggle. (McCoy 36) It strikes 5% of teens and about 2% of children under 12. One in three adolescents in the nineties is at risk for serious depression. (Stern 28) Depression is the result of a complex mix of social, psychological, physical, and environmental factors.

Teens with depressed parents are two to three times more likely to develop major depression. Genetic factors play a substantial but not overwhelming role in causing depression. (Dowling 37) Some type of significant loss can be a factor in triggering teenage depression. Loss can be due to death, divorce, separation, or loss of a family member, important friend or romantic interest. Loss can also be more subtle such as the loss of childhood, of a familiar way of being, of goals through achievement, or of boundaries and guidelines. McCoy 46-48)

Gender differences are becoming apparent, with girls having more difficulty with depression. Studies show girls are three times more likely than boys to suffer depression. A university study showed a close link between depression and negative body image and girls are usually more self-conscious about their bodies than boys. (Sol! in 157) The reasons for depression are not always clear-cut. Although some depressed, even suicidal teenagers come from extremely troubled backgrounds with a lifetime of difficulties at home and at school, the vast majority of depressed teens are not without resources, support, or love.

They simply find, for a variety of reasons, that they’re feeling overwhelmed by a sensation of hopelessness and helplessness. It is mperative to realize that depression can happen to teenagers, even those who have everything going for them. It can happen to the best and brightest of young people. (McCoy 27) It’s hard to detect depression in teens because it’s a developmental stage characterized by considerable anger and withdrawal. Adolescents don’t necessarily look sad and depressed and its normal for teens to have mood swings but within limits.

A depressed teen may cry for help indirectly through troublesome, even destructive behavior and through physical symptoms. For a teenager to admit that he or she needs help feels like regressing back to childhood. To be a teen means to externalize feelings and deal with the world through action. (Arbetter 6) Depression ranks second only to advanced heart disease in exacting a physical toll, measured by days in bed and body pain. It’s common for people with depressive disorders to complain about recurring headaches, backaches, chronic fatigue, and insomnia.

Being sick can be a binding thing that keeps the teenager tied to parents, if the illness is the only time the teen receives attention and love from their parents. (Dowling 127) The body may signal what the mind is saying through physical symptoms. The body expresses feelings and conflicts that the teenager is unable to verbalize. Physical ills are often viewed with more importance than emotional pain by parents, teachers, or even the teens themselves. (Papolos 36) “It’s much easier for adolescents to ask for medical care than for psychological help.

They often have a great fear of being crazy or of being thought to be crazy. ” (McCoy 209) Another serious medical problem that is affecting more and more teens is an eating disor! der. An eating disorder often represents a teenager’s attempt to gain some control by engaging in a ehavior which can not be regulated by another person. One-third to one-half of patients with eating disorders have a major depressive illness at the same time. (Papolos 72) More than one million teens, most under the age of sixteen, run away from home every year.

They are neither adventurous nor rebellious adolescents, but teens tested and troubled by life’s circumstances. A young girl at a shelter for teenage runaways tries to explain why she has run away from home four times in the past two months. Drawing her blanket around her like a cocoon, the fourteen-year – old quietly stares at the floor. I’m no good to anyone, I get upset and fuss at home and it causes trouble for everyone. I had to run away to save my parent’s marriage. ” Unfortunately, this story is not at all unusual. (McCoy 22) Of the 1. million teen runaways in the United States, an estimated 300,000 have little hope or chance of returning home.

They often feel things are hopeless and that their parents would never understand. Drug use is on the rise among teens as young as thirteen. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, about 4% of high school seniors use alcohol daily, while 92% have ried it. Millions of teens have had adverse experiences caused by excessive drinking. (Elkind 203) Researchers have found that depressed teens are at particularly high risk for drug and alcohol abuse.

Abuse of drugs, alcohol, or other substances are often used to assuage depression. Studies have found that when depressed patients were given treatment, alcohol and drug intake diminished as well. Substance abuse is seen as both a symptom and a cause of depression. (Papolos 66) There is more sexual activity among teenagers today than at any other time in our history. By the ime they leave high school, some 90% of seniors are no longer virgins. Sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers have reached epidemic proportions. Eight million young people each year are infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

Every thirty seconds, another U. S. teenager is infected. (Elkind 71) Sexual acting-out , which can not only be life-changing, but also life-threatening in this age of AIDS, can become an antidote to the loneliness and isolation many teenagers feel. Sexual activity is often used as an attempt to deal with feelings of depression, to increase self-esteem by feeling wanted and to achieve ntimacy. (McCoy 21) Approximately 3,000 teenage girls in the United States will get pregnant today. An estimated 3 million teenage girls become pregnant each year.

Beth is a shy, quiet eighth-grader who is expecting a baby in two months. Beth admits her pregnancy was intentional and she plans to keep her baby “because then I’ll have someone of my own who will love me for sure. I won’t be alone anymore. ” ” This illusion of unconditional love, coupled with a lack of insight into the unrelenting demands that the complete dependence of an infant brings leads a number of girls to seek pregnancy. Some teens see parenthood as a way to recapture the joy of childhood they are losing, a way to be loved and important to someone else, or as an antidote to depression. McCoy 81-82) “Suicide among teenagers has skyrocketed 200% in the last decade. If we were talking about mononucleosis or meningitis we’d call this an epidemic. ” (Solin 155)

Suicide has become the second leading cause of death among older teenagers. Adolescents are particularly at risk for suicide attempts because they progress through a variety of rapid developmental stages. The seriously depressed teen may often have a sense of hopelessness. Many teens are too immobilized by depression to see any alternatives or to take any positive steps toward change. Salmans 40) ”

All too often depressed teenagers don’t have the experience to know that time heals, that there is always hope. They don’t realize that they can survive a crisis and perhaps even learn from it. ” Life is often seen in absolutes which intensifies any crisis. (McCoy 64) The destructive potential of serious teenage depression can have many long-lasting aftereffects. Having and keeping a baby, getting into trouble with the law, sustaining a serious injury as the result of isk-taking behavior or stunting one’s emotional growth by anesthetizing painful feelings with drugs or alcohol can have a great impact on one’s future.

It can prevent a young adult from having a full, healthy, and productive life or make it considerably more difficult to do so. Depression is a growing problem amongst today’s teenagers. Depression brings with it many problems that can be self-destructive. If a teenager has the benefit of early intervention and help in coping with his or her depression, however, the life script can be quite different. (McCoy 66-67)

When does a child become an adult

In a time when children as young as 8 carry cell phones, and adults as old as 30 still live at home with mom and dad, it’s often tough to tell. One of the most common initiation into adulthood is the emergence into the after hours world of nightclubs. According to Kandel, This alluring world of dancing, alcohol, drugs, and sex, is tremendously tempting to young rebellious teens, and many others, wishing to find their own identity.

According to research there are many options, both positive and negative, available to youth through the club scene: popularity and acceptance from larger social groups, freedom of expression through dance, introduction to perceived forms of adult behavior, and is a gateway into the taboos of sex, drugs, and alcohol society. The purpose of this paper is to use Kandels model to analyze how socializing in the club scene influences behavior and choices youth make. The American idea of deviance has associated nightclubs as deviant establishments with gateways into other deviant behaviors.

The easily accessibility of drugs and alcohol, combined with myths and reckless behavior provide adolescents with a breeding ground for antisocial and criminal behavior. It is estimated that 7% of teens attend their first club as early as 11 years of age, with the overall age of first attendance at a nightclub, ranging from 13 to 15 years of age (Giddens, 1991). According to the National Drug Intelligence Center the club scene or what is described as the club scene takes place in what is defined as raves.

Raves are high-energy, all-night dances, which feature hard-pounding techno-music and flashing laser lights. Raves have increased in popularity among teens and young adults occurring in most metropolitan areas of the country. They can be either permanent dance clubs or commercially sponsored temporary weekend event. Temporary sites may be set up at various locations including abandoned warehouses, open fields, empty buildings, and civic centers. Raves are often promoted through flyers and advertisements distributed at clubs, record shops, clothing stores, on college campuses, and over the Internet.

Primarily, teens perceive entering the club scene as a way to launch their adult life. However, few tend to realize the consequences of their behavior (Kandel, 1998). Most current research has concluded negative outcomes from participation in the club scene. Using the theory of introduction to drugs and alcohol is the gateway for addictive personalities to thrive, combined with basic addiction theory; Dr. David Kandel purposed a sub-cultural model of causality describing the transgression through the club scene (Chart 1).

According to Kandel model there are 2 choices a person can make once they have entered the club scene. If a person chooses stage A, then a pattern of self-destructive behavior resulting in a) running away, or b) getting caught, is followed. If a person chooses stage B, then the pattern involves becoming an occasional party user. Kandels statistics suggest 2. 93 of 4 ravers (approximately 75%) choose choice B. However Kandel did suggest ties a limited number of ties from choice B to A.

The first stage of Kandels model describes attendance at raves in order to indulge in drugs and alcohol. It is estimated, by the DEA, that 13 million Americans are current drug users. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have indicated that there is a general trend to increase drug involvement through adolescence. The rates of initiation into cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana increase through age 18, and then decrease sharply. The frequency of use for different substances also shows increasing rates through adolescence (Kandel, 1998).

Studies have also found that use of various drugs shows a sequential pattern in adolescence whereby users progress from the use of one substance to another (Elliott, Huizinga, & Menard, 1989). According to the State of Hawaii-Department of Health, a much greater proportion of students are using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs on a monthly and daily basis than in previous years. It is estimated that 9. 8% of Hawaiis sixth to twelfth grade students need treatment for alcohol and/or drug abuse. Alcohol is still the most prevalent substance used by youth in Hawaii.

By grade six, 29. 8% have used; by eighth grade 54 % have used; and 75% of tenth and twelfth graders report the use of alcohol. Where lifetime prevalence rates for alcohol and various illicit drugs have generally stabilized over time, there is a drastic increase in reports of regular tobacco, alcohol, and other illicit drug use. Club drugs are used primarily by teens and young adults at raves. Raves have become key locations for club drug distribution. MDMA (a. k. a. Ecstasy, Ex, or E,) is one of the most popular club drugs.

Rave club owners and managers often sell items that are associated with MDMA abuse such as bottled water, pacifiers, menthol nasal inhalers, and glow sticks. “Ravers” drink water to offset dehydration and use pacifiers to prevent the grinding of teeth–two side effects of MDMA abuse. Menthol nasal inhalers and glow sticks are used to enhance the effects of MDMA because MDMA heightens sensory and light perception. According to the National Drug Intelligence Centers Hawaii Drug Threat Assessment in May 2002, MDMA abuse is increasing in Hawaii.

Also, the abuse of diverted pharmaceuticals such as OxyContin is increasing in Hawaii. As drug and alcohol abuse becomes more prevalent, Kandel describe the raver as transitioning into either Stage A or B. The entrance into Stage A signifies the transition from the introductory stage into the sustainment stage. The constant need to the fix becomes overwhelming to a point, where the subject will do anything he/she must to attain that fix. (Kandel 1998). As described, this is the stage where the criminal behavior tends to commence.

For women, Kandel initially suggest their solution, for money to provide for their addiction, is the occupations as prostitutes, with their pimps being their suppliers. For men, Kandel suggest they usually turn to stealing and illegally selling items for money. As many as one in 100 children in the United States ages 10 to 17 may be involved in the sex trade, through prostitution, stripping, lap dancing or pornography, according to a study released today that includes research done in Honolulu.

According to an article in the Star Bulletin, the age at which respondents first exchanged sex for money ranged from four to 50 years. About one third of the women entered prostitution before the age of 15, and 62% of the sample started in prostitution before their 18th birthdays. Side effects of the sex trade may include beatings or torture by pimps or customers, drug and alcohol abuse and use as mules to deliver drugs for organized crime (Burgess, 1986). For men, prostitution is usually out of the question. Kandel describe their criminal behavior as stealing and selling.

According to the DEA, crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) is the drug of choice in Hawaii, where it is readily available, with the majority of it converted into ice before distribution. In the past few years, ice-related crimes have increased as the drug has increased in popularity and availability. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center: Hawaii Drug Threat Assessment May 2002, the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program in revealed 38. 1% of adult males arrested from January September 2001 tested positive for meth abuse.

Furthermore, male and female arrestees in Honolulu tested positive for crystal-meth at a higher rate than for marijuana (29. 8%) and cocaine (11. 2%). As criminal activity increase Kandel suggest that 65% of teens engaging in parentally unacceptable criminal behavior, end up in the juvenile system, while 5% tend to become runaways. Three percent of American families have an adolescent run away from home each or approximately 1 out of 9 secondary school students may have a runaway history (Kandel, 1998). Approximately 12% of American youths run away at least once before the age of eighteen.

On any given night, there may be over a million adolescent runaways on the streets or “in the system” (Burgess, 1986). While Stage A consist of many various phases, Stage B consists of only one. While the majority (approx. 75%) of ravers fall into this category, few tend to stay there. Once the elements of any addition has been introduced, it is only a matter of time before they take root (Elliott, Huizinga, & Menard, 1989). Kendal fails to construe this aspect. Instead, he miss-constructs Stage B with emphasis on ties to social behavior including fear of punishment and standard growing-up.

If a child needs to be individualistic he/she could perhaps partake in minor forms of anti-social behavior. However, it is fear of unacceptance and punishment, which truly negotiates his/her behavior (Kandel, 1998). In conclusion, Kandel model of Causality is applicable, if one assumes a causal relationship between those factors. Kandels model gave a direct reaction to the causation of youth behavior from participation in the club scene. While national statistics for drug abuse and running away vary from state to state, Hawaiis statistics tends to be low among them.

However, one thing is clear, the anxiety of newborn independence, coupled with the exposure to exploitive deviant peers, high-risk behaviors, and physical victimization exacts an enormous psychological toll on the individual. While Kandels model encompasses multitudes of flaws, the effects conclude that if drugs are not available youth cannot use them, and the consequences of such use will not appear. Attempts to reduce the availability of drugs have not to date been very successful, as they run counter to the theory of supply and demand.

So more attention must also be paid to the demand side of the equation while continuing efforts directed at the reduction of supply. While Kandels complete model only represents a small portion of ravers choices, many still proceed through the first level and into the second without consequences. It is only once the drug addition is established, that the model is completed. The fast passed kayos the club scene portrays is just another way youth take on these qualities in hopes of breaking the mode of the normality.

Teenage parenthood

Marijuana (also spelled marihuana) is a psychoactive drug made from the dried leaves and flowering parts of the hemp plant. It is one of the most strictly classified illegal drugs in the United States. Under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I substance, which defines it as having “a high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use. ” Marijuana is therefore classified more severely than cocaine and morphine, which as Schedule II drugs are also banned for general use, but can be prescribed by doctors.

It is illegal to buy, sell, grow, or possess marijuana in the United States. Marijuana prohibition comprises a large part of the federal governments War on Drugs. Law enforcement officials made 600,000 marijuana-related arrests in 1996, and 800,000 in 1998-four out of five arrests being for possession alone. Under federal and state laws, many of which were strengthened in the 1980’s, people convicted of marijuana offenses face penalties ranging from probation to life imprisonment, plus fines and forfeiture of property.

In addition to criminal justice efforts, the federal government, state government, and local communities spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on prevention programs such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), in which local police officers visit schools to teach young people to refrain from trying marijuana and other drugs. However, public controversy has been growing over the two assumptions-high abuse potential and no legitimate medical use-that underlie marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug.

In turn, disputes over the abuse and medical potential have shaped differences of opinion over public policy. Many of those who question one or both of these assumptions about marijuana have advocated a full or partial relaxation of the governments blanket prohibition of the drug, while those who accept these assumptions generally are opposed to any full or partial legalization of marijuana. Supporters of marijuana’s continued prohibition argue that the drug is easily abused and can lead to numerous physical and psychological harms.

Short-term health effects-according to the NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse)-of the drug listed in this paper include memory loss, distorted perception, problems with learning and coordination, an increased heart rate, and anxiety attacks. Long-term effects according to NIDA-include increased risk of lung cancer for chronic marijuana smokers and possible damage to the immune and reproductive systems. In addition, marijuana opponents argue that many users attain a psychological dependence on the “high” that marijuana can create.

Such dependence can result in stunned emotional and social maturity as these users lose interest in school, job, and social activities. About 100,000 people each year resort to drug abuse treatment programs to end their marijuana addiction. Marijuana is also viewed by some commentators as a “gateway” drug that can lead to the abuse of other dangerous and illegal substances, including cocaine and heroinOn the other hand, critics of U. S marijuana policy argue that the dangers of marijuana have been exaggerated.

They contend that many, not most, users of marijuana suffer no lasting harm, do not move onto other drugs, ad do not become addicts. Some surveys on marijuana use in America have shown that nine out of ten people who have tried marijuana have since quit. Researchers working with rats have found that marijuana is a far less addictive substance for the animals than cocaine or heroin Pro-Legalization activist R. Keith Stroup summed up the views of many who oppose marijuana prohibition when he asserted before a committee that “moderate marijuana use is relatively harmless-far less harmless than that of either tobacco or alcohol. Whether or not marijuana, as a Schedule I drug, truly has “no currently accepted medical use” is also a matter of public controversy. In November 1996, voters in two states, California and Arizona, passed referenda that legalized marijuana for medical use (these developments and the actions of other states have no impact on marijuana’s status as an illegal Schedule I drug). Supporters of the California and Arizona initiatives maintain that marijuana is effective in alleviating the symptoms of medical conditions such as AIDS, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis.

Anecdotal evidence of marijuana’s efficacy, advocates claim, comes from AIDS patients who have used marijuana to restore a appetite and cancer patients who have smoked it to combat nausea caused by chemotherapy treatments-often as a last resort when legally prescribed medicines failed. Those who contend that marijuana has useful medical purposes call for the government to at least reclassify the drug as a Schedule II substance that can be prescribed by doctors.

As stated by Lester Grinspoon, a Harvard University psychiatrist, marijuana’s continued prohibition as a Schedule I substance “is medically absurd, legally questionable, and morally wrong. ” The California and Arizona referenda legalizing medical marijuana were strongly opposed by prominent federal government officials, including the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Barry McCaffrey, who criticized the measures as being “dishonest” and asserted that marijuana “is neither safe or effective” as medicine.

Opponents argue that the very concept of medical marijuana is absurd because it is not, like most modern medicines, a synthesized chemical whose composition can be precisely manufactured and controlled. Instead, it is taken from a plant and consists of four hundred chemicals whose exact composition varies with each “dose”. Furthermore, they assert, marijuana’s claimed medical effectiveness by clinical trials. Marijuana’s psychoactive properties may make people feel better, contends Robert L. Peterson, a former Michigan drug enforcement official, but that “does not make a drug a medicine. Marijuana opponents maintain that better legal medical alternatives to marijuana exist-including Marinol, a pill available by a physicians prescription that contains THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana. An additional concern voiced by many is that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes would send the wrong message to America’s youth.

“At a time when our nation is looking for solutions to the problem of teenage drug use,” asks Thomas A. Constantine, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, “how can we justify giving a stamp of approval to an illegal substance which has no legitimate medical use? Whether or not marijuana’s possible medical advantages outweigh its potential harm is a central question in current debates about this controversial drug. This paper presents various opinions and viewpoints of marijuana and its uses, as well as information on its history and genetic make-up. The marijuana, cannabis, or hemp plant is one of the oldest psychoactive plants known to mankind. There are three classifications or species of cannabis: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.

The fiber has been used for cloth and paper and was the most important source of rope until the development of synthetic fibers. The seeds have been used as bird feed and sometimes as human food. The oil contained in the seeds was once used for lighting and soap and is now sometimes employed in the manufacture of varnish, linoleum, and artists’ paints. The chemical compound responsible for the intoxicating and medicinal effects are found mainly in a sticky golden resin exuded from the flowers on the female plants.

The marijuana plant contains more than 460 known compounds of which more than 60 have the 21-carbon structure typical of cannabinoids. The only cannabinoid that is both highly psychoactive and present in large amounts, usually 1-5 % in weight, is (-)3,4-trans-delta-1-tetrahydrocannabinol, also know as delta-1-THC, delta-9-THC or simply THC. A few other tetrahydrocannabinols are about as potent as delta-9-THC but are present in only a few varieties of cannabis and in much smaller quantities. A native of central Asia, cannabis may have been cultivated as much as ten thousand years ago.

It was certainly cultivated in China by 4000 B. C. and in Turkestan by 3000 B. C. It has long since been used as a medicine in China, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and India for malaria, constipation, rheumatic pins, “absent-mindedness”, and “female problems”, to quicken the mind, to induce sleep, dysentery and fevers. The medical use of cannabis was already in decline by 1890. The potency of cannabis preparations was to variant, and individual responses to orally ingested cannabis seemed erratic and unpredictable.

Another reason for the neglect of research oh the analgesic properties of cannabis was that the greatly increased use of opiates after the invention of the hypodermic syringe in the 1850’s allowed soluble drugs to be injected for fast relief of pain; hemp products are insoluble in water and cannot be administered so easily by injection. Toward the end of the twentieth century, the development of synthetic drugs such as aspirin, chloral hydrate, and barbiturates, which are chemically more stable than cannabis indica and therefore more reliable, hastened the decline of cannabis as a medicine.

But the new drugs had severe disadvantages. More than a thousand people died from aspirin-induced bleeding each year in the United States, and barbiturates are, of course, more dangerous. One may have expected physicians looking for a better analgesic to turn to cannabinoid substances, especially after 1940, when it became possible to study congeners (chemical relatives) of THC that might have more stable and specific effects. But the Marijuana Tax Law of 1937 undermined any such experimentation.

This law was the culmination of a campaign organized by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics under Harry Anslinger in which the public was led to believe that marijuana was addictive and its use led to violent crimes, psychosis, and mental deterioration. The film Reefer Madness, made as a part of Anslinger’s campaign, may be a joke to the sophisticated today, but it was once regarded as a serious attempt to address a social problem, and the atmosphere and attitudes it exemplified and promoted continue to influence our culture today.

Under the Marijuana Tax Law Act, anyone using the hemp plant for certain defined industrial or medical use was required to register and pay a tax of a dollar an ounce. A person using marijuana for any other purpose had to pay $100 an ounce. The law was not directly aimed at medicinal use of marijuana; it was aimed at the recreational use of marijuana. By the 1960’s, as larger numbers of people began to use marijuana recreationally, anecdotes about its medical use began to appear, generally not in medical literature, but in the form of letters to popular magazines like Playboy.

Meanwhile, legislative concern about recreational use increased, and in 1970 Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act (also known as the Controlled Substances Act), which assigned psychoactive drugs to five Schedules and placed cannabis in Schedule I, the most restrictive. NORML petitioned this placement in 1972, asking that it be moved to Schedule II, therefore enabling it to be prescribed by physicians.

Congress compromised 13 years later by placing synthetic delta-9-THC (dronabinol) as a Schedule II drug in 1985, but kept marijuana itself-and the THC derived from marijuana-in Schedule I. “Marijuana can be harmful when abused, and its use by minors should be discouraged. However, when used in moderation and responsibly, marijuana is far less harmful than tobacco or alcohol. It’s continued criminal prohibition by the government is a wasteful and destructive social policy that results in the needless arrests of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

Marijuana should be legalized or decriminalized. At the very least, it should be made available by medical prescription for patients who need it to alleviate suffering. ” -R. Keith Stroup, founder of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) Since 1970, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has been a voice for Americans who believe it is both counter-productive and unjust to treat marijuana smokers as criminals. “We do not suggest that marijuana is totally harmless or that it cannot be abused.

That is true for all drugs, including those which are legal. We do not believe that moderate marijuana use is relatively harmless-far less harmful to the user than either tobacco or alcohol, for example-and that any risk presented by marijuana smoking falls well within the ambit of choice we permit the individual in a free society. Today, far more harm is caused by marijuana prohibition than by marihuana itself. It’s time we put to rest the myth that smoking marijuana is a fringe or deviant activity, engaged in only by those on the margins of American society.

In reality, marijuana smoking is extremely common, and marijuana is the recreational drug of choice for millions of mainstream, middle-class Americans. According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) data, between 65 and 71 million Americans have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives, and 10 million are current smokers (have smoked as at least once in the last month. ) In fact, NIDA found that 61% of all illicit drug users report that marijuana is the only drug they have ever tried; this figure is raised to 80% if hashish is included (a marijuana derivative. )

At NORML, we believe that marijuana smokers, like those who drink alcohol, have a responsibility to behave appropriately and to assure that their recreational drug is conducted in a responsible manner. Neither marijuana nor alcohol consumption is ever an excuse for misconduct of any kind, and both smokers and drinkers must be held to the same standard as all Americans. NORML Board of Directors in February 1996 issued the following statement that defines how any responsible marijuana smoker should act: ? I. ADULTS ONLY Cannabis consumption is for adults only. It is irresponsible to provide cannabis to children II. NO DRIVING The responsible cannabis user does not operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery impaired by cannabis, nor (like other responsible citizens) impaired by any other substance or condition, including some medicines and fatigue. ? III. SET AND SETTING The responsible cannabis user will carefully consider his/her set and setting, regulating use accordingly. ? IV. RESIST ABUSE Use of cannabis, to the extent that it impairs health, personal development or achievement, is abuse, to be resisted by responsible cannabis users. ? V. RESPECT RIGHTS OF OTHERS

The responsible cannabis user does not violate the rights of others, observes accepted standards of courtesy and public property, and respects preferences of those who wish to avoids cannabis entirely. ” -Testimony of R. Keith Stroup on behalf of NORML before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Judiciary Committee, U. S. House of Representatives, on March 6, 1996 In November 1996, the people of California approved proposition 215, an initiative that could, in effect, make marijuana legally available as a medicine in the United States for the first time in many years.

Under this new law, patients or their primary caregivers that possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician are exempted from criminal prosecution. The treatment may be for “cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief. ” Physicians may not be penalized in any way for recommendation, which may be either written or oral.

The passage of this law is only the beginning of a trend that presents new challenges for physicians, who will be asked to assume responsibilities for which many have not prepared themselves. As more and more patients approach them with questions about marijuana, they will have to provide answers and make recommendations. That means they must not only listen more carefully to their patients but also educate themselves and one another. They will have to learn which symptoms and disorders may be treated better with marijuana than with conventional medications, and they may need to explain how to use marijuana.

Cannabis is a strikingly safe, versatile and potentially inexpensive medicine. When reviewing its medical uses in 1993 after examining many patients and case histories, the following are those diseases, disorders, and pains that were immensely helped by marijuana: nausea and vomiting in cancer chemotherapy, the weight loss syndrome of AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy, muscle spasms and chronic pain in multiple sclerosis, quadriplegia, and other spastic disorders, migraine, severe pruritus, depression, and other mood disorders.

Since then, a dozen more have been identified, including asthma, insomnia, dystonia, scleroderma, Crohn’s disease, diabetic gastroparesis, and terminal illness. For example, cannabis has also been found useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Aspirin is believed to have caused more than 1,000 deaths annually in the United States. More than 7,600 annual deaths and 70,000 hospitalizations caused by non-steriodal ant-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are reported. Gastrointestinal complications of NSAIDs are the most commonly reported serious adverse drug reaction.

Long term acetaminophen use is thought to be one of the most common causes of end-stage renal disease. Cannabis smoked several times a day is often as effective as NSAIDs or acetaminophens in osteoarthritis, and there have been no reports of death from cannabis. It is often objected that the evidence of marijuana’s medical usefulness, although powerful, is merely anecdotal. It is true that there are no studies meeting the standards of the Food and Drug Administration, chiefly because legal, bureaucratic, and financial obstacles are constantly put in the way.

The situation is ironical, since so much research has been done on marijuana, often in unsuccessful efforts to show health hazards and addictive potential, that we know more about it than about most prescription drugs. In any case, controlled studies can be misleading if the wrong patients are studies or the wrong doses are used, and idiosyncratic therapeutic responses can be obscured in group experiments. The chief legitimate concern is the effect of smoking on the lungs. Many physicians find it difficult to endorse a smoked medicine.

Although cannabis smoke carries even more tabs and other particulate matter than tobacco smoke, the amount needed by most patients is extremely limited. Furthermore, when marijuana is an openly recognized medicine, solutions for this problem may be found, perhaps by the development of a technique for inhaling cannabinoid vapors. Even today, the greatest danger of using marijuana is not impurities in the smoke, but illegality, which imposes much unnecessary anxiety and expense on suffering people.

A synthetic version of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active substance in cannabis, has been available in oral form for limited purposes as a Schedule II drug since 1985. Both patients generally regard this medicine, dronabinol (Marinol), and physicians as less effective than smoked marijuana. A patient who is severely nauseated and constantly vomiting, for example, may find it almost impossible to keep a pill or capsule down. Oral THC is erratically and slowly absorbed into the bloodstream; the dose and duration of action of smoked marijuana are easier to titrate.

Furthermore, oral THC occasionally makes many patients anxious and uncomfortable, possibly because of cannabidiol, one of the many substances in marijuana, has an anxiolytic effect. Besides their direct responsibility to individual patients with respect to medical marijuana, physicians have another obligation that is social and ultimately political. Jerome P. Kaiser has identified it in his recent New England Journal of Medicine editorial entitled “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana. He describes the governments policies on medical marijuana as “hypocritical” and predicts that physicians who “have the courage to challenge the continued prescription of marijuana for the sick” will eventually force the government to reach some sort of accommodation. That important task will inevitably fall to the younger generation of doctors, including present and future medical students. “Marijuana’s claimed healing power with regards to glaucoma, cancer, and pain relief have not been proven by scientific studies. Because of its damaging effects to the brain and lungs, marijuana should be considered a health hazard, not a medicine.

The media should fully inform the public about the dangers of smoking marijuana. ” -Dr. Paul Leithbert, substance abuse specialist. There has been more extensive research on marijuana over the past 40 years than on any other substance. Cannabinoids from a single marijuana cigarette deposit in the fatty tissue of the body (brain, testes, ovaries, etc. ) and remain there for three to four weeks. Repeated use of the drug produces THC storage in these vital organs for months. By contrast, when alcohol is consumed it is metabolized in a few hours.

Contrary to the arguments of its advocates, marijuana is physically and psychologically addictive. Additionally, when a user stops he experiences withdrawal symptoms. Also, myriads of psychological symptoms develop as use becomes chronic. When a joint is inhaled, over 2,000 noxious chemicals invade the lungs. Users typically “toke”, holding the smoke in their lungs to enhance the absorption of THC. This produces more rapid lung damage than smoking tobacco. Marijuana and tobacco share the same chemical compounds (except for the cannabinoids), but somehow cigarettes are deemed the more deadly, while pot is touted as a medical necessity.

The high from pot has been described by its users as a euphoria, a pleasant, relaxed escape that causes one to become self-absorbed and to pay less attention to his surroundings. The anticipations of these sensations is the major reason for use. And with repeated use, one’s ability to think becomes dulled, concentration is more difficult, and pathological thinking develops. The ability to perform tasks-especially new ones-diminishes, the memory becomes impaired, the sense of time is altered, and an inertia or lack of motivation develops. In many users, an antimotivational syndrome sets in.

Chronic users often develop such problems as emotional instability, difficulty in absorbing and integrating new information, and decreased work performance. As the brain’s “pleasure center” becomes exhausted, users have difficulty in experiencing pleasure and often put forth less effort to socialize. Users go from a sense of suspiciousness to a full-blown paranoia-and, eventually, to total “burnout. ” In spite of the documented side effects associated with marijuana use, it has nonetheless been promoted as useful in the treatment of an amazing variety of ailments.

Unfortunately, the truth about marijuana’s effectiveness in treating physical maladies is completely overblown: ? Glaucoma. Proponents claim pot smoking lowers the pressure in the eyes of glaucoma patients. A small pressure drop does occur in some patients when marijuana is used two to four hours around the clock. This would mean, of course, that the user would be constantly stoned. In many users the pressure increases, however, and recent research indicates that marijuana users have a decreased circulation to the optic nerve-a serious problem.

Also, there have been medications available for years that are as effective as marijuana and that have minimal side effects. ? Cancer. Marijuana is advocated to fight nausea in patients receiving intensive chemotherapy. But it is really no better than the many safer anti-nauseates available. Also marijuana has been found to damage the immune-system, which is important in fighting cancer and other serious ailments like AIDS, infection, etc. ? Pain. Marijuana is not an analgesic. For example, users frequently have toothaches which are not relieved with their marijuana smoking; they require the standard pain killers.

Marijuana is not helpful in fighting other kinds of pain either. In short, all the “medical uses” for marijuana, including asthma, seizures, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, etc. , are really just excuses to get high. Some users may be under the delusion they are being helped, but marijuana users typically smoke for the THC while still taking the standard medications for their disease. Synthetic delta-9THC (Marinol) is available by prescription for some conditions and is effective. Marijuana users say they prefer the side effects from cannabis to the side effects of prescription drugs, however.

In essence, then, rather than being a medicine, marijuana is a health hazard. Who would call a drug “recreational” if they realized that chronic use caused permanent brain damage? Marijuana use is never cited by proponents as a factor in high school dropout and failure rates, as well as the increase in promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases. Such is the case, however. Another area they ignore is the dramatic effect cannabis has on the ability for one to drive a car safely. Not only is the driver impaired in major ways while high, but for hours after the high wears off.

Why are these important facts not better understood by the public? For more than 35 years the media have suppressed information on cannabis. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published an annual report on “Marijuana and Health” for many years-each issue cataloguing the increasing THC content of the weed and the dramatic research findings on damage to the users body. These reports have been ignored by the media, although all levels of media outlets were supplied with NIDA findings. In 1971 the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was founded.

It soon became a highly organized and influential body. There are 80,000 members in many larger cities. NORML conducts seminars to train lawyers in defending users and pushers when they are arrested. The hearings in state houses across the country are highly choreographed by these lawyers. They often call in NORML’s national advisors-Lester Grinspoon, MD and Thomas Ungerleider, MD-for the hearings. For many years these two psychiatrists have been major activists in the marijuana war. Dr. Grinspoon declares that marijuana is a “wonderful medicine” and finds it useful for almost everyday malady.

Users who have major medical problems are featured witnesses at hearings. These patients declare that they would be dead except for their marijuana. The media (especially TV) featured these experts and patients, usually ignoring the testimony of legitimate medical experts. If marijuana is legalized there are billions of dollars to be made by the unscrupulous. Billionaire financier George Soros, who admits to having experimented with cannabis, gave a million dollars for the California and Arizona pro-pot initiatives. The FDA issues narcotic licenses to physicians.

Under license guidelines, Schedule I substances “ have no accepted medical use…and have a high abuse potential. ” Included in this category are heroin, marijuana, and LSD. Any physicians, however, can receive marijuana for use in legitimate medical research. But marijuana users want free access to the drug. For the more, the Psychotropic Convention Treaty of 1971 classifies marijuana as Schedule I drug. The U. S. is on of the 74 nations that have accepted the treaty. A fascinating article, “ The Return of Pot,” by Hannah Rueban, appeared in the February 17, 1997 issue if The New Republic.

A visit by Reuban to San Francisco’s Cannabis Cultivators Club demonstrated the total absurdity of state-sanctioned use of marijuana. Reuban stated, “ it’s as if the rotting of the late ‘60s San Francisco described by Joan Didion in Slouching Toward Bethlehem has been preserved in reverse; the characters are the same, but the center was holding. ” Reuban recounted the lives of the burnt out beings that frequent the clubs and made it obvious that “medical marijuana” is the red herring that NORML plotted.

The article should be must reading for state legislature facing the issue of legalizing “medical marijuana. ” The views shared by many critics of marijuana is: Using marijuana for illness would be like prescribing moldy bread (containing penicillin) for phenomena or suggesting cigarette smoking for weight loss. Prescribing marijuana for any medical condition is totally irresponsible. Some doctors do and are either nave about the damage marijuana causes or perhaps are users themselves.

Substance Use and Abuse Among Children and Teenagers

During the past several years, there has been a renewed national concern about drug abuse, culminating in the current “war on drugs. ” In this review, we emphasize that even though child or teenage drug use is an individual behavior, it is embedded in a sociocultural context that strongly determines its character and manifestations. Our focus is on psychoactive substances both licit (cigarettes and alcohol) and illicit (e. g. , cannabis and cocaine).

We feel that it is critical to draw a distinction between use and abuse of drugs and to do so from a multidimensional perspective that includes aspects of the stimulus (drug), organism (individual), response, and consequences. Our selective review of substance use and abuse among children and adolescents covers epidemiology (patterns and extent of drug use), etiology (what generates substance use), prevention (how to limit drug use), treatment (interventions with drug users), and consequences (effects and outcomes of youthful drug use).

In this abbreviated review, we selectively examine the recent literature and current status of substance use and abuse among children and adolescents. Our focus is on psychoactive substances both licit and illicit, including cigarettes, alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and other drugs. We examine the use and abuse of substances by children and teenagers from five perspectives: epidemiology, etiology, prevention, treatment, and consequences (see Rogers, 1987 , for additional overviews and references).

The United States is a drug culture. Drugs are used commonly and acceptably to wake up in the morning (coffee or tea), get through the stresses of the day (cigarettes), and relax in the evening (alcohol). The Marlboro Man and the Virginia Slims woman are widely seen models, and licit drugs are pushed to remedy all of the ills one may facestress, headaches, depression, physical illness, and so on. Children face a monumental task of sorting out the many images and messages regarding both licit and illicit drugs.

Adolescents are quite adept at spotting hypocrisy and may have difficulty understanding a policy of “saying no to drugs” when suggested by a society that clearly says “yes” to the smorgasbord of drugs that are legal as well as the range of illicit drugs that are widely available and used. A few words are in order on the distinction between use and abuse of drugs. This differentiation is critical to such diverse topics as societal justification for limiting access to drugs (whether By legal or other means) or for considering psychological intervention.

This distinction has been a difficult one to determine. Accepted definitions among professionals or citizens do not exist because abuse is clearly a multidimensional phenomenon. From our study of this literature (e. g. , Long & Scheli, 1984 ), negative reactions and other adverse consequences to self, others, or property form the backbone for defining abuse, although several distinct but related dimensions are also critical.

Taken together, these dimensions present a comprehensive appreciation of the difference between what constitutes benign use of a drug and what is clearly abuse and destructive use of a substance. The major relevant dimensions include the classic concepts of stimulus, organism, response, and consequences. Stimulus involves the nature of the drug and the context of its use ( Newcomb, 1988 ). All drug use occurs in environmental contexts, some of which are problematic, holding constant all other dimensions, while some are not so.

Ingestion of drugs in inappropriate settings such as the workplace, classroom, driver’s seat, or in isolation can be considered abuse, even though some potential consequences may not have occurred yet for an individual (e. g. , a crash after drinking and driving or being fired from a job). Different substances have different physiological and psychological effects, doseresponse curves, and potentials for negative consequences. For each substance, consuming large quantities or intermediate quantities over prolonged time periods is probably abuse, again because of the potential for harm.

Holding everything else constant, abuse depends on the organism. Not all individuals respond the same way to drugs; nor does the same individuals respond the same way at different times in the life course. Regular use of drugs at developmentally critical life periods such as when an individual is very young or has not yet reached puberty can be considered abuse because of the potential for interfering with crucial growth and adjustment tasks.

Ability to deal maturely with the challenge of drug use depends on personal resources, as well as physiological parameters that determine the response to drug ingestion. Unhealthy attitudes toward use, such as to flaunt independence, are signs of abuse. Inability to evaluate adequately the known potential consequences of use may indicate inadequate organismic resources to deal with use: For example, choosing to use drugs such as crack, phencyclidine (PCP), or strychnine, which are known to have a high probability of dependence, death, toxicity, or other adverse effects, is more than likely abuse.

Stronger response signs of abuse may involve drug dependence when associated with using increased amounts of the substance to achieve the same effect, needing it to get through the day, being unable to stop using it, craving it when not available, showing withdrawal symptoms, and experiencing negative consequences (as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition-Revised) , American Psychiatric Association, 1987 ).

Finally, adverse or negative consequences of use on self, others, or property, such as having deleterious health sequelae, impaired relationships, getting arrested, causing an accident, blacking out, or starting fights, indicate that use has progressed to abuse, whether or not physical dependence is involved. With this multidimensional perspective for distinguishing use from abuse, some general descriptions can be applied to children and teenagers. Any regular use of a psychoactive drug by a child can be considered abuse.

This is true regardless of the context, substance, quantity, maturity, reaction, or obvious consequences involved. It is difficult to imagine any type of child drug use that is not abuse, except for, in our society, the occasional, irregular, and low-quantity sampling of alcohol in a positive social context. This type of guided experimentation is probably quite prevalent (e. g. , taking a sip of mother’s beer). For adolescents, however, the distinction becomes more complicated. Occasional use of beer, wine, or marijuana at a party is not abuse.

However, overindulgence of any substance to the point of being very high or stoned is at least acute or temporary abuse, and if it continues this is chronic abuse. Getting into trouble at school, having problems with the police, causing an accident, or starting a fight while high is consequential evidence for abuse. Getting loaded in the classroom or at work is a circumstantial event indicating abuse. Donovan and Jessor (1985) have combined some of these dimensions to define a problem-drinking teenager as one who engages in heavy drinking on a regular basis, resulting in negative outcomes.

Our perspective on use and abuse questions the generally accepted emphasis on illicit drugs as an especially important focus for professional and citizen attention. Within the past several years, there has been renewed national interest and commitment toward dealing with drug problems. It is difficult to determine what has caused this most recent concern, but such national attention is not new. There is a cyclical process to society’s willingness to face drug problems.

For example, there were the cocaine patent medicines of the early 1900s, the brave attempt at prohibition, reefer madness of the 1930s, the drug cultures of the 1960s, the heroin war of the 1970s, and now the current concern about people getting high on cocaine and killing themselves with crack. It is interesting that aside from the lethal toxicity of certain drugs such as crack, relatively little attention has been given to the two drugs with the most proven record of abuse in terms of the population affected and the magnitude of the consequences; these are, of course, alcohol and cigarettes.

Although efforts are made, in schools, for example, to provide a balanced picture, youngsters too often are provided with the mixed message that marijuana and cocaine are bad, destructive, and will rot their brains while seeing media idols holding a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Perhaps this is one explanation of why so many prevention efforts have failed. Substance use and abuse during adolescence are strongly associated with other problem behaviors such as delinquency, precocious sexual behavior, deviant attitudes, or school dropout.

Any focus on drug use or abuse to the exclusion of such correlates, whether antecedent, contemporaneous, or consequent, distorts the phenomenon by focusing on only one aspect or component of a general pattern or syndrome. Epidemiology Despite occasional dramatic case reports of involvement with drugs by grade school children, the prevalence and incidence of a significant amount of drug use in the first decade of life have not been reliably documented. Systematic research on adolescent abuse is almost as rare, no doubt because of the relatively low prevalence of the phenomenon.

Because of availability, experimental use of tobacco products has the widest prevalence during preadolescence. A substantial portion of children at least experiment with puffing cigarettes by age nine, and in a new and disturbing trend, a small but significant portion (13% of third-grade boys in one Oklahoma survey) use smokeless tobacco. A child’s first drink lags somewhat, occurring typically around age 12 for boys and a bit later for girls. Although age data are difficult to obtain, inhalants may have been used by this age, remarkable primarily as a first consciousness-altering substance used by children.

Only regarding early adolescence are reliable U. S. national prevalence figures available through surveys sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The triannual National Household Survey of Drug Abuse permits estimates to be made for 12- to 17-year-olds, and the annual Monitoring the Future survey of high school seniors provides estimates for the approximately 8085% of students who are in school (such estimates are attenuated because of the higher rates of use among dropouts).

Both surveys provide data on lifetime, annual, and monthly prevalence of a wide variety of drugs, and the high school senior survey also provides data on daily use that may provide suggestions on drug abuse. Prevalence figures from the 1985 National Household Survey ( NIDA, 1987 ) show that smoking (45%) and drinking (56%) are the most prevalent activities in the early adolescent age group.

However, nearly 30% had tried at least one illicit drug or controlled substance without medical orders during their lives. The primary drug in this category was marijuana (used by 24% of the teenagers). In contrast, use of any one drug other than alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana was low. For example, inhalants (9%), analgesics (6%), and stimulants (6%), were more prevalent than cocaine (5%), the current national drug of concern. Any use of heroin by this age group was too low to be presented

Teen Violence is a big dilemma in todays society

Teen Violence is a big dilemma in todays society. Violent behaviors usually start from family and peers, as well as teens observing it at there neighborhoods or communities. These behaviors are reinforced by what youth see on television, on the Internet, in video games, movies, music videos, and what they hear in their music. When children are disciplined with severe corporal punishment or verbal abuse, or when they are physically or sexually abused, or when they witness such behavior in their home, it is not surprising that they behave violently toward others.

Teen Violence has had such an impact in our youth today that it leads many destructive things and thats why we have so much violence today. Violence hits hard on teens today and they become very depressed which leads them to drugs and alcohol. When they are under the influence they then can do things that are much worst such as bringing a gun or knife to school or even being in a gang which puts them and every other teen in danger.

Gang violence has also become a big concern, teens are either forced to shoot, beat , or There has been a lot of factors linked to child aggression. One of biggest factors is children playing violent video games. Although video games are commonly used by children there can be negative effects when introduced to violent video games. Recent studies have shown a correlation between violent video games and the behavior of young children.

Violent video games influence children’s behavior because their attitudes become more aggressive, the availability of violent games has become very easy for children , and with the help of technology the graphics of the video games make the game look identical to real life. This phase is always noted to have a calm and apologetic demeanor, in which the individual partners tend to go through denial about the abuse, coming up excuses and making promises of better behavior in the future.

It is important to know how professionals identify and define violence in teen dating, however it is just as important to understand how the teens themselves view the abuse in their relationships. Research shows that some teens define abuse according to the intention and actual harm that is caused, in the same research individuals have reported that they take into consideration whether the act was a result of their partner joking around or a demonstration of their love

Teenage Suicide

Thesis: I intend to inform those who read my report about the subject teenage suicide. What really is the definition of suicide? Suicide is a Latin word that means self killing. Suicides also means the taking of one’s own life in a deliberate manner. Suicide may be compulsory, usually as an alternative to death at the hands of others. Or, it is thought to be committed for personal motives; depending on the time and place, it can be thought of as a heroic deed or it can be condemned by religious and civil authorities(Columbia).

Why do teenagers commit suicide? According to this poem written by a teenage suicide victim it is because he is in pain. I find myself deep in a hole of sorrow. Too far to bother, Too far to try, Too far to get out. So I just wait here and die. (Hunter) Why are teenagers in pain? “There are too many problems for the modern teenager to deal with. Growing up as a teen today is ten times more difficult than it was just five years ago. As our society ‘progresses’…. more and more responsibility is being placed on teens.

We have become a very selfish society, and this causes pressure on the weakest link of our society…. the teens (DeKonty). ” Teens are also in pain because of the growing separation between parents and their children. “Twenty five years ago, the ‘in’ thing to do was to live your life for your kids. Now… the ‘in’ thing to do is balance a job and become successful while bringing up your kids. If we are not careful about this trend… soon kids will be a bother rather than a joy. This mentality has caused the teens of today to feel that they need to share their time with their parent’s job or jobs.

They for the most part, are not comfortable sharing their problems with their parents. The largest number of teenage suicides are in the upper class homes where there is so much pressure to preform and no outlet to discuss their problems (DeKonty). ” When teens cannot discuss their problems with their parents, they will turn to other teens for help. But what happens to the highly sensitive information that they do not feel they can trust their friends with? They hold it all inside until they feel that the only way to get rid of the pain is to commit suicide.

Are gay teenagers at a higher risk? According to a survey did at a Minnesota public school Gay/bisexual males are 24 percent more likely to commit suicide than straight males. Also Gay/bisexual females are 6 percent more likely to commit suicide than straight females. Gay children are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide then straight kids (Sadasivan and Hanson). So why are gay teenagers at a higher risk? “Teenage boys are more susceptible to antigay peer pressure than girls. The issue of gender nonconformity is much more of a factor with boys.

In society, sissy boys are viewed differently than tomboy girls (Remafedi). ” Gay children may be unhappy or conflicted. Friends and peers of gay children may harass, reject or even try to hurt them once they learn the truth (Sadasivan and Hanson). How do they commit suicide? The most common method used to commit suicide would be the firearm. 83 percent of suicides involving firearms happen in the home. Less than10 percent of people who commit suicide buy a gun with the specific intent of killing themselves. Death by firearms is the fastest growing method of suicide.

Firearms are actually used in more suicides than in homicide cases, also states with stricter gun control laws have lower rates of suicide. Other methods of suicide are ingestions, hanging, asphyxiation, and jumping(Shaffer). Saturday and Monday are the most common suicide days. Alaska and Nevada have the highest suicide rates(Suicide). The most renown suicide attempt area is the Golden Gate bridge. Harold Wobber’s suicide in August 1937 was the first documented suicide from the Golden Gate bridge. Since then more than twelve hundred are known to have jumped to their deaths from the suspension bridge.

Many experts believe that more then twice that number have jumped , but their bodies were swept away by the cold currents. There are two other leading suicide icons, the Empire State Building which has thirty one deaths and the Eiffel Tower which has more than three hundred and eighty(Allen). How do you tell if someone is suicidal? Some of the risk factors are previous attempts, psychiatric history, personal failure, recent loss of close friend etc. ,substance abuse, family handguns, family violence, and lack of communication(Risk).

After a teen has attempted suicide they still remain vulnerable for several years, especially for the first three months following the attempt. A death of close friends or family, divorce, or a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend are particularly hard on teens in that they may leave a teen so lost and alone that suicide seems the only option. Another tough problem is substance abuse, some teens abuse drugs or alcohol to self-medicate overwhelming depression; a combination of depression, substance abuse, and lowered impulse control can end in a suicide attempt. Family handguns is another dangerous one.

A gun in the house may make it easy for a troubled teen to commit suicide; children of law-enforcement officers have a much higher rate of suicide because of the accessibility of guns(Risk). Some of the misleading facts and beliefs that suicidal teen believe are: I am not worthy of love because people do not always behave lovingly toward me. It is my responsibility alone to solve all the problems of my family and my friends. Everyone must like me. I must be perfect in everything I do, and I must not fail at anything. I will only fall in love once. If I ever share my problems, people will laugh at me.

I must be mentally ill, if I feel sad or depressed. These feelings of depression will last forever, and if I feel this way, I must be abnormal. If things do not turn out right for me, I might as well give up. I have no control over my life. It is easier to run away from problems than to confront them. My life seems hopeless. It will never get better(Adolescent). Because teens feel this way and think this way they lose all hope and go deeper into depression and the sad dark little world that depression builds around it’s victims. Even so there are more misconceptions that non-suicidal people think like:

People who talk about suicide really won’t do it. That is not true. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Anyone who tries to kill him or herself must be crazy. Not true. They are upset, grief-stricken or depressed, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness. If a person is determined to die, nothing is going to stop him or her. Not true. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die.

Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop and see no other way to make that happen. The impulse to end it all may be overpowering but does not last forever. People who commit suicide are unwilling to seek help. Not true. Studies show that more than half of those who committed suicide had sought medical help in the previous six months. Talking about suicide may give someone the idea to do it. Not true. You don’t give a suicidal person unhealthy ideas by talking about suicide. Bringing up the subject and discussing it openly can be a powerful prevention tool(Myths). The tragedy of adolescent suicide is that it is preventable. These young people end their lives before they even have a chance to identify other options for solving their problems. The devastation to the families and friends of these children is staggering (Dr. Scott Williams). ” How do you prevent teenage suicide? Suicide prevention includes addressing these issues; the link between substance abuse and suicide, victimization and suicidal behavior, availability of firearms, and depression and suicide attempts(Utah). Some possible prevention strategies are: 1.

Crisis services, but one problem with this is that they lack efficiency, teens don’t use them. Another possible strategy is Educational approaches. There has been a considerable increase in the provision of suicide prevention programs for United States high school students. Most programs provide curricula directly to highs school students. Some of their goals are to increase awareness of the problem. To provide knowledge about the behavioral characteristic (“warning signs”) of teens at risk for suicide, and to describe available treatment or counseling resources.

Few programs subscribe to a model of suicide as a product or mental illness. Most assume that suicide follows common environmental stresses and that all teens share a potential vulnerability to suicide(Shaffer). There are some simple dos and don’ts that need to be obeyed when working with suicidal teens in a school situation. Do: Learn to recognize the clues to suicide; depression; helplessness, threats or words of warning, withdrawal, isolation, excessive stress, giving away possessions etc. Advise parents of your concern and maintain records of interaction when talking with the troubled student and parent.

Trust your own judgement. Listen and understand the feelings behind the words. Take every feeling the student expresses seriously. Tell others. Immediately refer all students you feel are suicidal to the principal, counselor, and/or crisis team member. Remind the student that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Ask the student to postpone the decision for awhile; in return, you might offer to accompany them to find support or help. Accept the fact that in some cases you may not be able to keep the student from committing suicide.

The Don’ts are: Don’t worry about breaking the confidence if someone reveals suicidal plans to you. You may need to tell a secret to save a life. Don’t try to win arguments about suicide. They might not be able to be won. Don’t moralize or preach to the student. Don’t dismiss a suicide threat or challenge a student to do it. Don’t leave a suicidal student alone if you think there is immediate danger. Don’t attempt to rescue the suicidal student by yourself. Don’t ignore signs. Ignoring confirms to the student that he/she is unloved or misunderstood.

Don’t give false assurances that “everything will be fine. ” Don’t be misled by the student’s comments that the emotional crisis has ended. Don’t assume the aggressive child may commit suicide over the “good,” “quiet,” or “obedient” child(Prevention). If everybody would just follow these few simple dos and don’ts and learn to recognize the warning signs we would be able to prevent a lot more teenage suicides. Teenagers really don’t want to die. They just need support and time so they can work through their problems. Teenage suicide

Teenage Suicide Thesis: I intend to inform those who read my report about the subject teenage suicide. What really is the definition of suicide? Suicide is a Latin word that means self killing. Suicides also means the taking of one’s own life in a deliberate manner. Suicide may be compulsory, usually as an alternative to death at the hands of others. Or, it is thought to be committed for personal motives; depending on the time and place, it can be thought of as a heroic deed or it can be condemned by religious and civil authorities(Columbia).

Why do teenagers commit suicide? According to this poem written by a teenage suicide victim it is because he is in pain. I find myself deep in a hole of sorrow. Too far to bother, Too far to try, Too far to get out. So I just wait here and die. (Hunter) Why are teenagers in pain? “There are too many problems for the modern teenager to deal with. Growing up as a teen today is ten times more difficult than it was just five years ago. As our society ‘progresses’…. more and more responsibility is being placed on teens.

We have become a very selfish society, and this causes pressure on the weakest link of our society…. the teens (DeKonty). ” Teens are also in pain because of the growing separation between parents and their children. “Twenty five years ago, the ‘in’ thing to do was to live your life for your kids. Now… the ‘in’ thing to do is balance a job and become successful while bringing up your kids. If we are not careful about this trend… soon kids will be a bother rather than a joy. This mentality has caused the teens of today to feel that they need to share their time with their parent’s job or jobs.

They for the most part, are not comfortable sharing their problems with their parents. The largest number of teenage suicides are in the upper class homes where there is so much pressure to preform and no outlet to discuss their problems (DeKonty). ” When teens cannot discuss their problems with their parents, they will turn to other teens for help. But what happens to the highly sensitive information that they do not feel they can trust their friends with? They hold it all inside until they feel that the only way to get rid of the pain is to commit suicide.

Are gay teenagers at a higher risk? According to a survey did at a Minnesota public school Gay/bisexual males are 24 percent more likely to commit suicide than straight males. Also Gay/bisexual females are 6 percent more likely to commit suicide than straight females. Gay children are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide then straight kids (Sadasivan and Hanson). So why are gay teenagers at a higher risk? “Teenage boys are more susceptible to antigay peer pressure than girls. The issue of gender nonconformity is much more of a factor with boys.

In society, sissy boys are viewed differently than tomboy girls (Remafedi). ” Gay children may be unhappy or conflicted. Friends and peers of gay children may harass, reject or even try to hurt them once they learn the truth (Sadasivan and Hanson). How do they commit suicide? The most common method used to commit suicide would be the firearm. 83 percent of suicides involving firearms happen in the home. Less than10 percent of people who commit suicide buy a gun with the specific intent of killing themselves. Death by firearms is the fastest growing method of suicide.

Firearms are actually used in more suicides than in homicide cases, also states with stricter gun control laws have lower rates of suicide. Other methods of suicide are ingestions, hanging, asphyxiation, and jumping(Shaffer). Saturday and Monday are the most common suicide days. Alaska and Nevada have the highest suicide rates(Suicide). The most renown suicide attempt area is the Golden Gate bridge. Harold Wobber’s suicide in August 1937 was the first documented suicide from the Golden Gate bridge. Since then more than twelve hundred are known to have jumped to their deaths from the suspension bridge.

Many experts believe that more then twice that number have jumped , but their bodies were swept away by the cold currents. There are two other leading suicide icons, the Empire State Building which has thirty one deaths and the Eiffel Tower which has more than three hundred and eighty(Allen). How do you tell if someone is suicidal? Some of the risk factors are previous attempts, psychiatric history, personal failure, recent loss of close friend etc. ,substance abuse, family handguns, family violence, and lack of communication(Risk).

After a teen has attempted suicide they still remain vulnerable for several years, especially for the first three months following the attempt. A death of close friends or family, divorce, or a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend are particularly hard on teens in that they may leave a teen so lost and alone that suicide seems the only option. Another tough problem is substance abuse, some teens abuse drugs or alcohol to self-medicate overwhelming depression; a combination of depression, substance abuse, and lowered impulse control can end in a suicide attempt. Family handguns is another dangerous one.

A gun in the house may make it easy for a troubled teen to commit suicide; children of law-enforcement officers have a much higher rate of suicide because of the accessibility of guns(Risk). Some of the misleading facts and beliefs that suicidal teen believe are: I am not worthy of love because people do not always behave lovingly toward me. It is my responsibility alone to solve all the problems of my family and my friends. Everyone must like me. I must be perfect in everything I do, and I must not fail at anything. I will only fall in love once. If I ever share my problems, people will laugh at me.

I must be mentally ill, if I feel sad or depressed. These feelings of depression will last forever, and if I feel this way, I must be abnormal. If things do not turn out right for me, I might as well give up. I have no control over my life. It is easier to run away from problems than to confront them. My life seems hopeless. It will never get better(Adolescent). Because teens feel this way and think this way they lose all hope and go deeper into depression and the sad dark little world that depression builds around it’s victims. Even so there are more misconceptions that non-suicidal people think like:

People who talk about suicide really won’t do it. That is not true. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Anyone who tries to kill him or herself must be crazy. Not true. They are upset, grief-stricken or depressed, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness. If a person is determined to die, nothing is going to stop him or her. Not true. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die.

Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop and see no other way to make that happen. The impulse to end it all may be overpowering but does not last forever. People who commit suicide are unwilling to seek help. Not true. Studies show that more than half of those who committed suicide had sought medical help in the previous six months. Talking about suicide may give someone the idea to do it. Not true. You don’t give a suicidal person unhealthy ideas by talking about suicide. Bringing up the subject and discussing it openly can be a powerful prevention tool(Myths). The tragedy of adolescent suicide is that it is preventable. These young people end their lives before they even have a chance to identify other options for solving their problems. The devastation to the families and friends of these children is staggering (Dr. Scott Williams). ” How do you prevent teenage suicide? Suicide prevention includes addressing these issues; the link between substance abuse and suicide, victimization and suicidal behavior, availability of firearms, and depression and suicide attempts(Utah). Some possible prevention strategies are: 1.

Crisis services, but one problem with this is that they lack efficiency, teens don’t use them. Another possible strategy is Educational approaches. There has been a considerable increase in the provision of suicide prevention programs for United States high school students. Most programs provide curricula directly to highs school students. Some of their goals are to increase awareness of the problem. To provide knowledge about the behavioral characteristic (“warning signs”) of teens at risk for suicide, and to describe available treatment or counseling resources.

Few programs subscribe to a model of suicide as a product or mental illness. Most assume that suicide follows common environmental stresses and that all teens share a potential vulnerability to suicide(Shaffer). There are some simple dos and don’ts that need to be obeyed when working with suicidal teens in a school situation. Do: Learn to recognize the clues to suicide; depression; helplessness, threats or words of warning, withdrawal, isolation, excessive stress, giving away possessions etc. Advise parents of your concern and maintain records of interaction when talking with the troubled student and parent.

Trust your own judgement. Listen and understand the feelings behind the words. Take every feeling the student expresses seriously. Tell others. Immediately refer all students you feel are suicidal to the principal, counselor, and/or crisis team member. Remind the student that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Ask the student to postpone the decision for awhile; in return, you might offer to accompany them to find support or help. Accept the fact that in some cases you may not be able to keep the student from committing suicide.

The Don’ts are: Don’t worry about breaking the confidence if someone reveals suicidal plans to you. You may need to tell a secret to save a life. Don’t try to win arguments about suicide. They might not be able to be won. Don’t moralize or preach to the student. Don’t dismiss a suicide threat or challenge a student to do it. Don’t leave a suicidal student alone if you think there is immediate danger. Don’t attempt to rescue the suicidal student by yourself. Don’t ignore signs. Ignoring confirms to the student that he/she is unloved or misunderstood.

Don’t give false assurances that “everything will be fine. ” Don’t be misled by the student’s comments that the emotional crisis has ended. Don’t assume the aggressive child may commit suicide over the “good,” “quiet,” or “obedient” child(Prevention). If everybody would just follow these few simple dos and don’ts and learn to recognize the warning signs we would be able to prevent a lot more teenage suicides. Teenagers really don’t want to die. They just need support and time so they can work through their problems.