The Problem of Substance Abuse among Teenagers in the United States Today
Compared to other populations, teenagers remain at risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Teenagers are in a stage where want to push limits and test boundaries. Teenagers go through a lot of stress in their developmental stages. While not all adolescents abuse drugs, drug abuse remains a big problem in this age group. Substance abuse has a huge impact on the well-being and health of teenager users (Singh, et al., 362). The most commonly abused drugs by teenagers include alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Others include depressants such as benzodiazepines, stimulants such as cocaine, heroin, morphine, codeine, mushrooms ecstasies among others.
Following a corporative agreement between the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a guide for screening of substance use in pediatrics was developed. It was meant to assist substance users to resolve abuse concerns. Further, the guide noted that in addition to alcohol tobacco, and marijuana being the most abused drugs by adolescents, two-thirds of students in 12th grade have tried alcohol (Winters, et al., 150). Additionally, 2 in 10 12th graders have consumed prescription drugs without a prescription. The purpose of this essay is to assess the problem of substance abuse among teenagers in the United States today. The text further explains family influence and educational tools as solutions for teenage substance abuse.
Resolving drug and substance abuse begins at home with the teenagers’ parents. Having clear communication between parents and teenagers regarding the emotional, functional, and physical effects of drugs are directly linked with a decline in drug abuse among teenagers. With adequate parental supervision comes a deterrent to drug abuse. Parents should talk to their children more and advise them against drug abuse to form a strong foundation about their awareness about drug abuse. Parental influence has a positive influence on children’s behavior as it teaches them about boundaries (Azofeifa, Margaret, & Althea, 1765). By teaching children about boundaries, parents assist their children to say no to things that might harm them. This way they remain in full control of unhealthy requests. Conversations create deep guidance and bonds between parents and children, strengthening their trust. This way, teenagers are better placed to make informed decisions about their friends, habits, influences, and interests.
It is the primary responsibility of school personnel, community leaders, and governmental agencies to teach their children about the importance of leading a drug-free life. This strategy is helpful in preventing teenagers from abusing drugs before they enter adulthood and enter into the real world. Over the last few decades, education tools have been helpful in reducing drug abuse among teenagers a great deal (Peiper, 352). As such, it is important to educate teenagers about dealing with potential drug abuse problems and addiction before maturity. Currently, there are various educational programs including indicated, universal, and selective. Universal programs purpose is to teach personal, drug, and social resistance techniques to teenagers every week. Indicated programs on the other hand help teenagers to display any problematic behavior they might be experiencing. Selective programs are meant for teenagers at more risk of substance abuse due to unstable homes and other problematic behavior.
In the United States, drug and substance abuse is common among teenagers particularly because of the stress they go through in their developmental processes. Statistics show that alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are the most abused drugs among teenage populations. Some of the solutions that can be employed to address this problem include increased family influence such are open communication by parents and employing selective, indicated, and universal educational programs. Additionally, the government should invest in ensuring the implementation of existing laws by taking legal action on people found consuming alcohol under the required age of 21 years.
Azofeifa, Alejandro, Margaret E. Mattson, and Althea Grant. “Monitoring marijuana use in the United States: challenges in an evolving environment.” Jama 316.17 (2016): 1765-1766.
Peiper, Nicholas C., et al. “Overview on prevalence and recent trends in adolescent substance use and abuse.” Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics 25.3 (2016): 349-365.
Singh, Tushar, et al. “Tobacco use among middle and high school students—United States, 2011–2015.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 65.14 (2016): 361-367.
Winters, Ken C., et al. “Adolescent substance abuse treatment: A review of evidence-based research.” Adolescent substance abuse (2018): 141-171.