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What Drug Abuse and Young People

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FC: American Teens and Drug Abuse | Title: Positive Drug Test Photographer: Chris Collins Date: Unknown

1: Is being a teenager harder now than past generations? I cannot honestly say yes or no because there have always been pressures on young people. Maybe people just see the difficult lives of teens now because we are all so connected through cyberspace or maybe young people are really living tougher lives. Whatever the case may be statistics say there is an increase in drug and alcohol use among young people. What do we do about our young people using drugs? | Title:College Students Having a Conversation. Date: April 26, 2012 Author: Corbis

2: Title: Teen Boy Smoking Photographer: Tomas Rodriguez Date: unknown | According to a survey "Monitoring the Future Survey (1)" in 2010 marijuana use among eighth, tenth and twelfth graders was on the rise. What do we do to help our young people out? Do we do like other countries and legalize it and monitor the amount people use. If we made it legal for people 18 and up what about the side effects from the use? I think as long as drugs are around people are going to use them so the best thing to do is have open conversations with our kids and let them know their brains are not fully developed and there are lasting negative effects of drug use on their underdeveloped minds.

3: Another drug on the rise with young people is alcohol. Alcohol is a very powerful, addictive drug that some adults enjoy in low doses, but that can be damaging. Many adults drink moderately and safely,yet other people drink too much and get hurt. For teens, alcohol can be very harmful and it's illegal. I think as parents we need to not keep alcohol in our homes, if we drink do not leave access for our children to do the same. Give them a chance to avoid the pitfalls of drinking. Alcohol addiction can begin at any time in someone's life, but starting to drink when you are a teenager increases the risk for addiction. “Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among todays teenagers. Nearly three quarters of students (72%) have consumed alcohol (more than just a few sips) by the end of high school, and more than a third (37%) have done so by eighth grade.(2)” | Title: Young Man Drinking Alcohol Photographer: Poppy Berry Date: Unknown

4: According to The Partnership for a Drug Free America(3), one in five teens has abused prescription painkillers. Many teens turn to prescription drug abuse due to false sense of security. They think that the drugs are safe since a doctor prescribed them. However, they don't realize that doctors rely on many factors such as age, gender, weight and symptoms of the patient when prescribing these drugs. Because teens don't have the training necessary to do this, overdose, abuse, and death are possible. I feel like prescription drugs are the silent killers parents are oblivious to. I think many parents think my kid is doing what the doctor is telling them to do and they do not monitor the exact amount their kids are consuming. I broke my ankle as a teenager and my parents were on top of every pill I took and three days after surgery I was no longer allowed to take the prescription pain killer until bedtime, if I was in pain I had to take ibuprofen. I think more parents need to take an active role to help prevent drug abuse by their children. | Title: Hand Selecting Proper Pills. Photographer: Arman Zhenikeyev Date: Unknown

5: When I was a teenager one of my very best friends was on ecstasy and ended up raped and pregnant. She chose to abort her baby and many years later she said "I wish I would have listened to our parents and teachers and maybe now I would not be so sad." I have often encouraged her to share her story with young people so they may not end up in the same position as her and our friends that had to breakdown a bedroom door to free her. I had my fair share of drug use as a teen, it was not easy to overcome nor is it something I am proud of, but I think the key to helping young people is honesty and lack of judgment when they want to talk. Tell them the truth about the dangers to your mind and body, tell them the legal ramifications and tell them it is okay to ask for help. | Title: Teenage Girl Sitting in a Shower in Her Clothes Photographer: Bob Thomas Date: Unknown

6: I believe the government and many in America have taken the functionalist perspective when they think of drug use. I think people believe it is okay that there is drug addiction among young people because they think it is only minorities and people of poverty abusing drugs. That is certainly not the case. There are rich, white children addicted to heroin, there are smart Asian children addicted to ecstasy, and it is not just young African American kids living in a ghetto using marijuana. Until the world around us changes the way they see drug use, nothing will be done to safe our young people from the heartache and derailing effects of drug addiction.

7: References 1. http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2010/12/teen-marijuana-use-increases-especially-among-eighth-graders 2. http://www.sadd.org/stats.htm 3.http://www.drugfree.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Preventing-Teen-Abuse-of-Prescription-Drugs-Fact-Sheet-2draft-Cephalon-sponsored.pdf

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