The majority of people would probably like to think that drug addiction is a problem only faced by adults who have lived their lives, made their decisions, and are now living out the consequences of those decisions. The harsh reality of the fact is that addiction is not only lived out by adults.
The most common addictions for teens include drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Yes, tobacco is considered an addiction, even though it’s generally thought of a ‘lesser than’ evil when put into comparison with other drugs.
As the generations have passed, substances that are considered drugs have increased. Not only are there the illegal drugs that have always been there like heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and the like, there is also marijuana (though a hot topic still today on whether it should be illegal), cigarettes, alcohol, over the counter medicines, inhalants, and synthetic drugs.
This doesn’t even begin to cover the list of drugs available out there, and there is debate about whether the drugs are more dangerous today due to manipulation and the crossing of different strains and products.
Is the Problem Getting Better?
A study done in 2014 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse hints that the drug abuse problem is getting better. The study was conducted on American 8th, 10th, and 12th graders and showed that alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription pain reliever use has decreased in recent years. Marijuana use has evidently stayed the same, though one can guess that there has been an increase since 2014.
Though certain drug use has declined, there has been a decreased sensitivity and an all around more blase attitude regarding the use of some drugs. Is it American TV shows that contribute to this? Who knows for sure, but it is important to know why teens are turning to drugs in their early years.
It has been suggested that the reason that teens turn to substances is for somewhat of a coping strategy for what they’re dealing with on the inside. It’s things like bipolar disorder that we’re talking about, along with ADHD and depression.
About 7 percent of children under the age of 18 are diagnosed with ADHD. Another 3.5 percent have disorders pertaining to behavior, and 1.1 have autism. The most staggering of statistics is that millions of children struggle with depression, substance abuse, mental illness and things of the like.
Perhaps the reason teens turn to drugs is because it numbs their senses and their pain. The point is that that numbers aren’t going down at a fast enough rate. There needs to be a more focused effort to get these kids into programs that will help.
As drugs on the market increase, it gets easier for teens to get their hands on them. There needs to be a widespread understanding of the realities of drug abuse, and there needs to be an effort on behalf of parents to look at their family units and seriously consider what can be done to create a healthier environment for the kids.