“The Psychological And Physical Aspects Of D


rug Abuse In Today’S Adolescence”“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.usdoj.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.

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