The Drug Abuse Warning Center reports on trends in people seeking emergency department treatment related with illegal drugs or legal drugs intended for illegal or non medical purposes. Their reports indicated that these episodes for the youth age of 12-17 increased by 17% in a span of one year. Emergency department visits for marijuana increased by 50% in the same year. A high percentage of youth who ended up in the emergency department died of the drug abuse. Transmission of HIV increases through exposure and exchange of bodily fluids during injections and sharing the needles among abusers.
Drugs abuse also affects the sexual drive in teenagers. It has been studied and found that a teenager, who abuses drugs, is five times more likely to have sex than that teenager who doesn’t. They also have a high risk of having the unprotected sex with a stranger that leads to a high risk of STD infections and HIV transmission. Unprotected sex also leads to the high number of teenage pregnancies and sexual assault. Unwanted pregnancies also compel teenagers to abort or give birth to disabled children.
Social and Economic Consequences
Substances abusing youth are often stigmatized and alienated by their fellow peers. These adolescents always disengage from school and community activities and are deprived of the positive contributions and impacts that they might have gained from being around their peers.
Substances abuse may also result into the family crisis and may jeopardize many aspects of family life. Both parents and children that abuse drugs strain the family in one aspect or the other one. This leads to the family dysfunction, which can have some profound effects on the emotional state of a family. Substance abuse also has a great strain on the family’s financial and economic resources.
The social and economic costs of drug abuse to the youth are significantly high. They include the strains for family members to take care of and support adolescents who are not able to support themselves. Some of the strains come from medical expenses and other kinds from treatments such as rehabilitation and other kinds of treatment services.
There is a link between delinquency and drug abuse. Arrest, adjudication, and intervention by the juvenile department are some of the consequences of abuse of drugs by the youth. It is not a pure guarantee that substance abuse causes a delinquent behavior; however, the two are correlated. They bring family tribulations, involvement into negative peer groups, a lack of neighborhood, social control and physical or sexual abuse.
Substance abuse is associated with both violent and income generating youth. This created a fear in the community for their safety and the safety of their families, which, in turn, created a demand for juvenile and criminal justice services and, thus, increased a burden on the juvenile justice resources. Prostitution, drug trafficking, violence, homicides, and gangs are some of the problems associated with the drug and substance abuse. Such vices exist because the drug abusers look for some income to buy drugs or to pay off their drug debts. These problems are a menace to each society; they strain and threaten to the morality and the security of the society. The DUF study found that there was a high link between some positive drug tests and the male juvenile arrestees, and their commission of drug related crimes. A substantial rate of drug use was discovered among the youth who committed the violent and property crimes. Drug abuse is, therefore, not only dangerous for each individual involved, but it also affects the whole community and the society, in general.