Drug abuse among teenagers is a not only illegal, but against societal values and beliefs. Indeed, drugs have no place in our community, and every responsible person is against teenage drug abuse. However, there are some people who condone and benefit from it hence making drugs available to teens. Teenage drug abuse is a severe social issue that affects virtually every family and community in some way. Statistics indicate that, in the United States alone, drug abuse causes almost 40 million severe diseases or injuries every year (Carl, Ksir & Oakley, 2008). Out of this number, teenagers as the most affected group. In this paper, I will explore the reasons behind teenage drug, and the consequences of this behavior. Drug abuse among teenagers is caused by societal influences such as peer pressure and accessibility of drugs, and the absence of parental guidance and it leads to severe consequences like dropping out of school, violence and illnesses.
Reasons for Teenage Drug Use
Peer pressure is perhaps the main reason that leads to teenage drug abuse. Every teenager wants to belong to a certain group and behave in the same way. Teenagers value a sense of belonging and naturally, they want to be liked by others. They may want to join a group that is into abuse of marijuana, heroin or alcohol and eventually start using them in order to be accepted. On the other hand, peer pressure may increase curiosity among teens and lead to drug abuse. Many teenagers are curious about alcohol, marijuana and other illegal drugs and even though, they learn at school about their dangers, they may abuse in order to satiate their curiosity (Carl & Oakley, 2008).
Teenage is a tremendously challenging stage of development because people want to try out new things, particularly drugs. Nowadays, drugs are found everywhere, making them available to teenagers. This availability increases the chances of drug abuse as it tempts teenagers to use them because of the perceived exciting resultant effect (Edith, 2001).
In addition, parental negligence may lead to drug abuse among the teens. Edith (2001) asserts that a parent, who abuses drugs or does not spend much time with the child, will not know the problems that affect them. The lack of attention and guidance gives teenagers an opportunity to try out and use the substances their parents or friends consume (Dryden-Edwards, 2011). On the other hand, bad relationships between the teenager and the parent may lead to drug abuse. If a parent does not offer moral support to teenagers, it may lead to substance and drug abuse among them. Parental negligence drives many teenagers in to drug use because they see the act as an alternative way to solve their problems.
Consequences of Drug Abuse among Teenagers
The high rate of teenage school dropouts can be attributed to drug abuse. When a teenager abuses a certain drug occasionally, many problems develop, for instance addiction, which makes it hard to quit the behavior. Eventually, a teenager may not pay attention and focus properly at school, leading to poor performance and in some cases, dropping out. Furthermore, pregnancies, victimization, and conditions such as hallucinations, anxiety or mood swings among drug abusers affect academics negatively (Schaefer, 2010).
Studies indicate that violence and drug abuse among teenagers are closely linked (Dryden-Edwards, 2011). This is because teenagers who use drugs are more likely to get involved in violent acts including crime and joining gangs than those who do not consume. For instance, most gangs are heavy consumers of drugs, especially marijuana. Most teens are school-going and jobless; consequently, they may steal get money for drugs. Drug abuse is responsible for rampant gun violence among teens, especially, from poor neighborhoods (Schaefer, 2010).
Illnesses are common among teen drug users. Depending on the type and frequency of drug use, it can affect their health in various ways. Inhalation drugs may lead to permanent damage in the brain while anabolic steroids may lead to liver diseases, heart attacks and cancer. Further, aggressive behavior such as careless driving and speeding are common among drug addicts. This factor has increased the number of road accidents that have left many dead and maimed. It is necessary to note that teenagers who abuse drugs will possibly engage themselves in sexual activities, which put them at risks of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS (Schaefer, 2010).
Teenage drug use is mainly caused by parental negligence, and societal influences such as availability of drugs and peer pressure. The outcomes of drug abuse are severe, and they include violence, increased rate of school dropouts and illnesses. To avert the behavior of teenage drug use and its negative repercussions, parents should spend time and guide and counsel the teens. This calls for clear communication between parents and teenagers in understanding and offering a solution to the problems teenagers face. Adequate parental supervision may reduce abuse of drug among teenagers. Parents, teachers and society at large should educate children on the negative emotional, functional and physical effects of drugs abuse (Dryden-Edwards, 2011). Honest and open drug abuse discussions will diminish the behavior among teens. On the hand, it is the responsibility of teenagers to take it upon themselves and stop the behavior due to its detrimental consequences.