Over the past one decade, various developments have resulted in the effort to gain a clear insight into the extent and nature of drug use that has threatened the life of teenagers. The information collected in this study links the drug use problem incorporation to a negligent society. The health care providers and human support comprehensively have investigated the drug use prevalence issue in the young adults in ensuring development of policies and interventions that will lead to addressing this problem among this vulnerable group.
Although various studies are on the issue of teenage drug use, there has been insufficient information on the causes, patterns, and repercussions that result from the illicit drug use and abuse among the teens. With the limited literature provided, there is likelihood that as a result of unique economic environment, cultural impacts, and social systems of networking, it may be possible for the teenage behavior of drug use and abuse developing a significant variation in comparison to the older youths (Purvis & McInnis, 2009). This signals need for comprehensive studies that can explain the roles of cultural, interpersonal, and intrapersonal community. Studies also need to dwell on the relapse of drug use among this category—in its pre- adult stage. In addition, there is need for studies that can be able to examine the minority category protective factors. This category is prone to the drug abuse risk although majority is yet to start exploring the satisfaction found in these drugs usage. This report broadens the understanding of teenage drug use problems by providing a comprehensive review of health-characteristic, health events and health-determinant patterns (epidemiology) related to drug use in the society. In addition, drug use consequences, the consumption patterns together with the emerging consumption trends will be evaluated.
The drug use highlight
The concern of drug use among the teenagers is a problem that has been addressed for a long period. For instance, more than a decade ago, NHSDA (1999) in their studies made a national estimate presentation on the drug use prevalence in the teenage category (Rory, 2001). In this report, the task done is a study for young people aged between 12 and 17 years consuming marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol. This study also sought to examine the behaviors and perception of this category in regard to drug use. In the national sample, the examinations were for approximately 25,000 people. From the study, the states that reported high alcohol use in the initial months of the study were the same states whose risks from alcohol use were the lowest. Likewise, the states that highly reported having a few cases of alcohol consumption reported a low rate of alcohol addiction (Rory, 2000).
Looking at tobacco consumption, a study by Burke, O’Sullivan, and Vaughan (2008) in the United States established that 17.6% of the teens were addicted to alcohol use. The same study also established that the main component of tobacco consumption was in the form of cigarette (15.6%) although cigars were insignificant among this category of youths from an independent research. In addition, the states that reported the highest amount of cigarette use also reported the highest percentage in tobacco consumption (Burke, O’Sullivan & Vaughan, 2008). The same study also examined marijuana consumption whereby 6.7% of the teenagers were under the influence of consuming this drug. At a percentage of 9.1 (as the youths addicted to marijuana), Arizona was the state that reported to have the highest level of annual incidence of abusing this drug. The five states that occupied the highest quartile in consumption of marijuana among the youths also reported the highest number of cases on new marijuana usage. These states were Nevada, Massachusetts, Delaware, Alaska, and Colorado (Burke et al., 2008).
Basically, it has also been approximated that the average age at which the teens are most likely to be introduced to drug abuse ranges between 15 and 16 years (Evans & Sullivan, 2001). For marijuana, the average age at which most teens become addicted is as at 14 years as ascertained from the study in the States of Nevada and Montana (Evans & Sullivan, 2001).
The protective and risk factors
These factors are inclusive of behavioral factors and attitudes that connect to an increased likelihood of drug use and non-use. In a report by Antai-Otong (2008), data collected was on the protective and risk factors in various peer domains that included four paradigms. In every paradigm, the responses provided answers to several questions. The questions on peer substance usage included the inquiries on the number of friends who used various substances. Using a scale of one to four (ranging from no one, few, most, and all), the states estimates ranged from 1.56 to 1.98, which West Virginia reported. Based on the fact West Virginia was the highest ranked in drug use, the high rank was because the state had also registered the highest record of cigarette use in the past one month.
Isralowitz (2004) explains that in most cases, the people introducing themselves to drug use by the age of more than 20 will have already tried the specific drug earlier in their teenage. However, this sequence may not always be the same in the cases. For instance, a study by Purvis and MacInnis (2009) established that by the time the teenagers’ approach 20 years when they know about drugs, 10% will not have used the drugs. In addition, the study established that approximately 19% had used a drug (marijuana, cigarette, or alcohol) before attaining this age. In the teens that had previously introduced to three drugs, they had first been introduced to cigarette followed by alcohol and marijuana. In other cases, these teens had first started with alcohol, followed by cigarette, and marijuana (Purvis & MacInnis, 2009). However, there were rare cases (2.3%) whereby these young adults had first been introduced to marijuana before starting to abuse alcohol and cigarette.
Research data review
The teenage drug use has increasingly become a major concern challenging the need research on the causes and trend. McCabe, Boyd, and Teter (2009) explain that in most cases, this case has been ironically been prevalent among the high school and undergraduate students who are very well aware of the repercussions that befalls this unethical behavior. Johnson (2008) further explains that in these institutions, the prevalence has been higher in male students in comparison to the females. For instance, in a study conducted by Copeman (2003) it was ascertained that the ratio between young men to women using drugs is 4: 1.
Copeman (2003) insist that high consumption and addiction to alcohol is mostly as a result of developing a habit of frequent alcohol consumption. According to the mental disorder statistics by the American Psychiatric Association, dependence on alcohol is in most cases associated with augmented tolerance, withdrawal symptoms in case of a break from consumption, failed efforts toward alcohol control and interference with the daily life. In addition, Copeman (2003) notes that the rate of dependence on alcohol by the teens is usually high once addicted in comparison to the adults.
In this approach, there is data organization and summary according to place, time, and person. These are the three characteristics that refer to as epidemiological variables (Purvis & MacInnis, 2009). Compiling and examining the data by place, time, and person is effective and efficient based on various explanations. First, the study familiarizes with the data and with the amount of the investigated public health issues. Second, the population obtains a detailed health description in an easy to communicate manner. Third, through such analysis, there is identification of population prone to the greatest risk. This also leads to transformation of clues and diseases into hypothesis that can be tested (Purvis & MacInnis, 2009).
Using the above approach, there is development of models of measurement for every construct. For the model of life stress, there is incorporation of three subscales in the construct that involves Major Events of Life and Hassles items (Purvis & MacInnis, 2009).
The effects of drug abuse among the teenagers
Although illicit drugs is seen to result in a fewer deaths in comparison to alcohol and cigarettes, Johnson (2008) insists otherwise, claiming that they are a major cause of death in the United States. Johnson (2008) explains that approximately 16,000 deaths occur annually from the illicit drug abuse. In these cases, Johnson (2008) further explains that 1000 of these deaths occur to persons under the age of 19 years. In addition, the illicit use of drug has been connected to morbidity coupled with having far-reaching consequences on public health. Johnson (2008) also notes that drug use is a frequent cause of death in the motor vehicle clashes. Characteristic of these involve teens having illegal possession of motor vehicles because they lack a driving license. In the last decade, these are common cases in the United States. Johnson adds that in other cases, the risks connected to drug abuse have resulted in infection with the sexually transmitted infections together with eventual mental complication problems. As a result, Nutt, King, Saulsbury & Blackemore (2007) approximate the societal costs associated with drug use at more than $170 billion on annual basis. This is an economic blow, which has been perceived to compose of criminal justice activities, health care expenses, social service costs, and productivity loss. Hence, drug use among the teenagers has in the United States been perceived to be one of the most serious problems connected to healthcare coupled with being the most important issue facing the modern world teenagers.
Drug use experimentation has been perceived to be one of the major risks facing the teens is becoming addicted during the most important stage of their development. Characterized by various phases of identity formulation and separation, Barrett, Meisner & Steward (2008) explain that independent and accountable behaviors likely emerge during this stage of development. This may be adversely be affected by drug use together with healthy maturation of the brain. Therefore, various consequences are likely to result from the drug-related risky behaviors. These risks are inclusive of unattended pregnancy and the far-reaching impacts that have a likelihood of likelihood of affecting the college and eventual graduate life of these students. Copeman (2003) adds that drug use is likely to develop into an addiction that extends to the later life of the student. In most cases, more than half of the adults’ drug use habit started in their adolescent age. Particularly, most of the adults addicted to alcohol use started this habit between the age of 16 and 18 years.
Legal and ethical issues
In America, much importance is attached to the need of adults staying alone. Adult’s pride depends on having perfected a political and social system that limits their control by the government. However, this is rarely the case with the adolescents (O’Donohue & Ferguson, 2006). This is because the full-fledged legal status is not allowed in the teens. Below a particular age, these adolescents need to attend schools together with involvement in other ethical behaviors that discourages drug abuse. In addition, their right from refusing drug medication is different from the one granted to the adults. Whether the treatment program of substance abuse may allow the admission of the adults without the consent of the parent will depend on the state statutes. Although obtaining the treatment consent for the teens makes sense, it is important that the wide range of factors be considered. These factors have a contributing role to the decision of a program to have the adolescents admitted before the consent of the parent.
This article provides various implications connected to the teenage drug use. It is hence apparent that the prevention of drug use should aim at influential factors. Since most of the addictions as a result of influence at a critical developmental stage, the briefing of the adolescents should target addressing the risks that are discovered in this article. Therefore, the policy based interventions should target supervision of the youth social activities. These interventions may play an important role in prevention of drug use. Through these programs, it will be possible for adolescents to develop motivation through which the drug use resisting skills could have an impact.
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