There is a high trend in the rise of illegal drug use, alcohol and tobacco among youths in Los Angeles. The city has been referred to the gang capital due to well-known gangs often heard or seen in the television. Gang’s results from the youth who abuse the drug and the result are crime and criminal behaviors (Müller &Schumann 2010). The city of Los Angeles has been associated with gang crime both historically and culturally. Research indicates that nearly (65%) of the youth smoke cigarettes and other drugs. The youth began smoking between the ages of seven and 18 years, with an average age of about 12. Only three in (76%) of these youths could stop smoking immediately if they wished to.
Drug and substance use among the youths poses problems to both the users and to the society. Such problems can be categorized to; problems directly related to abusing the drug, such as the risk of overdose, problems related to the fact that drugs abuse is illegal and social issues such as the cost of maintaining drug addiction and incarcerating drug offenders (Corliss, Rosario& Austin, 2010) In an effort to maintain this habit, they result into crime to obtain money to buy drug that poses a social problem.
Various historical perspectives have been used to help understand the use of drug and substance among the youths and how it affects them. This perspective includes;
Symbolic Interactionism model argues that the society is a product of everyday interaction among the individuals, therefore, drug abuse among youths are as a result of social interactions in particular situations (Littlefield & Wood 2010). Society and reality are what people make of it and drug use and alcohol abuse are set of behaviors and identities are lifestyle that are happening in the society. Society member’s acts as a role model and young people want to adopt their behaviors. The theory maintains that negative social reactions and the stigma that is associated with people being labeled as addicts leads to increase of deviant activities among the youths.
The next paradigm is Structural-functionalists that maintain that alienation and dysfunction in the society results to anomie which can motivate conflict and deviance among the youths. Research indicates that 55% of youth involved in drug abuse in Los Angeles did not experience parental care and love(Johnston, Bachman, Schulenburg &2010) They felt neglected and judged by the society. This made them result to abuse of drug and crime to get a sense belonging
The Social-Conflict Paradigm indicates that the material and immaterial inequality and group marginalization can result to deviant behavior including drug abuse and crime. Those individuals from poor families are likely to result in drug abuse as a result of poverty (Carrie &Johnson 2010) Individuals leaving in poor neighborhoods are likely to abuse the drug as compared to those in well to do habitats. They are likely to be involved in drug dealings to empower themselves and their families. Research indicates that 60% of the youths who abuse drugs between the young ages of 12-18 years were from ethnic and racial minority groups.
The paper reviews various effects of drug abuse among the young adults between the ages of 13-18years in Los Angeles. It indicates that majority of the young adult start smoking at a young age of seven years. Research shows that only three youth in about (75%) of those who are smokers could stop smoking immediately if they want. Other drugs abused include tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and alcohol.
Among the most, used drug is alcohol since it is legal and affordable. The effects of the drug abuse include; problems directly related to abusing the drug, such as the risk of overdose, problems related to the fact that drugs abuse is illegal and social issues such as the cost of maintaining drug addiction and incarcerating drug offenders. Various perspectives that are put to explain the effect of drug use and social problems includes the symbolic Interactionism model, Structural-functionalists model and the Social-Conflict Paradigm.
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