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Essay/Term paper: Teenagers and drugs

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Alcohol and Drugs

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Effects of Drugs on Adolecents


Drug use is the increasing problem among teenagers in colleges today. Most drug use begins in the preteen and teenage years, these years most crucial in the maturation process. During these years adolescents are faced with difficult tasks of discovering their self identity, clarifying their sexual roles, assenting independence, learning to cope with authority and searching for goals that would give their lives meaning. Drugs are readily, adolescents are curious and venerable, and there is peer pressure to experiment, ad there us a temptation to escape from conflicts. The use of drugs by teenagers is the result of a combination of factors such as peer pressure, curiosity, and availability. Drugs addiction among adolescents in turn lead to depression and suicide.

One of the most important reasons of teenage drug usage is peer pressure. Peer pressure represents social influences that effect adolescents, it can have a positive or a negative effect, depending on person's social group and one can follow one path of the other. We are greatly influenced by the people around us. In today's colleges drugs are very common, peer pressure usually is the reason for their usage. If the people in your social group use drugs there will be pressure a direct or indirect pressure from them. A person may be offered to try drugs, which is direct pressure. Indirect pressure is when someone sees everyone around him using drugs and he might think that there is nothing wrong with using drugs. Person might try drugs just to fit in the social norms, even if a person had no intentions of using drugs one might do it just to be considered "cool" by his friends. Today drugs are considered to be an acceptable social phenomenon by many teenagers. Here is a personal example of drug use from a teenager, " When I started using, was only on weekends, at parties. I used drugs 'recreationally' and therefore thought I had no addiction problem. I used drugs like nicotine, marijuana or LSD to be happy or to have fun. I needed drugs. I kept using drugs; I used drugs like marijuana to fit socially. I had problems in my life, emotionally, that drugs only seemed to solve. Drugs made my problems worse. I started snorting cocaine. I injected heroin into my veins. I almost died. I was addicted"

In today's colleges the availability and variety of drugs is widespread. There is a demand for drugs and the supply is plentiful. Since drugs are so easy accessible, a natural interest in them may develop. A person may hear about drugs experiences, on reactions of drug usage, such as " Hey the weed that he sold us was cool, I got stoned man". This response will create a sense of curiosity and may convince the person to try drugs themselves. Many teenagers today believe that the first use of drugs is safe. However even though there is no instant addiction with the first try, teenagers tend to experiment further. Soon a person could actively seek the euphoric effects of drugs. Drug addiction is the result of intense preoccupation with the dicer to experience the mental and bodily changes with drug use. The final and the most disastrous stage are when a person needs drugs in order to function adequately. Therefore availability, curiosity and experimentation could result in drug addiction among teenagers.

One of the most devastating side effects of drug addiction and abuse is depression. Depression is the result of chemical imbalance, environmental influence, or a combination of both. Using heavy and very highly addictive drugs as heroin, cocaine, opium and many other will cause sudden mood changes, deterioration of the immune system, nervous breakdowns, unusual flares of temper and many other side effects. Besides physical side effects, drug addiction can create problems in a person's social circles. The person may run into many conflicts with his family and friends, resulting in desire for isolation. This in turn will create more problems since the person will have no social support. Furthermore, drug addiction is a financial strain especially for teenagers. When a person is addicted to drugs he will do anything to obtain money to fulfill his needs.

According to previous studies, drug addiction is the results of 3 "I's". Teenagers may think of their problems as Inescapable, Interminable and Intolerable. Life may seem bleak and miserable. Seeing no way out feeling lonely and no prospects for improvement leads to depression. Which can further lead to attempted suicide. Many studies have found that drugs are a contributing factor to suicide. Using drugs may reduce inhibitions and impair judgement, suicide is a possibility. As one statistic illustrates 70% of all young people who attempted suicide used drugs.

Illegal drugs, for example, weed, speed, acid, or ecstasy has always been a problem among the teen youth, the problems gets even more serious if it involves additive substances such as cocaine.
The most common seen illegal drug around teens in BC is Ecstasy, or generally called "E". E's are usually involved in rave parties; people take E's and dance overnight. The academic name for E is hallucinogenic stimulant, it generally affects the concentration of the brain, and it can change one's mood, sleep, sexual behavior, body temperature and appetite. The sensation sight, sound and touch are enhanced, that's why it's usually used at discos and parties. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to "get high" and about three to four hours to wear off. Side effects include heart and blood pressure problems, blurred vision, chills and sweating. The tablet changes every week and counterfeits are always around, it is not addictive. It is illegal to buy, sell, produce or posses any amount of E.

Another popular drug is LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide), which is a little similar to E. It alters a person's perception of sights, sounds, and touch etc, a person that has taken LSD might see or hear things that don't exist. Known as "acid", this drug is extremely powerful, once teaspoon can contain up to 25'000 doses. Only 200 micrograms is needed for one trip. The danger of LSD is that the effect of LSD is extremely unpredictable since it depends on a person's physical conditions and also his/her mood. About one hour after taking LSD it'll start to take effect, the user will see or feel things that doesn't exist, images maybe altered, for example, small objects may look huge, and also mysterious experiences, such as seeing ghost or religious objects. The consequences of taking LSD are severe, physical side effects include inducing violent and hazardous behavior, also LSD develops tolerant quickly, so frequent users has to eventually increase dosage.

The other most popular thing is marijuana, or weed. It's usually imported from Africa, Asia, South America and Caribbean, but homegrown weed is getting more and more popular because of the sophistication of growing equipment. The most common effects are talkativeness, cheerfulness, relaxation and greater appreciation of sound and color. It's been said that smoking weed improves performance of creative works such as arts or writing, it also makes skin, hearing and sight very sensitive. Some immediate physical effects of weed use include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, and dry throat. The drug can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time and reduce the ability to do things that require concentration, quick reactions and effective co-ordination. A common bad reaction to marijuana is an acute anxiety attack. People describe this reaction as an extreme fear of "losing control," which causes panic. After all, we advise you all to not to get involved with illegal drugs, since it will cost you greatly both physically and emotionally.

Most teenagers used this drug because it is easy to get and a fun party drug. It also helps for stress on the mind. College teens feels alot of emotions going through the change of life. Living on their own and dealing with problems that mom and dad can't fix. Marijuana is a drug this said to fix it all. That is why today most teens use marijuana and more want to try.

The problems of teenage drug use, depression and suicide are evident in our society. These are very real and threatening issues that have to be dealt with. Going into the 21st century we have to face to problems of our future generations. There are many non-profitable organizations that help teenagers to cope with drug use. There are help lines, community services that offer information about drugs, and individual counseling is available almost in every education institution. There is help available to those who seek it. Would we ever be able to live in a drug free environment? Could we ever educate our future generations so those drug problems would be non-existent? Hopefully the answer is Yes.

1. Arlacchi, Pino. "The Case Against Legalization." Newsweek Nov. 1, 1999, 28.
2. Burroughs, William. Naked Lunch. Paris: Olympia Press, 1959.
3. Gill, Alexandra. "Absinthe Minded." The Globe and Mail Nov. 20, 1999, R14.
4. Lafollette, H. "Drugs." Reprinted in H. LaFollette. Ethics in Practice: An Anthology. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997).
5. MacDonald, Paul. "The Morality of Drug Use." The Philosophers' Magazine (Summer 1999), 21-24.
6. Mill, John Stuart. "Freedom of Action." Reprinted in H. LaFollette. Ethics in Practice: An Anthology. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997).
7. Power, Carla. "Europe Just Says Maybe." Newsweek Nov. 1, 1999, 25-30.
8. Southwell, Matt. "Human Rights for the World's Drug Users." Newsweek Nov. 1, 1999, 29.
9. Wilson, James Q. "Against the Legalization of Drugs." Reprinted in H. LaFollette. Ethics in Practice: An Anthology. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997).
10.Grolier Electronic Encylopedia, Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1995 Grolier Wellness Encyclopedia, Drugs, Society & Behavior. Vol. 3, 1992. Ethan A. Nadelmann
 

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