Students and Teens Drug and Alcohol Abuse
The public should be informed about the effects of teens that use drugs or alcohol in order to create an awareness of the problem in society. In a recent study, 78 percent of U.S. teens had consumed alcohol and 42.5 percent actually tried illegal substances (Castillo1). No one will ever be able to guarantee that teenagers will stop experimenting with illegal substances, but they can be educated in hopes of reducing the number of teens who consume. It is important to inform America's youth of the dangerous risks of substances abuse while they are young and preparing for the future. The consumption of alcohol and/or other illegal substances can cause a great deal of harm to a teenager as their bodies are not fully developed, which increases the likelihood of future addiction issues and/or accidents caused by an attend mindset, some known to result death.
Substance abuse is known to cause physical harm, especially to developing teenagers. "Drinking during this critical growth period can lead to lifelong damage in brain function, particularly as it relates to memory, motor skills (ability to move) and coordination" (Drug Free World1). These effects can impact these teenagers later as they transition into their developing their adult lives. These adults are later effecting how our society is transformed in the next generation and can affect how different our society is going to be. Damaging these parts of the brain can affect how they are able to work in the real world and possibly affect how the world is shaped by the amount of drugs and alcohol consumed. When this generation of teenagers grows up, they will be given the right to vote, make life-changing decisions, and have a voice in society. This generation will be changing the future dramatically and no one will know how the world will be shaped with so many teenagers smoking and doing drugs. This can affect the world's future by how they rule and it could stoop down the intelligence in society. Teenagers might think that they are having the time of their life while under the influence, but the effects on the brain can cause them to live a much shorter life than they think. "4,358 people under age 21 die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning" (NIAA1). They start to believe that nothing will happen to them. They are unstoppable and do not think of the consequences that come with using alcohol irresponsibly. It becomes a lifestyle and do not know how to conform to a different lifestyle than the one they already created. If they are putting their bodies at risk often, they will not be able to go to parties for long and if their social group depends on partying, then they may not have many friends outside of the party scene. The reason the brain is affected so much is because as a teenager, the brain is still developing and evolves with the substances put into the body. As the brain develops with these additional substances in the body, it could have lasting effects on the brain's functions such as memory, mobility, and coordination with the rest of the body. Underage consumption can change society and affect what a teenager does when it comes to future jobs and raising a family later on when decision-making is more important. As the teenagers get older, they will not have a same thought process as adults do now or as the people who did not do drugs or abuse alcohol when they were teenagers. A developing brain will not be growing as properly as it should with these outside influences. Caffeine has been known to stunt growth which is why it is never given to children. If this can be said about a legal substance, then imagine the possible impact of illegal substances.
Abusing the use of drugs and alcohol can become not only addictive, but will most likely continue when the teenager becomes older. Most students are exposed to drugs or alcohol from parties and hanging out with friends that use those substances. "Close to 6 percent of 12th graders report daily use of and 81 percent of them said the drug is easy to get" (NIH1). Teenagers should be more careful at parties because many different dangerous things can happen. Half of the time, their peers may not even realize influence they have on others because they are under the influence too. Many teenagers feel peer pressure to smoke because if they are the only ones of their friends not doing the same thing they are going to fit in with everyone. But many teenagers do not understand that there will be people at their schools that do not smoke and they do not need to fit in with people that can cause trouble for them. Instead of going to parties with the "cool" kids, teenagers can hang out with a group of friends that does not participate in partying, go see a movie, or find some other activity that does not involve substance abuse. There are alternative options in having a good time with your friends instead of smoking or drinking. Teenagers do not need to be passing around illegal substances to be able to bond with their friends or to hang out with them most likely they are not their friends if all they do is smoke together. Or most teenagers do drugs to lash out toward their parents if they are angry with their parents or if they are going through a difficult time. When going through rough time teenagers feel that turning to drugs is more comforting to them and have no one else to go to. But those teenagers have counselors at school or should talk it out with a family member In his 2008 memoir Beautiful Boy, author David Sheff describes his son's descent into addiction beginning as a teenager (Footnote 12). Once incident happened after disappearing for four days, and Nic called his dad, who fetched him in an alleyway not far from their California home (Friedman1). "I started using on a lark, a dare from a best friend who said that I was too chicken to smoke a joint and drink a quart of beer. I was fourteen at that time. After seven years of using and drinking I found myself at the end of the road with addiction" (Paul1). It shows that it only takes one time to get hooked to the drug and start a risky road ahead of them. After that addiction starts as a teenager it is difficult to get off and be able to tell your brain that you do not want to do the drug anymore. Sharing stories like this might help teenagers realize that they can get out of a terrible situation before it is too late and that it does not only affect the teenager but it also effects their families. Hopefully it leads them to a change of heart, to refrain from alcohol and drugs instead of risking their life. Like most substance abusing teenagers, Sheff's son's troubles began when he started hanging out with the wrong crowd at school, a crowd that was getting him in trouble. This story relates many teenagers because they want to hang out with a certain crowd, but do not realize that there are plenty of other teenagers who do not use drugs or alcohol as a social gathering. Many teenagers do not realize that they do not need to smoke just to be able to fit in with a group of people. Most likely they are not their friends if they are peer pressuring them to smoke jut to hang out with them. Most people say that they will stop using after college, but the addiction is likely to continue into adulthood, making it more difficult to stop their addiction later on and some are unable to fully quit. The students will most likely not be able to completely stop after college because they are already addicted to the substance, depending on how long they have been abusing the substance or using it. The longer they have been doing it, the more difficult it will be to quit these habits because the drugs will start effecting parts of the brain such as the decision making part and emotions part of the brain. Most of the addictions start in high school or college when students go to parties where they are introduced to it by friends that are convincing them that intoxication is the way to have a good time and socialize. A lot of people have to go to counseling and have treatments to get off their addiction(s) of drugs and/or alcohol.
Every time a teenager decides to use drugs or alcohol, they are putting their lives in danger, risking the possibility of death for them and others that are driving near them. Drinking can cause people to do foolish things that they would not do if they were sober. When the alcohol goes to the brain it causes the brain to think differently than people that are sober such as wanting to do things that are more daring including drinking and driving. These teenagers might not think drinking and driving is a terrible idea but in fact they are putting their own lives in danger and other peoples on the road. The number of alcoholics who take their own life is extremely high. Some research suggests that up to 21% of this group die this way (Alcohol rehab1). Most teenagers are not responsible with drugs or alcohol, such as wanting to go and do something only because they have a buzz, putting themselves in dangerous situations and doing things they would normally not do if they were sober. Substance-abusing people are not in the right state of mind because the alcohol or drugs can take control of their actions or decisions when it affects the brain. The body can also shut down from drinking if there is too much alcohol in your system over a long period of time. Most people that die from alcohol have fought the disease of alcoholism and had been drinking alcohol over a long period of time. People with alcoholism have a difficult time trying to get out of drinking because the disease is heredity. Once the alcohol has been through the body for a long time, it takes a toll on the body and brain which becomes very harmful to the body over a long period of time. The alcohol goes through the blood stream and travels all the way to the brain, which affects a person's ability to control their brain and how it processes information, controlling the actions they make during the process. Most people have the urge to drive while they are under the influence which has been known to result in deathly or life-changing accidents. It is dangerous to drive under the influence because when the alcohol reached your brain it effects your perception and decision making. When on the road it is very important that your mind is in the right place and knows when to turn or know how to drive in a straight line to not harm people around them also. Intoxication changes a person's perception, judgement, and coordination which are all needed to drive safely. Drinking and driving is a very dangerous risk that most people take because they think they are sober enough to, but in reality, they are not only putting themselves in danger, but the other people who are on the roads as well. There are alternatives to getting home safe without drinking and driving. Teenagers can call someone such as an Uber or a taxi to take them home or make sure there is always someone available to be the designated drunk driver, such as a friend that does not drink at all to help everyone get home safe. This society needs to reduce the number of drunken driving deaths of teenagers each year because under the influence they are not thinking right.
Some of the signs teenagers show that they are doing drugs or using alcohol is behind their parents' back. Most teenagers will start to show less interest in school work and their grades will start dropping without them caring. Also the teenager might show a little more attitude toward their parents and family members because they are being defensive to make sure their family members do not find out. As previously mentioned, these curious teens starting hanging out with new friends that are likely party and can be a bad influence. The friends tend to troublesome and careless about their grades at school or their family. Some other signs include red eyes and complaints about their health, such as being overly tired or their eyes look drab from being tired. Some teens often use over-the-counter eye drops, which could indicate that he or she may be trying to cover up eye redness from smoking marijuana (Health wise staff1). A vast majority of teens get creative with household items they find and use thinks such as soda cans or water bottles to smoke out of. These objects will usually have two holes cut or carved through them and will have burn marks to show that they were using those objects to smoke out of. When these items look distorted or abnormal, it could be a sign that the teen(s) have used it to smoke marijuana. Their clothes may start to have weird stenches or smells such as smoke and/or alcohol on them or even burn holes. The stenches will include smoky smells or the stench of drugs on them or their clothes but they might try and put lots of perfume on them to try and eliminate the stench, so if it is a combination of both most likely the teenager is trying to hide the stench of smoking illegal substance.
When a parent find out their teenager is using illegal substances or abusing alcohol is saddening to them. Parents need to confront their child about using the drugs or alcohol it might be difficult but they might be able to get through to them how dangerous and how much trouble the teenager can get into. When confronting the child the parent needs to use encouraging words instead of judgmental ones because if the teenager hears judgmental words they will want to do just the opposite of what the parent is telling them or will push the teenager away from the parent more. If the teenager is addicted to the substance it is important to take the teenager to get help from trained professionals. The professional might advise that he or she may need to have detoxification treatment, a treatment that replaces the substance with medicine, or might need to go to rehab facilitation (EMH1). These rehab facilitations can help the teenager get back to his or her normal self again. If using the medicine for the teenager it would have to be helped with a combination of family counseling or individual counseling included. Sometimes it is not easy to convince a teenager that drugs are terrible for your body so maybe if you take them to a doctor they will listen and would rather hear the consequence of illegal substance and alcohol abuse from them. Most likely the teenager will not lash out at a doctor if they are just providing them with information and are not lecturing them on what they are doing wrong but just the affects the body is having with the drugs and/or alcohol. This process is very difficult and takes a lot of time so the family needs to be patient with the teenager and be able to keep a good eye on them to make sure they are not going back to relapse. Once the teenager goes back into relapse the parent or family has to start all over again with the process of counseling or go back into rehab facilitations. In some cases teenagers want to get better but are not able to. They are not able to because their brain is already affected in the areas for decision making and emotions. So starting at a young age for children to know the knowledge on the effects of drugs to their bodies and brains is crucial in their early childhood life.
Showing statistics and facts of the harmful risks of drug and alcohol consumption should prove to teenagers that alcohol and drugs is dangerous overall. Raising awareness of the issue will hopefully lessen the amount of teenagers that are putting themselves and others at risk of harm by making stupid mistakes they are not aware of when under the influence. Hopefully the rate for the intake of drugs and alcohol will decrease in the future and teenagers will stop harming their bodies and brains at such a young age. The rate our society is going at there will be more than half of our nation be smoking by the time they are adults by the influence they see around them their whole lives whether it is their parents smoking around them or it is students at school. It is important for people to take action because each year the rate for teenagers consuming drugs and alcohol is on the rise which can cause more harm and possible deaths. If teenagers find out about the effects of drugs and alcohol and what it will eventually do to them, they are more likely to want to stop doing drugs or drinking alcohol in the future. Showing teenagers the statistics might be able to reduce the number of teenager's intake drugs and drug related deaths in the United States.