* Number of factors can contribute to teen substance abuse. Contributing factors include individual characteristics such as aggressive behavior, poor social skills and mental illness. Families who provide inadequate parental supervision or have a history of parental substance abuse or criminal behavior increase the likelihood of teen substance abuse. Additionally, community factors include readily available drugs and poverty. Teens use alcohol and drugs for a number of reasons including attempts to fit in, to increase confidence, to mask symptoms of mental illness and to manage stress. The more risk factors that a teen has, the more likely he or she is to engage in substance abuse. Individual Factors
* Biological and environmental factors shape a child's personality and behaviors. Individual factors that can contribute to teen substance abuse include early aggressive behavior, poor social skills and mental illness. Early aggressive behaviors include biting, hitting and kicking. Young children need to learn to manage their anger or frustration and control aggressive behaviors. Poor social skills include an inability to develop and maintain friendships, frequent interrupting and poor hygiene. These attributes make it difficult for children to form attachments and develop peer relationships, which leads to social isolation. Children with mental health concerns including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety or depression frequently use drugs or alcohol as a way to feel better, calmer or less anxious. Family Factors
* Families and peers provide social structure for teens. When a family does not provide adequate parental supervision, teens may begin to feel isolated and will seek connections with others, often other teens with inadequate supervision. Peers who use drugs and alcohol or who engage in criminal activities contribute to the risk of teen substance abuse. Additionally, a family history of parental substance abuse or criminal behavior substantially increases the risk of teen substance abuse. Community Factors
* The community, which includes the school the teen attends as well as the neighborhood and town where the family lives, has a significant impact on teen substance abuse. Communities with high rates of poverty and easy access to illegal drugs consistently have high rates of teen substance abuse. Children who live in communities that do not have safe places for children to play or positive activities for youths to participate in often fail to develop a connection to their community. Protective Factors
* While a teen may have several risk factors, increasing the number of protective factors will reduce the risk of a teen experimenting with drugs and alcohol and developing an addiction. Individual protective factors include self-control, healthy peer relationships, participation in positive social activities and academic achievement. Family protective factors include adequate parental monitoring, open communication, and support and encouragement. Communities can protect teens and help to reduce the risk of substance abuse by providing
* Anti-drug policies and programs, as well as providing healthy social activities that increase the teen's sense of connection to their community.
PS 375-2of a new millennium, we are faced with challenges to our survival as a human population. Some of the greatest threats to our survival are sweeping epidemics that affect millions of individuals worldwide. Drug addiction, although often regarded as a personality disorder, may also be seen as a worldwide epidemic with evolutionary genetic, physiological, and environmental influences controlling this behavior. Globally, the use of drugs has reached all-time highs. On average, drug popularity differs from nation to nation. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime identified major problem drugs on each continent...