November 18, 2012
Jackie Hudspeth Jr
The Epidemic of Teenagers Abusing Drugs
To have known so many people that have struggled with drug addiction in their teenage years it has become very apparent what a vital time in one’s life it is to know the dangers of abusing drugs as a teenager. Even though not all teens abuse drugs, it is an epidemic in the United States because more teens are turning to drugs to escape or use out of boredom. Take my younger brother for instance; he has struggled with drug addiction from the time he was a teenager into his early twenties. My brother Matthew started off smoking pot and drinking socially out of boredom. Then he found the drug crack cocaine to escape from reality as his world came crashing down around him. Once he found that drug he went overboard and started stealing electronics and pawning them for money to buy his drugs. From there he would also beg people for money and obtain it to get his fix. He would clean up for about a week at a time but would fall right back into it. He would blast his music in his room while he was high on drugs. He would also disappear for days at a time while on a drug binge. After stealing everything in my mother’s house my mother finally committed him to a drug rehabilitation center. The first one failed. The second one failed. Matthew just could not get off the drugs. He to this day struggles with drug addiction, and he is now twenty four. However Matthew is just one of many with stories like these. Let us look at how many others are a part of this vicious cycle known as drug abuse among teens. A lot of teenagers abuse drugs for a variety of reasons, stress from school, social acceptance or low self-esteem, self-medication, misinformation, and easy access to name several. Seventy three percent of teens of teens report the number one reason for using drugs is to deal with the pressures and stress of school. This was done by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (2010). They have to deal with the pressures of being socially accepted, what clothes they are wearing if they are “cool” and the overall stress of their schoolwork. Self-medication being another reason teenagers use drugs is huge. One self-medicates to deal with all types of stress that they feel like they cannot cope with. There was a study conducted in 2009 that reported an estimated seventy percent of teens suffer from undiagnosed clinical depression perhaps at some point in their life. Depression is a leading cause and effect of why teens turn to drugs. Many teens are unaware that they have an underlying mental or mood disorder that is causing them to use illegal or prescription drugs to self-medicate and cope with their symptoms. Teenagers abuse drugs due to misinformation with studies showing that many teenagers do not know the effects of drugs. Most teens do not see any major risk with abusing drugs. Forty one percent of teens mistakenly believe that it is safer to abuse a prescription drug over a street drug. Teens also abuse drugs for social acceptance. They want to be accepted by their peers so they do drugs just to be part of a group or clique. Another reason is low self-esteem. People who feel down on themselves are more likely to abuse drugs to feel better about themselves. Easy access is one of the main reasons teenagers easily get addicted to drugs. Almost fifty percent of teenagers say it is easy for them to get marijuana; seventeen percent say it is easy to get methamphetamine; fourteen percent mention that it is easy obtain heroine and over fifty percent of teens say it is easy to get prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets. Let us explore how one teenager became addicted to drugs by going through the medicine cabinets of his own family. This teenager was a football star and had made more wins for his team than he can count. But he started to have troubling pain in his hamstring....