Youth Drug Abuse

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Youth Drug Abuse Profile

Drug addiction is a complex but treatable disease. It is characterized by compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use that persist even in the face of severe adverse consequences. For many people, drug abuse becomes chronic, with relapses possible even after long periods of abstinence. In fact, relapse to drug abuse occurs at rates similar to those for other well-characterized, chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. As a chronic, recurring illness, addiction may require repeated episodes of treatment before sustained abstinence is achieved. Through treatment tailored to individual needs, people with drug addiction can recover and lead productive lives. Profiles and Risk Factors

It is an undisputed fact that addictions amongst teenagers are on the rise. Easy availability of drugs, coupled with improved monetary condition of many homes appears to be the prime drivers (J.C. Merill, 1994). Peer pressure and high parental expectations are also high on the list.

The most alarming trend is the increasing use of illegal drugs, tobacco, and alcohol among youth. Children who use these substances increase the chance of acquiring life-long dependency problems. They also incur greater health risks. Every day, three thousand children begin smoking cigarettes regularly; as a result, a third of these youngsters will have their lives shortened (Policy, 1996). According to a study conducted by Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, children who smoke marijuana are eighty-five times more likely to use cocaine than peers who never tried marijuana (Policy, 1996). The use of illicit drugs among eighth graders is up 150 percent over the past five years (J.C. Merill, 1994). While alarmingly high, the prevalence of drug use among today’s young people has not returned to near-epidemic levels of the late 1970s. The most important challenge for drug policy is to reverse these dangerous trends (Policy, 1996).

Addiction to illegal drugs is America’s No. 1, preventable, health problem. Addiction to any drug (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drug) is a chronic illness requiring a continuum of care (J.C. Merill, 1994). The abuse of alcohol and tobacco is a critically important, greatly under-funded, National problem. 50-75% of adolescents in psychiatric care use substance abuse (Policy, 1996). Drug use is drug abuse and, however it begins, leads to dependence (psychological) and potentially addiction (Policy, 1996).

Early drug use often leads to other forms of unhealthy, unproductive behavior (J.C. Merill, 1994). Illegal drugs are associated with premature sexual activity (with attendant risks of unwanted pregnancy and exposure to sexually-transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS), delinquency, and involvement in the criminal justice system (Policy, 1996). The solution of this problem in our society requires a greater partnership of the community with our schools, providers, policy makers, funders, scientists and media.

America needs to be brought back to reality on the issue of drugs within high schools. Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs, inhalants, date-rape drugs, and others are all too prevalent within our education system. There needs to be a defiant cry out of either parents or drug-free students that truly care about bringing our children and teenagers back to a clean and drug-free state. Correction, Detention, and Courts

Juveniles may be referred to Juvenile Court if no Family Court division exists in a particular Circuit Court (New York State Unified Court System, 2008). There may be a Juvenile Court division with jurisdiction over certain types of cases. Cases heard by a Juvenile Court division include children alleged to be in need of care and treatment, children alleged to be beyond the control of their parents, juvenile delinquency, truancy, adoption and guardianships (The Guide to Missouri Courts, 2008).

The Child Protective and Permanency...
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