DRUGS & SOCIETY
From the 1970s to today, the world of recreational drugs has changed in many ways, but not completely. In the past, drugs like LSD and crack-cocaine were the “big thing;” now, the usage of drugs is turning towards prescription drugs like Vicodin and Xanax. Prescription drugs are more dangerous for many reasons; foremost, because of their availability. Naturally, high availability most definitely will cause a high rate of usage, resulting in many people abusing prescription drugs. There are many programs that focus on drug education and prevention, but some would argue that these programs do not work, because of such easy accessability. Therefore, teenage drug use is a more serious issue today than it was in the seventies and eighties due to the increase in availability, especially regarding prescription drugs. Drug use among teenagers and people in general has been changing as time goes on. In the 1970s, drugs were becoming very popular without people knowing the whole truth about them (Robison). LSD was very popular in this time period, and was somewhat popular among teenagers, and has reached its top usage rate of thirty percent. Fortunately, today, that rate has dropped to just below ten percent, and LSD has been proven to be non-addictive (Teen). During the 1980s, the use of crack-cocaine beat alcohol by eight percent in a poll asking which substance is the most serious problem today. Crack was used so often because it was very cheap, very available, and also caused many people to become addicted. These two drugs were the drugs on the rise throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, but since then, the usage rate among teens and young adults has dropped significantly (Robison). In the current generation, it is easy to see the change in popularity, and the usage rates of drugs among teenagers. While the use of tobacco, methamphetamines, cocaine, alcohol, and LSD has dropped, marijuana is still being used by about the same amount of high school kids as it has been five years ago, and the abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise. Sixty percent of teenage drug users use marijuana and marijuana only. This is the highest percentage of drug abuse for teenagers today, and is obviously a serious problem (Anderson). Another serious issue is that the rate of teens abusing prescription drugs is on the rise. Being abused by over twenty percent of the American population, prescription drugs are the most widely abused drug in the United States. A study shows that painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin have been abused by twenty percent of teenagers in America (Prescription). The rate of prescription drug abuse among teenagers has been, and still is, increasing at an alarming rate. Today, although many of the original drugs have decreased in use among teenagers, there are many other issues that can add to the current problem. For example, there are many misconceptions about the drugs, their effects, and the type of people who use them. A specific example illustrates this on January 14, 2005; a law-school student in California had taken OxyContin and drank alcohol later, causing his death. His mother said that she had no idea this would happen because her son was a promising student and had no history of drug use. Today though, more people are starting to realize that prescription drugs are being used for other reasons than just to get high. Seventy-nine percent of the people who had abused a painkiller said they had done so to relieve pain, and about eleven percent said that the drugs were taken to get high. Other reasons for the use of prescription drugs were because they were cheaper for parties than alcohol were, and drugs like Ritalin were taken to stay awake during the night to keep up with schoolwork (Prescription). Many parents who think that their children are not at risk of drug abuse may be in for a surprise in the future. Many factors are contributing to the steady use of drugs among teenagers and young adults...
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