Drugs and alcohol have become so common in the world’s middle and high schools that for many students, schools days have become something to look forward to because of the experiments with substances. Relying on survey responses, researchers have reached the conclusion that 80% of America’s high school students and 44% of middle schoolers have individually engaged in substance abuse (MedicineNet. 2012). The two levels of schooling comprise of teenagers between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. In most schools, engaging in drug abuse includes possession, drug dealing, use, and students high on alcohol or drugs. Approximately, America has 16 million teenagers between the ages of 13 to 18 years whom are subject to drug and substance abuse while in school. In this study paper, we seek to explore the causes for the rise in drug abuse amongst teenagers while in school. Research in teenager substance abuse indicates that drug abuse trend has grown over the years especially for school going teenagers. Experimentation with alcohol and drugs during the ages of 13 to 18 years is common in the current society. There are various reasons behind this rise of drug abuse in school-going teenagers which range from home to the school environment. According to research, there are numerous causes of teenage drug abuse, each of which can contribute to a life-long habit of abusing drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. Certain circumstances have been identified as risk factors for developing a drug habit at an early age (MedicineNet. 2012)
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Prevalence of Drug abuse among Teenagers
Teenagers abuse a variety of drugs, both illegal and legal. Legally available drugs include prescribed medications, alcohol, over the counter cough, sleep, diet medications, and inhalants. The most commonly abused illegal drugs include stimulants, marijuana, heroin, opiates, and designer drugs. According to the recent statistics, the use of illegal drug is increasing especially school going teenagers. Notably, the average age of first marijuana use is at the age of 14 while alcohol can start as early as 13. The average abuse of marijuana and alcohol in high school has become common. There are many causes of teenage drug abuse including lack of parental involvement, a lack of education on the dangers of drugs, and an atmosphere of tolerance at schools.
Reasons for Drug Abuse
The major reason behind increase in school going teenagers’ substance abuse is lack of supervision. Lack of supervision from all the relevant authorities has led to teenagers engaging in alcohol and cigarette abuse (Walding, 2010). Mostly, poor parental supervision from home and school gives teenagers freedom to experiment with both illegal and legal drugs. Teenagers who are left alone for long periods or who have freedom of movement and socializing will have more opportunities for exposure to drugs. For instance, school hours have in the recent past increased such that students spend a better part of their day in school. For this reason, their exposure to other students who engage in drugs is high hence the need for experimentation with these substances. Parents assume teachers will oversee their children while in school hence minimal supervision even when they leave school. It is necessary that parents engage themselves in their children’s school activities as these can report any wayward adapted.
Availability of alcohol and cigarettes is another major cause of rising teenagers drug abuse. If there is alcohol and other substances in homes and children can have access to them, then their friends will also have access to the substances. Availability of drugs and other substances is one of the reasons teenagers are getting high while in school. In most cases, teenagers will carry these drugs to school where they can experiment with their friends and have fun. More so, in schools, there is minimal supervision from teachers, therefore more freedom to get high. Availability is also an issue when it comes to retailers. Retailers sell alcohol and cigarettes to teenagers who do not possess valid identification hence contributing to the rise of drug abuse in schools. Research indicates that most retailers of these drugs are money minded that they little concern over the buyers of their goods. Most states and countries have come with programs to make sure purchasers of alcohol and cigarettes produce ID. In addition, schools should come with measures which restrict carrying of drugs in schools. For those teenagers who cannot access drugs in their homes buy the products from their classmates in schools. The business is rampant in high schools because the demand is high from the teenagers. Every school should have a zero tolerance policy for drug use, including suspensions for intoxicated students and mandatory treatment programs for repeat offenders. Schools do not monitor students as they come and go and this gives them a chance to trade in drugs business.
Lack of communication between parents, teachers, and teenagers has led to the increase in drug abuse while in school. There is little or no knowledge concerning the dangers of engaging in alcohol and cigarettes abuse (Vogel, 2012). Most schools lack programs and facilities which can help educate teenagers on the dangers of drug abuse especially at a tender age. In addition, at home parents do not engage teenagers in discussions about drugs and their dangers on their lives, health, and future existence. For this reason, teenagers access information concerning drugs from their friends and classmates which is usually inaccurate. Most teenagers only understand that alcohol and cigarettes will make them high and increase their self-esteem. From another perspective, teenagers normally go through a stressful period because of certain life circumstances they undergo. Apart from the challenges of growing up due to psychological and physical changes coupled with a lot of concerns and pressures hence stressful sessions. Researchers report that stress management is not an easy process and most people will find a way to manage these stresses. For teenagers, they only have themselves to manage stress and challenges they undergo. In such situations, teenagers will seek for ways to relieve their stresses and majorly this will be through drug abuse.
Every day, thousands of young people, school going teenagers, experiment with illicit drugs especially alcohol and cigarettes. While many of the teenagers will never take their drug use beyond the experimentation level, far too many will continue to engage in this behavior later in life. It is evident from the above discussion that various causes have led to the recent rise of teenagers’ drug abuse in school. There is no question that drinking and smoking is a problem in most high schools. Teenagers have access to these drugs at parties, while in school, and can buy from retailers at a cheaper and affordable price. Lack of parental supervision at home and school is a major cause to this rise. Both parents and teachers ignore their roles on the upbringing of teenagers hence the freedom to access alcohol and cigarettes while in school. Lack of communication between parents and teenagers on the dangers of drug abuse is another reason for the rise in substance abuse. All alcohol use by teens should be regarded as dangerous, not only because of the risk of alcoholism but because teen drinkers put themselves in harm’s way.
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