Professional Journal Articles on Social Concerns Due to Substance Abuse
Article 1: The social contagion effect of marijuana use among adolescents, by Mir, M. Ali, Aliaksandr Amialchuk and Debra, S. Dwyer
Ali et al (2011) in their research point out that substance abuse among adolescents is connected to the behavior of these teenagers as well as that of their peers. This research utilizes multivariate structural model in collaboration with school-level fixed effects (based on nationally representative adolescent samples) to give an account of the problems of contextual and correlated effects, as well as peer selections with a view of purging the likely biases in peer influence estimates (Ali, Amialchuk & Dwyer, 2011). There are, according to this article, three effects that are realized. These include the endogenous, contextual- also referred to as the exogenous, and the correlated effects. Endogenous effect is actually realized in the event that the behavior of an individual responds to that of others in the reference group they belong to. Illustratively, there is a high probability of a person using marijuana if the rate of its usage is equally high among the peers (the reference group) (Ali, Amialchuk & Dwyer, 2011). This is because friends’ engagement in such activities plays a role of developing a social norm which has potential of compelling a person to use such drugs so that he/she fits in the peer group.
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The murky waters in this article are the exogenous effect. Contextual or exogenous effect arises in the event that a person reacts to the reference group’s exogenous characteristics. It is not clear how the rate of substance abuse among the adults is likely to have a dominating impact on drug use among young peers. The other unclear aspect highlighted by Ali et al (2011) is the correlated effect. This effect is realized in the event that same group individuals since they possess similar characteristics which may be unobservable.
The question yet to be answered in this article is whether witnessing the bad conduct among adult users of marijuana can discourage young people from using it.
Article 2: Alcohol use among pregnant and non-pregnant women of childbearing Age- United States, 1991-2005, by Denny, C., Tsai, J., Floyd, R. and Green, P
This article clearly states that excessive consumption of alcohol when a woman is pregnant is a risk factor for considerably poor birth results. These poor consequences include birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as low birth weight. According to this research, it is noted that fetal alcohol syndrome in the U.S. lies between 0.5 to 2.0 cases per every a thousand births. On the other hand though, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) were found to be realized thrice as often as fetal alcohol syndrome. As a result, this article gives advice- on a surgeon’s perspective that pregnant women or even those of the female populace who have the prospects of becoming pregnant ought to refrain from the use of alcohol (Denny et al, 2009). Particularly, binge drinking noted to be harmful to the brain development of the fetus. The article makes a suggestion that health care providers ought to routinely talk with childbearing age women on the issue of alcohol use and thereafter inform them of the dangers that such a behavior while pregnant poses. They also ought to avail advice that will deter them from being alcoholic during their pregnancy or if there are possibilities of then becoming pregnant.
The murky issue in this article is on the percentage of women who take alcohol during pregnancy. This article also highlights that from the findings obtained from data collected from Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, the popularity of both binge drinking and alcohol use among women (whether pregnant or non-pregnant) of a childbearing age had hardly changed between 1992 and 2005. Their percentages raged from 17.7% for the aged women (between 35 and 44 years), 14.4% college graduates, 13.7% were employed while 13.4% were singles (Denny et al, 2009). It is not clear how many pregnant women actually engage in binge drinking among the statistics given.
However, the questions about the strategies that will ensure that this is put into practice are hardly listed. Moreover, policy measures have not been instituted to govern the same or as to what measures should be taken to those who fault what has been laid on as pertains to pregnancy and alcoholism.
Article 3: Alcohol and student performance: estimating the effect of legal access, by Lindo, J.M., Swensen, I.D. and Waddell, G.R.
According to this article, alcohol consumption has been attached to adverse social, health and academic outcomes. The research analysis of this article clearly depicts that alcohol and its associated legal access has adverse impacts of the performance of scholars. Access to alcohol by scholars made their grades reduce by 0.03 standard deviations on approximation. These reductions can be likened to the student performance with the SAT score being lower than twenty (Lindo, Swensen & Waddell, 2011). Notably, it was found out that those clocking their twenty first birthdays are more likely to be ushered into alcoholism and this in most cases tends to occur towards the end of the learning term as contrasted to the beginning of the term. It is undeniable that academic performance towards the end of the terms declines measurably as a result of attaining this alcohol legal access age. Moreover, most of the students trade off the high academic grades with perceived high-quality leisure. More often than not, these scholars of an alcoholic origin display disabilities in learning as well as other behavioral problems which negatively affect their performance in academics. This therefore calls for keen consideration of the long-term outcomes of the legal access to alcohol to the academic performance of the scholars (Lindo, Swensen & Waddell, 2011).
However, the murky issue of this paper and the study is that the way forward to ensure that teenage scholars do not access alcohol with ease and especially towards the end of the academic term has not been suggested or recommended.
One question yet unanswered is the possibility of amending the age policy as pertains to alcohol access still remains an open clause.
Article 4: Social impacts of an addiction- drug addiction by Meci8.com
Besides psychological and physical effects, substance addiction also has social effects. These effects not only affects the individuals but has far reaching effects to others including friends, employers, family members, healthcare professionals and at large, the society. This article looks on all these facets but the main focus here is on marriage or relationships. Drug addiction has adverse effects on the spouse of the addicted person. A drug addict is likely to change from his/her earlier personality to being a person of violent outbursts, secrecy, and swinging mood among other behaviors which are extremes. In the event that children get in the mix, the situation becomes complicated since these children are not only distressed but also become confused. Moreover, is in inevitable that a person suffering from drug addiction is almost always complaining of being in financial difficulties (Meci8.com, 2011). Besides, they become irrational and may later end up being criminals and the situation may be dire to the extent of causing marriage breakages. Besides being violent, a drug addict tends to be selfish, oblivious when it comes to other concerns and self-centered. He/she neglects his familial social responsibilities such as paying for various household bills such as rent and mortgages.
This article is quite detailed with relevant information about drug addiction and its social effects. However, it hardly mentions of the remedies which can be relied upon.
The question that can be raised here is whether the social effects are similar among male and female drug users.
Article 5: Prescription drug abuse among youth raises concerns, by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
According to this article, the non-medical use of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs among adolescents is on the increase. This rise in usage has been catalyzed by a number of factors. SAMHSA (2011) notes that the adolescent populace considers prescription drugs as considerably safer to use as compared to illicit drugs. Their argument is based on the fact that these drugs are actually taken as prescribed by a medical practitioner. On the contrary, prescription drugs may prove to be equally harmful as the illicit ones in the event that they are misused or abused. Prescription drug abuse is also rampant among the teenagers because they are in a position to access them with ease. Statistically, approximately 65 per cent of the teens who have ended up abusing pain relievers ordinarily receive them from either a relative or a friend. Additionally, 46% receive them free of charge while 10% do steal the drugs.
Having noted such skyrocketing rates of prescription drug abuse, SAMHSA (2011) pinpoints a number of measures that parents, guardians and other stakeholders can take in efforts to avert prescription drug abuse among the youths. Leading in the list of these measures is the safe and secure storage of these prescription medications where minors are unable to reach. This prevents the unauthorized use of these medications or even their subsequent accidental ingesting. Moreover, expired medications ought to be properly disposed. Parents, guardians and caregivers are obliged to bring to the attention of the youths that prescription medications are only safer than illicit drugs if they are properly used. Such discussions ought to be often convened (SAMHSA, 2011). The question of the absence of drug-take program is also addressed in this article.
However, this article has a shortcoming in that it fails to address the extent to which the above highlighted measures have implemented as well as their efficiency.
A question that remains unanswered is whether legal measures can be taken against youth who abuse prescription medication.