The escape life’s ups and downs. The feeling

The
feeling of instant gratification, being able to be in one’s own state of mind,
numbing the pain and just fighting to escape life’s ups and downs. The feeling of
being “high” without knowing the dangers and effects of the mind-altering
substance that is being consumed. One would think to themselves if parents,
guardians and teachers are paying much attention to these adolescents and
playing their role in instilling responsibility and cautiousness into our
leaders of tomorrow.

The
question is what causes adolescents to associate themselves with drug use and
abuse and the major reasons why they fall back to the drugs as a shelter to
hide the problems that they are facing in life?

Might
it be because some countries in the world are legalizing some of these drugs
like Marijuana for example, which is a schedule 1 drug and allowing them for
recreational use which leads to them being more freely and easily accessible to
young adults? We shall focus more
on marijuana since it is the main drug that is used by teenagers according to
The National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2014. NIH stated that alcohol and
tobacco were the most frequent drugs used by minor adolescents then comes
marijuana which is mostly used by teens. According to a
source called Debating Europe in their article titled “Arguments for and
against legalising cannabis” which suggests that marijuana or as they stated it
“weed”  is less harmful than alcohol
which is stated as “booze” and keeping it illegal is hypocrisy. It also
suggests cannabis having multiple proven health benefits such as preventing
epilepsy and treating glaucoma in their arguments for.

In Debating Europe’s arguments against marijuana legalization, they
state that if it is legalized a lot of people will use it. Not to mention that
cannabis is very addictive and a few research studies show that one out of ten
marijuana users develop dependency in the long run and leads to withdrawals.

Teenagers use drugs and other mind altering substances because of
instant gratification which is commonly known as being high, peer pressure and
social media.

Firstly, the main
reason why teenagers use drugs and other mind altering and body relaxation
substances because of instant gratification or nowadays being labelled as being
high. Instant gratification being linked to drug use and abuse is the feeling
of  immediately being satisfied by drugs
in order to feel a specific way mostly trying to escape life’s problems or just
to start a rebellion. It may also be the very quick attainability of being
happy through altering your mood with drugs such as cocaine, heroin, codeine
cough syrup and mainly marijuana which is the mostly used drug by teenagers.  According to the National Institute on Drug
Abuse (2014) in their article and research paper titled “Why do adolescents
take drugs?”, they explain that the main reasons why adolescents try and use
drugs and why they continue using them is because they just want to feel good
and they want to fit in and they just want to experiment and experience the drugs.
Basically this source provides evidence which emphasises the reasons why
adolescents use drugs and strongly points out the main reason as wanting to
feel good which is similar to instant gratification or being high. Another
source  that agrees with instant
gratification as being the main reason why adolescents use drugs comes from an
article published  by Psychology today
titled “Why Teens Get High”, in paragraph number five the articles explains
that teens may think that getting high or intoxicated is fun or exciting but
however they are very unaware of the major side effects of taking drugs, in
this case they used marijuana as an example and labelled major side effects
such as it interferes with learning abilities, lessens attention span, lessens
coordination and balance and that it also interferes with one’s judgement and
decision making abilities. “By using improved Web and handheld device
strategies to distribute research findings, we can reach a broader audience,”
according to NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. This suggests that teens can use
this guide to gain information on drugs and drug abuse in order to gain
knowledge on this topic and stop teen drug abuse. All sources give evidence as
to why instant gratification causes teenagers to take drugs.

Secondly, Peer pressure is also a reason why
teenagers use drugs. Peer pressure in amongst teenagers is behaviour that is
influenced from members of a teenager’s peer group. In this case being
influenced to take drugs and other substances because members in the group
would believe that it is cool so some teenagers would give in to peer pressure
in order to fit in and be part of the group. According to an organisation
called the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for teens) in their
2012 research titled Why Does Peer Pressure Influence Teens To Try Drugs, they
point out that teenagers use or try drugs because of peer pressure and how the
brain is a gateway in order for teens to give into peer pressure. In this
research NIDA for teens suggested that teenagers driving with their peers in the
car were highly likely to take risks if other friends were watching for
example, driving or speeding through yellow traffic lights. NIDA for teens’
research suggest that when making decisions teenagers think about the risks and
rewards of their actions but are highly likely to not even think about the
consequences in favour of the gains. In their research they also monitored the
brain activity in the teenage drivers and results concluded that knowing that
friends were watching activates regions in the brain that are linked with
rewards especially in situations such teen drivers making risky decisions. According
to a survey carried out by Foundation For A Drug-Free World to find out why
teenagers started using drugs 55% of the teenagers admitted that the reason why
they tried drugs the first time was because of peer pressure from their friends
all because they wanted to be popular and cool and drug dealers know this so
they can use this same form of peer pressure to be able to sell drugs to
teenagers so that they keep using drugs. Supporting evidence also comes from
Drug Wise, which is an organisation that promotes evidence based information on
drugs, alcohol and tobacco in  research
based article titled Why do young people take drugs they found out that the
reason why young people take drugs is because of many factors such as
enjoyment, environment and peer pressure as the main factor. In this case the
research makes us understand that enjoyment and the environment lead to peer
pressure because when teenagers see other people or their peers enjoying in a
drug prone environment they feel pressured to do what their peers are doing.
Not only do these citations pin point the role of peer pressure in the use of
drugs by teenagers but they also show what leads teenagers into being pressured
to take drugs.

 

           Thirdly, Social media impacts today’s
teenagers in many ways either in a positive way or in negative way. Social
media influence is also one of the major reasons why teenagers take drugs.
Social media can come in many forms such as the internet, music, music videos.
Music such as rock and hip-hop sometimes promote substance use in their CD’s or
music videos and promote use of drugs such as Marijuana and LSD and make it
seem as if it’s okay, so teenagers basically try to be like these celebrities
in order to be cool or to be like them. In a 2013 article published by The
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids in order to educate parents on how to understand
the reasons why their children might be taking drugs and ways in which they can
help stop the substance intake. The Partnership explains that teenagers may
take drugs because of popular media which includes the type of music which the
teens listen to and movies they watch which idolize marijuana and other drugs
and makes it seem as if it is cool.  The
article also explains that teens see other people taking drugs because nowadays
social scenes involve smoking marijuana and drinking , for example celebrities
post pictures of themselves smoking marijuana on social networking sites such
as Facebook and Instagram and teenagers follow the trend and their aim is to
gain more followers or popularity on Instagram. According to the project
director for the survey and senior policy analyst with CASAColumbia Emily
Feinstein in a report covered by the U.S News and world report “Seeing teens
partying with alcohol or marijuana on Facebook and other sites encourages other
teens to want to party like that”. This clearly shows that teenagers are
strongly influenced by social media to take drugs.

However,
an organisation called Get Smart About Drugs which is under the United States
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published an article called Why do Teens
Use Drugs focusing on the main reasons why teenagers use drugs. Here they only
focused on Risk Factors and Protective factors for drug use. In this case the
risk factors would be events which may lead or increase the chance of a
teenager using or abusing drugs. Risk factors include low self-esteem, permissive
parenting and to lesser extent associating in a community that is highly linked
with intake of alcohol and smoking.

Whereas
protective factors are those characteristics that reduce the teenager’s risk of
using drugs and preventing drug addiction. Protective factors include bonding with
parents, high self-esteem, staying in a community not associated with drugs and
also basic abstinence. This is very helpful because it gives parents,
educators, and caregivers insight on what causes teenagers to take drugs and
also how to prevent them from taking drugs and to stop them from taking drugs.

 

In
conclusion, teenagers use drugs and
other mind altering substances because of instant gratification which is
commonly known as being high, peer pressure and social media. In order for
teenage drug usage I recommend that educators, parents, guardians and
caregivers to educate the teenagers on the major effects of controlled and
uncontrolled substances towards their health and social life  and how it may make a negative impact in their
future and however point out the benefits of abstaining from drugs.