Drug Abuse Essay
Drug Abuse Among American Teenagers
Drug abuse in America is a major problem. Especially among teenagers. Drugs have hurt the lives of nearly 40 percent of all teenagers in America. Either with health problems, DWIs, highway crashes, arrests, impaired school and job performance. These drugs that teenagers use range from Alcohol, LSD, Marijuana, and even Cigarettes. Most of the teenagers that are involved in drug abuse have either, broken families, parents that are drug abusers, a unstable environment where they are constantly moving from place to place, or there parents aren’t exactly making a lot of money and they are never around because they are trying to make enough money for them to survive. But even to most ordinary teenager can have a drug problem depending on there friends, and relationship with there family. These teenagers turn to drugs because they have no where else to turn. There family members aren’t ever around, or hardly ever around. Some teens may have there parents around, but they too are involved with drug abuse, giving little or no attention to there children. They may have dropped out of school, or aren’t meeting the standards set for them to meet, giving them a sense that they aren’t worth anything.
So what do they do? They turn to drugs, thinking that it will take all there problems away. They soon discover new friends with the same outlook on drugs as they have. And now they have a place to turn, a place where they will not be rejected or put down, a place where nothing matters, everyday is a good day. Until they finally just fall apart. The reason most teens get involved in drugs is because they have what’s called a low inner and outer containment. Inner containment is what people believe is right and wrong, like your beliefs and morals. These ideas are taught to you at a young age by your parents, and other people in your life that are important to you. If your inner containment is low, meaning that you don’t have people that have put ideas into your head about what’s right and wrong, then your chance of being a drug abuser increases. Outer containment is like the law, teachers, friends, and family. If you have a lot of people around you that are constantly telling you drugs are bad, you will be less likely to get involved with the drugs because you don’t wanna let these people down. But if you don’t have very many people around you like teachers say if you dropped out or something. Then you don’t have anyone telling you not to do drugs, which means you will probably do them. But if you have a strong social bond (i.e. attachment to parents, school, church, etc.) you will be less likely to become deviant because you don’t want to let them down. If a person has a low inner and outer containment, they probably don’t feel to great about themselves either, and feel as if they are lost in society. They look for someone to lead them, or look for a way out. When a person doesn’t know what to do, they are more prone to get involved with deviance. This theory is known as Anomie. Differential Association ties in with the containment theory also. It means that people will learn to be deviant (i.e. drug abuse) by the examples sent to them by important people in our lives. These important people could be parents, and family. When you grow up you always look to your parents as a role model, and everything they do you want to do. They develop ideas in your head also about what’s right and wrong, these ideas are constructed realities. If a teenagers parents are involved with drugs, the teen or child will observe that and think that it is OK for them to do the same thing, because they think it must be normal, after all the parents do it, why can’t they? Another example of Differential Association would be with friends. If some of the teenagers friends are involved with drugs, the teen is more likely to get involved with them because of peer pressure from them. They also have a need to fit in with them and they will do anything to gain that acceptance. Along with Differential Association comes Differential Reinforcement. Reinforcement is what a teenager would get from his peers. Lets say the teen starts doing drugs like the rest of his friends, and they start praising him for doing it. The teen will want to continue doing it so that he continues getting praised. The next theory that can cause deviance or drug abuse among teens is known as labeling theory. This is when a teenager gets labeled as being a drug abuser, and then they continue to use drugs because everyone around them treats them the way the label says they are. The teenager will view them treating them this way and start to think that they must be that way, and conform to it. This is known as Thomas Theorem. Pretty soon the label will takeover there life, and everything they do will be because the label says that that is how they must act. Giving them a master status to follow. Merton has another explanation of why teens get involved in drugs. He calls them innovators. Innovators accept the goals of being successful but try to get them through disapproved means. The goal in this situation is that a teen wants to be happy. And if a teenager is a part of a broken home, or is depressed they may look to drugs thinking that if they use them they will become happy. Which could explain why some teens get involved. Some teenagers have also been oppressed by society, an have no choice but to be involved with drugs. How this works is that the economy system is setup so that some folks will never have very high paying jobs. And if this happens it effects the children’s parents, giving them less chance to make a lot of money. and if the parents aren’t making very much money they have to get more jobs to support there family. So if the parents are never home to be with there children, then the child’s inner containment goes down and thus the deviance goes up. Make sense? Hope so… As you can see there are many things that can cause drug abuse to occur with teens. But what can people do to stop this from happening? There are lots of things you can do to prevent everything I just talked about from happening. Family experiences have a strong influence on whether young people develop drug problems. Strong family bonds and effective communication between parents and children may help protect children from the many social and emotional factors that trigger drug abuse. If parents would just talk to there kids about drugs, and the problems that occur from drug use the amount of drug abuse in America would go down. Parents also need to know the signs and symptoms of drug abuse, and if any of them occur they should seek help. Teenagers face strong pressures from their peers to use drugs. If people would take them the time to teach them how to make sound decisions, and how to communicate more effectively will help them resist peer pressure to use drugs. Starting programs that offer ways of having fun without having drugs is also another way of showing teens that drugs is not the way to go. And that you don’t need them to have fun. The school system can help to. By setting up educational programs like D.A.R.E in schools will help keep children away from drugs. Teaching them the consequences of drug abuse. But schools cannot do it alone, they have to be backed up and supported by parents. Doctors, and counselors can also help prevention of drug abuse. By offering information about drugs, and setting up rehab programs for those involved in drugs. Churches are a great source for help in the problem in drug abuse, they already setup drug-free activities, also they provide youth and families identify and solve problems before they can worsen and be complimented with drug abuse. Local businesses have an important role to play in prevention. Businesses can sponsor programs for the youth, and donate materials and services for programs that help teenagers stay away from drugs. The mass media provide messages that shape and reinforce people’s beliefs and attitudes about alcohol and other drugs. The media play an important role in prevention because they reach millions of people. Radio and television stations can cover prevention news stories, interview prevention experts to inform the community about effective prevention approaches, and broadcast public service messages to promote prevention. As you can see there are a lot of things you can do to prevent drug abuse. I think that the only way to stop drug abuse is to seek out prevention. Trends in Youth Drug Use 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.12 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.13 The use of illicit drugs among eighth graders is up 150 percent over the past five years.14 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. Early drug use often leads to other forms of unhealthy, unproductive behavior. 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. Overall Use of Illegal Drugs. In 1995, 10.9 percent of all youngsters between twelve and seventeen years of age used illicit drugs on a past-month basis.15 This rate has risen substantially compared to 8.2 percent in 1994, 5.7 percent in 1993, and 5.3 percent in 1992 — the historic low in the trend since the 1979 high of 16.3 percent. The University of Michigan’s 1996 Monitoring the Future study found that more than half of all high school students use illicit drugs by the time they graduate. Cocaine Use Among Youth. Cocaine use is not prevalent among young people. In 1996, approximately 2 percent of twelfth graders were current cocaine users. While this figure was up from a low of 1.4 percent in 1992, it was still 70 percent lower than the 6.7 percent high in 1985. Among twelfth graders in 1996, 7.1 percent had ever tried cocaine — up from the 1992 low of 6.1 percent but much lower than the 1985 high of 17.3 percent. However, during the past five years, lifetime use of cocaine has nearly doubled among eighth graders, reaching 4.5 percent in 1996.16 A similar trend is identified in the 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which showed a drop in the mean age for first use of cocaine from 23.3 years in 1990 to nineteen in 1994.17 Heroin Use Among Youth. Heroin use is also not prevalent among young people. The 1996 Monitoring The Future study found that 1 percent of twelfth graders had used heroin in the past year, and half of 1 percent had done so within the last thirty days. Encouragingly, both figures were lower than the 1995 findings. However, the 1996 survey showed that the number of youths who ever used heroin doubled between 1991 and 1996 among eighth and twelfth graders, reaching 2.4 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.18 Marijuana Use Among Youth. Marijuana use continues to be a major problem among the nation’s young people. Almost one in four high school seniors used marijuana on a “past-month” basis in 1996 while less than 10 percent used any other illicit drug with the same frequency. Within the past year, nearly twice as many seniors used marijuana as any other illicit drug.19 Marijuana also accounts for most of the increase in illicit drug use among youths aged twelve to seventeen. Between 1994 and 1995, the rate of marijuana use among this age-group increased from 6 percent to 8.2 percent (a 37 percent increase). Furthermore, adolescents are beginning to smoke marijuana at a younger age. The mean age of first use dropped from 17.8 years in 1987 to 16.3 years in 1994.20 Alcohol Use Among Youth. Alcohol is the drug most often used by young people. Approximately one in four tenth grade students and one third of twelfth graders report having had five or more drinks on at least one occasion within two weeks of the survey.21 The average age of first drinking has declined to 15.9 years, down from 1987’s average of 17.4 years.22 Tobacco Use Among Youth. Despite a decline in adult smoking, American youth continue to use tobacco products at rising rates. In 1996, more than a third of high school seniors smoked cigarettes, and more than one in five did so daily. These percentages are greater than at any time since the 1970s.23 Other Illicit Drug Use Among Youth. After marijuana, stimulants (a category that includes methamphetamine) are the second-most-commonly used illicit drug among young people. About 5 percent of high school students use stimulants on a monthly basis, and 10 percent have done so within the past year. Encouragingly, the use of inhalants — the third-most-common illicit substance — declined among eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders in 1996. LSD however, was used by 8.8 percent of twelfth graders during the past year.24 Consequences of Illicit Drug Use The social and health costs to society of illicit drug use are staggering. Drug-related illness, death, and crime cost the nation approximately $66.9 billion. Every man, woman, and child in America pays nearly $1,000 annually to cover the expense of unnecessary health care, extra law enforcement, auto accidents, crime, and lost productivity resulting from substance abuse.25 Illicit drug use hurts families, businesses, and neighborhoods; impedes education; and chokes criminal justice, health, and social service systems. Health Consequences Drug-Related Medical Emergencies Are at a Historic High. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), which studies drug-related hospital emergency room episodes, provides a useful snapshot of the health consequences of America’s drug problem. In 1995, DAWN estimated that 531,800 drug-related episodes occurred — slightly more than the 518,500 incidents in 1994. The 1995 figure marks the first time in the past five years that drug-related emergency department episodes did not rise significantly.26 DAWN also found that cocaine-related episodes remain at a historic high. Heroin-related emergencies increased between 1990 and 1995 by 124 percent. While no meaningful change occurred in the number of methamphetamine-related episodes between 1994 and 1995, a marked increase did occur between 1991 and 1994 when the figure rose from five thousand to nearly eighteen thousand. Nearly 40 percent of deaths connected with illegal drugs strike people between age thirty and thirty-nine, a group with elevated rates of chronic problems due to drug abuse.27 Overall rates are higher for men than for women, and for blacks than for whites.28 AIDS is the fastest-growing cause of all illegal drug-related deaths. More than 33 percent of new AIDS cases affect injecting drug users and their sexual partners.29 The Consequences of Heroin Addiction are Becoming More Evident. Heroin-related deaths in some cities increased dramatically between 1993 and 1994 (the most recent year for which these statistics are available). In Phoenix, heroin fatalities were up 34 percent, 29 percent in Denver, and 25 percent in New Orleans.30 The annual number of heroin-related emergency room mentions increased from 34,000 in 1990 to 76,023 in 1995.31 Maternal Drug Abuse Contributes to Birth Defects and Infant Mortality. A survey conducted between 1992 and 1993 estimated that 5.5 percent, or about 221,000 women, used an illicit drug at least once during their pregnancy.32 Marijuana was used by about 2.9 percent, or 119,000; cocaine was used by about 1.1 percent, or 45,000.33 Infants born to mothers who abuse drugs may go through withdrawal or have other medical problems at birth. Recent research also suggests that drug-exposed infants may develop poorly because of stress caused by the mother’s drug use. These children experience double jeopardy: they often suffer from biological vulnerability due to prenatal drug exposure, which can be exacerbated by poor caretaking and multiple separations resulting from the drug user’s lifestyle. Maternal substance abuse is associated with increased risk of infant mortality or death of the child during the first year of life. An in-depth study of infant mortality conducted on women receiving Medicaid, in the state of Washington from 1988 through 1990, showed an infant mortality rate of 14.9 per one thousand births among substance-abusing women as compared to 10.7 per one thousand for women on Medicaid who were not substance abusers.34 In addition, this research indicated that infants born to drug-abusing women are 2.5 times more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Chronic Drug Use is Related to Other Health Problems. The use of illegal drugs is associated with a range of other diseases, including tuberculosis and hepatitis. Chronic users are particularly susceptible to sexually-transmittable diseases and represent “core transmitters” of these infections. High risk sexual behavior associated with crack and injection drug use has been shown to enhance the transmission and acquisition of both HIV and other STDs. Underage Use of Alcohol and Tobacco Can Lead to Premature Death. Eighty-two percent of all people who try cigarettes do so by age eighteen.35 Approximately 4.5 million American children under eighteen now smoke, and every day another three thousand adolescents become regular smokers.36 Seventy percent of adolescent smokers say they would not have started if they could choose again.37 In excess of 400,000 people die every year from smoking-related diseases — more than from alcohol, crack, heroin, murder, suicide, car accidents, and AIDS combined.38 Alcohol has a devastating impact on young people. Eight young people a day die in alcohol-related car crashes.39 According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 7,738 intoxicated drivers between the ages of sixteen and twenty were fatally injured in 1996.40 The younger an individual starts drinking and the greater the intensity and frequency of alcohol consumption, the greater the risk of using other drugs.41 Two and-a-half million teenagers reported they did not know that a person can die from alcohol overdose.42 Drug Abuse Burdens the Workplace. Seventy-one percent of all illicit drug users aged eighteen and older (7.4 million adults) are employed, including 5.4 million full-time workers and 1.9 million part-time workers.43 Drug users decrease workplace productivity. An ongoing, nationwide study conducted by the U.S. Postal Service has compared the job performance of drug users versus non-users. Among drug users, absenteeism is 66 percent higher, health benefit utilization is 84 percent greater in dollar terms, disciplinary actions are 90 percent higher, and there is significantly higher employee turnover.44 The workplace can function as a conduit for information on substance-abuse prevention and identification both to adults — many of whom, as parents, are not being reached through more traditional means — and to youth who are employed while attending school. The threat of job loss remains one of the most effective ways to motivate substance abusers to get help. The workplace provides many employees (and families) who seek help for a substance-abuse problem with access to treatment. Since evidence shows that substance-abuse treatment can reduce job-related problems and result in abstinence, many employers sponsor employee-assistance programs (EAPs), conduct drug testing, or have procedures for detecting substance-abuse and promoting early treatment. The Cost of Drug-Related Crime Drug abuse takes a toll on society that can only be partially measured. While we are able to estimate the number of drug-related crimes that occur each year, we can never determine fully the extent to which the quality of life in America’s neighborhoods has been diminished by drug-related criminal behavior. With the exception of drug-related homicides, which have declined in recent years, drug-related crime is continuing at a strong and steady pace. Numerous Drug-Related Arrests Occur Each Year. In 1994, state and local law enforcement agencies made an estimated 1.14 million arrests for drug law violations. The largest percentage of these arrests were for drug possession (75.1 percent).45 Arrestees Frequently Test Positive for Recent Drug Use. The National Institute of Justice Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program calculates the percentage of arrested individuals whose urine indicates drug use. In 1995, DUF data collected from male arrestees in twenty-three cities showed that the percentage testing positive for any drug ranged from 51 percent to 83 percent. Female arrestees ranged from 41 percent to 84 percent. Among males, arrestees charged with drug possession or sale were most likely to test positive for drug use. Among females, arrestees charged with prostitution, drug possession or sale were most likely to test positive for drug use. Both males and females arrested for robbery, burglary, and stealing vehicles had high positive rates.46 Drug Offenders Crowd the Nation’s Prisons and Jails. At midyear 1996, there were 93,167 inmates in federal prisons, 1,019,281 in state prisons, and 518,492 in jails.47 In 1994, 59.5 percent of federal prisoners were drug offenders48 as were 22.3 percent of the inmates in state prisons.49 The increase in drug offenders accounts for nearly three quarters of the total growth in federal prison inmates since 1980. Most drug offenders are imprisoned for possessing more drugs than possibly could be consumed by one individual distributing drugs or committing serious crimes related to drug sales. In 1995, for example, only 4,040 people were sentenced in federal courts for marijuana-related charges; 89.1 percent of those offenders were facing trafficking charges.50 Inmates in Federal and State Prisons were often under the Influence of Drugs when they Committed Offenses. A 1991 survey of federal and state prisons, found that drug offenders, burglars, and robbers in state prisons were the most likely to report being under the influence of drugs while committing crimes. Inmates in state prisons who had been convicted of homicide, assault, and public order offenses were least likely to report being under the influence of drugs. With the exception of burglars, federal prison inmates were less likely than state inmates to have committed offenses under the influence of drugs.51 Offenders Often Commit Offenses to Support Drug Habits. According to a 1991 joint survey of federal and state prison inmates, an estimated 10 percent of federal prisoners and 17 percent of state prisoners reported committing offenses in order to pay for drugs.52 Drug Trafficking Generates Violent Crime. Trafficking in illicit drugs is often associated with violent crime. Reasons for this relationship include competition for drug markets and customers, disputes among individuals involved with illegal drugs, and the location of drug markets in disadvantaged areas where legal and social controls against violence tend to be ineffective. The proliferation of lethal weapons in recent years has also made drug violence more deadly. Drug-Related Homicides Have Declined. There was a steady decline in drug-related homicide between 1989 and 1995. The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) indicated that of 21,597 homicides committed in 1995 in which the circumstances of the crime were known, 1,010 (or 4.7 percent) involved drugs. This figure was significantly lower than 7.4 percent in 1989.53 Money Laundering Harms Financial Institutions. Money laundering involves disguising financial assets so they can be used without the illegal activity that produced them being detected. Money laundering provides financial fuel not only for drug dealers but for terrorists, arms dealers, and other criminals who operate and expand criminal enterprises. Drug trafficking generates tens of billions of dollars a year; the total amount of money involved cannot be calculated precisely. In September 1996, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimated that 60 percent of the money laundering cases it investigated during that fiscal year were drug-related.54 Illegal Drugs Remain Available Illegal drugs continue to be readily available almost anywhere in the United States. If measured solely in terms of price and purity, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana prove to be more available than they were a decade ago when the number of cocaine and marijuana users was much higher. Cocaine Availability. Colombian drug cartels continue to manage most aspects of the cocaine trade from acquisition of cocaine base, to cocaine production in South America and transportation, to wholesale distribution in the United States. Polydrug trafficking gangs in Mexico, which used to serve primarily as transporters for the Colombian groups, are increasingly assuming a more prominent role in the transportation and distribution of cocaine. Wholesale cocaine distribution and money laundering networks are typically organized into multiple cells functioning in major metropolitan areas. Domestically, retail level sales are conducted by a wide variety of criminal groups. These sellers are often organized along regional, cultural, and ethnic lines that facilitate internal security while serving a demand for drugs that permeates every part of our society. Gangs — including the Crips, Bloods, and Dominican gangs as well as Jamaican “posses”– are primarily responsible for widespread cocaine and crack-related violence. The migration of gang members and “posses” to smaller U.S. cities and rural areas has caused an increase in drug-related homicides, armed robberies, and assaults in those areas. According to the National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee (NNICC) Report, the price and availability of cocaine in the United States remain relatively stable. In 1995, cocaine prices ranged nationally from $10,500 to $36,000 per kilogram. The average purity of cocaine at the gram, ounce, and kilogram level also remains high. Purity of the gram (retail level) in 1995 was approximately 61 percent while purity per kilogram (wholesale) was 83 percent.55 Heroin Availability. Heroin continues to be readily available in many cities. Nationally, in 1995 wholesale prices ranged from $50,000 to $260,000 per kilogram. This wide range reflected such variables as buyer-seller relationship, quantity purchased, frequency of delivery, and transportation costs. Data obtained from DEA’s Domestic Monitor Program, a retail heroin purchase program, indicates that high-purity Southeast Asian heroin dominates the U.S. market. However, the availability of South American heroin has increased steadily, reflecting the fact that Colombian traffickers have gained a foothold in the U.S. heroin market.56 The NNICC Report also reveals that heroin purity levels have risen considerably. In 1995, the average purity for retail heroin from all sources was 39.7 percent nationwide, which was much higher than the average of 7 percent reported a decade ago. The retail purity of South American heroin was the highest of any source, averaging 56.4 percent nationwide and 76 percent in New York City, a major importation and distribution center. Heroin purity was generally highest in the Northeast where a large percentage of the nation’s users live. Marijuana Availability. Marijuana is the most readily available illicit drug in the United States. While no comprehensive survey of domestic cannabis cultivation has been conducted, the DEA estimates that much of the marijuana consumed in the United States is grown domestically. Cannabis is frequently cultivated in remote locations and on public lands. Major outdoor cultivation areas are found in Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, California, and New York. Significant quantities of marijuana are also grown indoors. The controlled environments of indoor operations enable growers to use sophisticated agronomic techniques to enhance the drug’s potency. The majority of the marijuana in the United States comes from Mexico, much of it being smuggled across the southwest border. However, marijuana shipments from Colombia and Jamaica are increasing. Marijuana production and distribution in the United States are highly decentralized. Trafficking organizations range from complex operations that import the drug, grow it domestically, and trade within the U.S., to individuals cultivating and selling at the retail level. High quality marijuana is widely available in all parts of the United States. Prices vary with quality and range from forty to nine hundred dollars per ounce.57 Over the past decade, marijuana prices have dropped even as the drug’s potency has increased. Methamphetamine Availability. Domestic methamphetamine production and trafficking are concentrated in the western and southwestern regions of the United States. Clandestine methamphetamine laboratories operating within Mexico and California are primary sources of supply for all areas of the United States. Mexican polydrug trafficking groups dominate wholesale methamphetamine distribution in the United States, saturating the western U.S. market with high-purity methamphetamine. These groups have also become a source of supply for Hawaii, threatening to displace traditional Asian suppliers. LSD Availability. LSD in retail quantity can be found in virtually every state, and availability has increased in some states. LSD production facilities are thought to be located on the West Coast in the northern California and Pacific Northwest areas. A proliferation of mail-order sales has created a marketplace in which distributors have no personal contact with buyers. Availability of Other Drugs. PCP production is centered in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Los Angeles-based street gangs, primarily the Crips, continue to distribute PCP to a number of U.S. cities through cocaine trafficking operations. MDMA — a drug related to methamphetamine and known by such street names as Ecstasy, XTC, Clarity, Essence, and Doctor — is produced in west Texas and on the West Coast. It is distributed across the country by independent traffickers through the mail or commercial delivery services. MDMA is often sold in tablet form with dosage units of 55 to 150 milligrams. Retail prices range from six to thirty dollars.58 In 1995, an influx of flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) tablets reached the Gulf Coast and other areas of the United States. Manufactured legally by Hoffman-LaRoche in Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland, Rohypnol has been reported to be combined with alcohol and cocaine, and is becoming known as the “date rape” drug. Illegal in the United States, it sells wholesale for a dollar a tablet and retail from $1.25 to three dollars a tablet.59 While Progress Has Been Made, More Remains to be Done. We have made progress in our efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. While America’s illegal drug problem is serious, it does not approach the emergency situation of the late 1970s or the cocaine epidemic in the 1980s. Just 6 percent of our household population age twelve and over was using drugs in 1995, down from 14.1 percent in 1979. Fewer than 1 percent were using cocaine, inhalants, or hallucinogens. The most- commonly-used illegal drug was marijuana, taken by 77 percent of drug users.60 As drug use became less prevalent through the 1980s, national attention to the drug problem decreased. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America suggests that an indicator or that decreased attention was the reduced frequency of anti-drug public service announcements (PSAs) on TV, radio, and in print media. Our children also dropped their guard as drugs became less prevalent and first-hand knowledge of dangerous substances became scarce. Consequently, disapproval of drugs and the perception of risk on the part of young people has declined throughout this decade. As a result, since 1992 more youth have been using alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. A disturbing study prepared by CASA suggests that adults have become resigned to teen drug use. In fact, nearly half the parents from the “baby-boomer” generation expect their teenagers to try illegal drugs.61 Forty percent believe they have little influence over teenagers’ decisions about whether to smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs. Both of these assumptions are incorrect. Parents have enormous influence over the decisions young people make. We Must Act Now to Prevent a Future Drug Epidemic The United States has failed to forestall resurgent drug use among children in the ‘90s. This problem did not develop recently. The 1993 Interim National Drug Control Strategy highlighted the problem of rising drug use among American youth, quoting the 1992 Monitoring The Future study which found that eighth graders and college students were “… reporting higher rates of drug use in 1992 than they did in 1991. Further, fewer eighth graders in 1992 perceived great risk with using cocaine or crack than did eighth graders in 1991.” The continuation of these trends has been substantiated by every significant survey of drug use since 1993. Our challenge is to reverse these negative trends. America cannot allow the relapse we have experienced to signal a return to catastrophic illegal drug use levels of the past. The government has committed itself to that end; so have non-governmental organizations such as Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CACDA); the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA); Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and substance-abuse (CASA), the National Center for the Advancement of Prevention (NCAP), the Parent’s Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE), and many others. Working together, we can succeed. Instruction about the dangers of drug abuse must be focused on the populations most in need of it — America’s youth and their mentors. Research indicates that if a young person abstains from using illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco until at least age twenty, he or she will almost certainly avoid substance abuse for the remainder of his or her life. Surveys have established that many children abstain from using illegal drugs because an adult they respect — usually a parent but often a teacher, coach, religious or community leader — convinced them that using drugs was dangerous. Conversely, studies show that children who use drugs often lack appropriate adult guidance. When properly informed, most Americans make sound decisions. The challenge is to ensure that our citizens understand that illegal drugs greatly harm both individuals and society. All of us need to recognize that drug use limits human potential. We must make a convincing case that the negative consequences of drug abuse far outweigh any perceived benefit. We must expand programs that prevent drug use and treat individuals caught in the grip of dependency. The more we can foster drug-free environments — in schools, workplaces, and communities — the less drug-induced devastation will occur. For 3.6 million Americans caught in the grip of addictive drugs, we are committed to providing opportunities for recovery. Their effective rehabilitation would result in enormous social, economic, and health benefits. Whether those who become addicted are our families, neighbors, co-workers, the homeless or incarcerated, we must help them become drug-free so that they can enjoy full, productive lives. Supply Reduction Since a permanent though varying demand for illegal drugs is likely to persist, we must reduce the supply of available drugs. History has demonstrated that the more plentiful drugs are, the more they will be used. Conversely, the less available drugs are, the fewer people use them. Therefore, we should cut the supply of drugs to our citizens. Drug availability can be decreased by operating against every link in the drug chain from cultivation to production and trafficking. Drug crop cultivation must be addressed both domestically and abroad. Drugs must be interdicted while in transit. The diversion of precursor chemicals must be prevented. Illicit profits must be traced to their criminal sources and, where possible, seized. Trafficking organizations must be broken. Because drug trafficking is fundamentally a profit-oriented enterprise, attacking the economics of every aspect of the illegal drug industry offers a way to reduce drug availability. Interdiction must continue to be a vital component of a balanced. Teenagers The teenager is a creature far different from that of any other. These strange beings are classified into the species of the homo sapiens ranging from thirteen to eighteen years of age. Through the years, it seems that a teenager has grown more to be a separate class in itself rather than a certain time period in life. Although teenagers are really almost a separate sub- species of the human race, none of them are really quite the same. The teenager may be divided into three separate categories ranging from the radical, moderate, and conservative. The “radical” teenager may be best described as one going to all extremes to try and prove something that nobody else can really understand. Punks, stoners, new- wavers, skaters, surfers, and other similar people fall into this category. The “moderate” sub-species of the teenager may best be described as the classic teenager, or really a teenager who epitomizes most of the qualities of a “normal” teenager. This category comprises the widest range of people and could definitely be sub- divided within itself. This particular category of teenager is slightly vague as it can range from teenagers such as “jocks” to “brains”. The last of these categories, the “conservative” teenager describes the class of teenagers who follow the rules and teachings of the adult world without a complaint or rejection. One will most likely find a “conservative” teen in the front of the classroom trying to get as close to the teacher’s desk as possible. One will find that this person is usually quite timid and quiet the majority of the time. The description of any of these abstract creatures is quite difficult because of the vast difference in each one’s features. These beings may range from 3 feet in height up to around 7 feet. They can be either tall, fat, thin, short, ugly, attractive, intelligent, slow, fast, responsible, irresponsable or a variety of several more features humanly possible. The “radical” and “moderate” teenagers are usually quite unpredictable and can usually never be trusted. The vast majority of teenagers begin to actually think and reason for the first time in their life and begin to have contrasting beliefs from what they have been taught by their elders for 13 to 18 years. Before hitting the teenage years, most every person accepted just about everything taught by their parents as they had no reason not to believe in their parents, and also knew no better. As these teens begin to think, they find logic in new and different beliefs and find many old beliefs obsolete. Teens could be a major advantage to the human race if it were not for their tragic flaw in which they think that they have had so much experience in life that they are ready to handle it all and take on the world with their “vast knowledge of life”. Although teens are far from perfect, they are still not treated to the best of the older generation’s ability. The average teenager is “abused” by their elders. Teens are forced to do miscellaneous odd jobs not respectable to the human race. One may find a teenager doing such degradable chores ranging from taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, to sacking groceries at the local grocery store. Although for the most part teenagers are mistreated, being a teenager has its definite advantages. For in being a teenager, not much is mentally expected of you, for the elder generation has accepted the fact of the difference between them and the teen. As the elder generation was also forced to go through this demanding time in life, they realize how “difficult” it is, thus a teenager can practically get away with “murder”. As the teenager can never fully be described because of their wide variety of qualities both mentally and physically, many people struggle to find out exactly why teenagers act as they do. As one may see, the differences of the teenager are quite obvious and contrasting to that of any other period in life. Adolescence is much like a midpoint in ones life; when a person is neither a kid nor an adult. At this period, teens have passed the age when they were called kids but are not yet qualified to be adults. Teenagers want to think like adults, behave like adults and also start to view themselves as independent beings in decision making. All this hormonal changes also come with the negativity of maturity such as drugs and alcohol. The statistics below show that the percentage of teenagers using drugs and alcohol in the last decade has increased. Why is this? The answer is that teenagers are under pressure by their peers, mass media and also the influence of parents. 8th-Graders 10th-Graders 12th-Graders Marijuana 22.2% 40.9% 49.7% Cocaine 4.7 7.7 9.8 Inhalants 15.4 17.0 19.7 LSD 4.1 8.5 12.2 Heroin 2.0 2.3 2.3 Alcohol 52.1 70.6 80.0 Cigarettes 44.1 57.6 64.6 Peer pressure plays a major role in the harmful behavior of teens. Teens who want to fit in among their friends are most especially prone to this. They try to make friends and they get friends as much as possible. Of these friends there are the good ones who give them the knowledge and information you want need or inquire and there are the ones who give them information about not too good things like drug, alcohol, parties, e.t.c. This influential communication between a teen and his/her peer may be directly or indirectly. Directly such as conversations with their friends or indirectly such as listening to classmates discussing of a party which occurred a night before. Then they begin to mention alcohol, drugs and violence obviously from what have experienced they talk about it in a way possible. Then you would like to see how good it is the next weekend you go to that kind of party. If you can not resist such as a temptation you will begin to do harmful deeds that will definitely have adverse results in the future. Let’s not put all the blame on teens and their peers alone. The mass media is also responsible in an understandable way. The media has proven to be a lot damaging than useful in the type of information meant for mature audience but end up with the immature audience. Soap operas and frivolous shows shown on TV contain immoral and untrue images of the world as it is more of the writer’s imagination or the way directors direct them to act. Most teenagers are probably old enough to watch this shows but not mature enough to comprehend with the fictitious nature of movies and soap operas. Though movies and soaps are rated, underage people are still able to access them. The responsibility then shifts to the parents whom are meant to control their children from getting misleading information about drugs, alcoholism and lots more. This can be done through the use of V-chip for TV and Parental Controls for Internet. Parents who I would disparage of because most parents have and are taking care of their responsibility and it has worked tremendously. Happily, in the past year, alcohol and drug usage among teens have decreased nationwide (US). This is apparently because the media, which is responsible for the frivolous information, has increased amount of information about drug abuse, alcoholism and their long and short-term side effects. They have also been informing parents about the use of V chips in their TV set to block out unwanted programs. These are some of the trends that make we teenagers most liable to the atrocities of the modern world at an early age. Teen drug use is on the rise in the 90’s. But one of the most popular drugs is marijuana beacause it is so easy to get and usually cheap. But there are many other kinds of drugs, you got PCP, LSD, Hash, and many others that come from the same plant but all of them are hazardous to your body and your health. Most people use the drugs just to forget about everything, but they forget about the dangers drugs can cause them. Marijuana is a big seller these days and it is a lot worse than it used to be people’s bodies are building ip immunity’s to the drugs the the dealers have to add more things to help you get the “high”. Divorce is on the rise and kids feel it’s their fault and they need a way to escape from the pain of there messed up life. Another reason is because their friends pressure them into using drugs most marijuana users are 12-18. The THC in the marijuana makes you experiance the “high” but what really make the THC grow is when this resin comes out on to the leaves and stems. Grass is something that comes from marijuana it is made up of dried choped leaves, stems, and leaves. In 100 ounces of grass, ther are 1 to 2 ounces of the THC. Sinsemilla is grass made of a plant that has larger amounts of THC than grass. In 100 ounces of sinsemilla there about 6 ounces of THC. Hashish is made of dried flowers, leaves and resin. In 100 ounces of hashish there are 8 to 14 ounces of THC. Hash oil is the plant’s resin. 100 ounces of hash oil there are 15 to 40 ounces of THC. Thses different types of marijuana can be mixed together for a all different “high” all types of marijuana are smoked in a cigarette or pipe and sometimes added to food. Most teen marijuana users think that it help them do music, food, and have better sex. They enjoy the many things that appear do be different like art and sounds seem more intense. Some of the harmful effects of marijuana use can harm parts of the body. Like cigarette smoke, marijuana smoke also contains carbon monoxide, the stuff that inpears the oxygen carrying ability of the blood. It also contians high amounts of tar and other ibadd chemicals than does cigarette smoke. These tars and chemicals also damage more around the wind pipe and throught. It also though it doesn’t seem to but it does increase the heart more than cigarette. I think that the gov’t needs to do two things one is to increase the punishment on the user and dealers two get the ATF to take more control and put more money into the ATF. And they need to get a better program than D.A.R.E. they need to start on younger kids when their mind is still starting to soak stuff they are more open minded than the sixth graders or 8th graders. Because if some of these kids are starting around 11 or 12 they need to start 7 or 8. In this day and age more people are saying we’re just a bunch of slackers and but they are still worried about the taxes and welfare and all that stuff, when they should focus on the kids so we can fix thses problems beacause they sure aren’t doing it now. There are alot of things that need to be done for our teens but they try to take them all out at once when they should really focus on one or two at a time then when they solve those they should move on to the next. With all the drug use going on in this contry and if it’s growing like the surveys say we need to work on that before all America is just a bunch of burn outs.