Substance Abuse is all around us in today’s society. 60% of all illicit drug users are between the ages fifteen and twenty-four (Stats Canada). This means teens have the highest risk to fall into a path of drug use. Three common factors can cause drug abuse among teens; Social Factors, ‘the high mentality’, and the availability of a drug to teens. These factors can not only cause a high rate of substance abuse among teens, it can also increase the dependency for the drug user to continue to use for many years to come.
Substance Abuse is on the rise world-wide, and Canada is not immune. Teens across Canada are faced with many social factors that provoke them to experiment with drugs. Some do drugs because they want to rebel against authority, others do it because they’re trying to fit in- but the one thing most youth use drugs for is to provide relief from unpleasant emotions and make them feel better. Sometimes being provoked by social factors, like friends, it is hard to say no to drugs; when a teen says yes, they could be contributing to the 47 000 annual deaths due to drug overdose (Health Officer’s Council of British Columbia). Another social factor is family. Some youth may come from a family that has a past with drug abuse. Children of addicts are up to nine times more likely to develop an addiction of their own (Web4Health).Sometimes parents don’t always set the best example, and as many would have said in the 1920’s; Monkey see, Monkey do.
Secondly, the Drug (High) Mentality that many users are sucked into through use of substances. I’m talking about that feeling when drugs are the main part of your life, when you feel like you’re the prisoner behind bars in your own mind, most of what you do centers around getting money to get high, getting high, thinking about getting high, talking about getting high, and everything else in your life falls by the wayside. This mentality fills the head of users and blinds them; from the negative consequences of drugs. The consequences can occur in social factors, like reduced interest in activities, being arrested, also frequent mood-swings and drug with drawl- the worst part about a drug use. Youth are easily filled with this idea they can stop whenever, that drugs are no big deal- but these drugs, whether prescription drugs, or illicit drugs, can kill you. The Drug Mentality is the dependence of the drug- the need to use, or the ‘power’ of curiosity and enlightenment that grasps many youth.
Lastly, there is a high availability of illicit substances, like cocaine, marijuana, or ecstasy, as well as the prescription drugs on the market world-wide. These drugs are made available through dealers, streets, and even the doctor’s office. In a UN report on the growing growth of drug abuse, it stated, ‘Illegal drugs count for at least $400 billion of World Trade Marketing’ (James 1999). If %60 of all illicit drug users’ are between ages fifteen to twenty-four, how much money is the youth contributing to the ever growing amount of $400 billion spent on illegal substances?
Although the price of abused substances can be high, there is a demand- and where there’s a demand, there is always someone willing to pay the price. Teens are faced with the availability of drugs everywhere. When a teen goes to a party, there will be drugs-maybe even suppliers, and even inside our own school, Ross Sheppard High School, drugs are carried in, used, or sold. There are numerous dealers, which provide drugs to those who use. Drug dealers may take advantage of a young user, because their brains are still pre-mature- so the decisions youth make aren’t always thought out.
Klein 2In the end, the ever-growing concern for youth to involve themselves in drugs is negatively effecting the youth of society today. The Drug mentality – that drugs are cool, providing substances at a relatively affordable price, and the social factors that drive the youth of today to substances like marijuana, cocaine, or ecstasy, are all factors that contribute to drug abuse among society’s youth. Teens need to be stopped- or one user may lead to another sobers down fall.