Alcohol abuse is a serious problem, driving
while drunk or under the influence of drugs is an even bigger problem that
shouldn’t be taken lightly. Abusing either one of these substances can lead to
the death of you or the death of someone else or even cause a major change in
their life like Jacqueline’s story, her whole life has been changed because of
another person’s ignorance and carelessness. Therefore, you should know the
facts about drug and alcohol abuse before you do something you may regret for the
rest of your life.
According TO NIDA FOR TEENS: THE SCIENCE BEHIND DRUG ABUSE,
drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work. Drugs
find their way into your bloodstream, whether you ingest, inhale or inject
them, they are then transported to parts of your brain. Weighing about three
pounds, the brain is made of many parts that all work together as a team. Each
part of your brain has a job to do. When drugs enter your brain, they can
interrupt the work and actually change the way your brain performs its jobs.
These changes in the brain are what lead to compulsive drug use, the hallmark
Alby, an eighteen year old teen who was residing in a
maximum-security jail, ended up in jail because he began dealing drugs. HEADS
UP: REAL NEWS ABOUT DRUGS AND YOUR BODY, recorded that it all started one
summer day on a street corner in Yonkers, New York, when Alby was thirteen. One
of his friends told him “You need to get your mind right. Hit this blunt”. Alby
didn’t hesitate to try it, at the time he didn’t have the strength to say “no”.
He wanted to fit in and if smoking a blunt lead to him being “cool” he would do
it. With his parents never being there for him, with them being drug addicts
themselves, he didn’t believe it would be an issue if he tried the blunt. After
that day he would get high every chance he could and eventually he got to the
point where he would do anything to buy the marijuana. That is when he began
dealing drugs. He then got caught and now resides in maximum- security jail.
In many cases teens that you may know do end up going to jail
because they have become addicted to the drugs they have been using and they
will do anything to buy what they need. At that point your fellow peers or even
friends will begin dealing drugs thinking that it is the quickest means of
receiving money. With the money they receive, it goes towards the drugs they
want to purchase.
According to TREATMENT EPISODES DATA SET (TEDS) 1992-2002,
SAMHSA, 2006, Marijuana is addictive. More teens are in treatment with a
primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs
combined. Several teens begin using substances when they are introduced to
marijuana. Marijuana is referred to as a gateway drug, and many teen users
begin using because they are depressed, having family problems, or any other
struggles they are experiencing in their lives. Teens begin smoking marijuana,
thinking they are not going to become addicted. Truth is marijuana use by
teenagers who have prior antisocial problems can quickly lead to addiction.
Therefore, if you were to begin using marijuana, you should be aware that you
can become addicted.
As stated by NIAAA, UNDERAGE DRINKING: A MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH
CHALLENGE, The younger you are when you start drinking, the greater your chance
of becoming addicted to alcohol at some point in your life. Alcohol addiction
can begin at any time in someone’s life, however, starting to drink when you
are a teenager increases the risk for addiction. About half of U.S. teens who start
drinking alcohol before age 14 may be addicted to it before even hitting 21.
Only 9% of people in the U.S. who wait until they turned 21 may be addicted
some point after the legal drinking age stated by the NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON
ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ALCOHOLISM WEBSITE. Many teens also turn to alcohol to cope
with obstacles in life, without recognizing that “drinking to cope” may also
lead to addiction.
Along with addiction many teens tend to drive while they
physically and mentally impaired. Driving while impaired is a major issue in
the U.S among teens today. NHTSA, TRAFFIC SAFETY FACTS “YOUNG DRIVERS,” 2009
stated that: Among 15- to 20-year old drivers involved in fatal crashes, 31% of
the drivers who were killed had been drinking and 25% who were killed in
crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher. Furthermore, nearly two percent of these
young drivers involved in a fatal crash had a previous DWI conviction. So, not
only are teens harming themselves by drinking alcohol and becoming addicted but
they are also getting on the roads and are at risk of killing someone else or
In trying to prevent teen drug abuse, there needs to be more
programs in schools to inform students about the effects of doing drugs. Just
having a couple weeks instruction on drugs in health class does not provide
enough information. I think the school system should provide classes as early
as elementary school so the students can learn early on and continue learning
through the years. Parents could take the initiative to talk to their teens
about drug and alcohol abuse as well. Having my parents express how they feel
about drugs/alcohol had somewhat of an impact on my decision to attempt using
drugs/alcohol. Also, we teens should find somebody to talk to or something to
do to cope with stress and life’s obstacles instead of using substances to cope
with life. Drug use can be set to a minimum if we work together to help other
teens cope in different ways and learn early on the effects of drug/alcohol use
at a young age.