Drug Abuse In Teens

By: Madeline Voss

Dear Reader,

I chose the topic of drug abuse in teens for multiple reasons. One being that a family member abused drugs all his life since sometime in late middle school. Since I was born I had to watch as their marriage, job, and family connections all fell apart. They faced being evicted from their home, losing multiple jobs, having many problems with the police, spending months in rehabilitation multiple times, and even jail time. At this point in time they are in their late forties and are just now starting to recover and is trying to rebuild their life. The abuse of drugs is a very serious matter that can ruin your entire life and future. The effects are not short term and can follow you into your late future. Many teenagers don't realize this and fall a victim to these drugs and end up ruining their future.

What Are Drugs Doing To Our Teens

In the last few years, the drug epidemic has become more and more problematic. The
drug industries have widespread customers, however the biggest customer to these drugs is the everyday teenager. From personal experience, I have seen the detrimental effects that drugs can have on an adult and how many other people it can effect. However, when put in the hands of and irresponsible teenager who has not yet matured, the effects become much more dangerous.

Amanda Reid, a fifteen year old freshman in high school had told he parents she was going to the movies when instead she had gone to a friends house to hang out with some guys and girls (Vilbig 1). The men hosting the party had served them mountain dew, and two of the three girls drank it while the third declined. Amanda later passed out and within four hours was taken to the emergency room only to be declared brain dead upon arrival. What these girls didn't know was that the mountain dew they drank had been laced with a drug known as GHS, a nonaddictive drug said to give the feeling of being drunk, and passed off on the internet as safe. Amanda Reid died, and her friend woke up from a coma the next day (Vilbig 1). GHS is called safe on the internet, but even the slightest miscalculation in dosage will have serious effects and can even end
in death (Vilbig 1).The next day Amanda became one of the sixty-five GHB related deaths since 1990 (Vilbig 1). Three of the guys that gave the girls the drugs were given fifteen years prison time for manslaughter, and the fourth was given five years prison on lesser charges. From 1991 to 1997, the drug use in teens had overall increased by fifty percent, and in 1999 there was a sudden fifty-five percent increase in the teen use of ecstasy. Along with the sudden increase of teen ecstasy, there have also been seizures of large caches of ecstasy (Vilbig 1). These events have lead people to fear that there may be a new wave of teenage drug abuse on the way.
Many teenagers have started the use of stimulants such as cocaine. However, cocaine and other stimulants can seriously damage your brain. A stimulant is a class of drug that stimulates the brain and central nervous system, temporarily increasing energy and alertness. However they put the brain into overdrive, and put a large strain on your body, overworking it. Not only that, but they are also powerfully addictive. (Stimulant Addiction 1). While these stimulants are very harmful, they are not the most commonly used. MTF studies show that the drugs most abused by teens are prescription drugs, marijuana, alcohol, nicotine, methamphetamine, inhalants, and MDMA also known as ecstasy. (A Day In... 1). According to Winona LaDuke, he is told that 40 percent of his community smokes marijuana. (Growing The Herb 1). The internet has labeled the
drugs as harmless party drugs, however the real effect that they have on the human body and mind are very serious. Prescription drugs for example, are not always safe. If they are not prescribed for you, then they are not safe for you. Drugs can affect almost every system in your body. (Get The Facts 1).
The brain was built to learn from imitation. This is why kids imitate there parents or older siblings, and why teenagers imitate their peers. Through brain studies, it has been proven that the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that covers impulse control (A day in... 1). In most people, this part of the brain is not fully developed until around the age of twenty-five. This means that teenagers have poor impulse control since their brain is not yet fully developed. Due to this lack of impulse control, the brain has set up a "Plan B" for impulse control in teens. This "Plan B" is known as the limbic system(A day in... 1). The brain relies on the limbic system to make decisions. The limbic system is set up to make decisions through the use of emotional reactions, especially those that involve pleasure or excitement. This sets up a huge danger for teens when around drugs. Its common knowledge that drugs are used as a "feel good" substance, or as an escape from reality. Since this limbic system is set up to achieve this pleasure or excited feeling, teens naturally are drawn to things such as drugs and alcohol (A day in... 1).
Many teens are unaware that this limbic system is what drives them to do many things
and make many choices. If a teen is aware of this limbic system, they often don't realize is that this limbic system can be somewhat "bypassed". In order to do this though, it takes time and practice in the strengthening of your brain pathways. The brain pathways are used to shape your brain and determine its strengths and weaknesses. When teens think a scenario through carefully, research shows it usually results in a more positive outcome, and the teen will have made a better choice. As a teenager, these pathways in your brain are strengthened each time they are used (A day in... 1). So repeating an activity or skill will strengthen your ability to do it again. This same principle applies to your decision making. The more you make good decisions, the better you get at it. Daily decisions and experiences will shape your brain. As you grow, the brain removes pathways that are not used, but strengthens the ones used frequently. This is why it is essential for teens to practice making good decisions from a young age. If a teen makes good decisions frequently, when face with a situation involving drugs they are much more likely to make a good choice and avoid the drugs altogether (A day in... 1). Another way to avoid a situation with drugs is to not only practice saying no, but come up with s plan as well. Teens need to plan out how to say no to drugs. Parents need to teach kids to say no in social situations so they can avoid making a bad choice. This is one of them best methods on teaching kids to say no to drugs and should be practiced often (A day in... 1). However how does one help a teenager that is already using drugs? Well first you need to give them the facts. Most teenagers are stubborn, don't want listen to listen to others, and think themselves as immortal. This is why many teenagers are not deterred by the scare stories they are told about in health class regarding teens losing their lives to drugs. Another thing is that many teenagers believe what they read in the internet. The biggest lie told that teen drug users believe is that marijuana is harmless (Todays... 1). They are very wrong however they all seem to believe the drug is harmless, or even healthy. However the fact of the matter is that smoking marijuana does more damage to the lungs then even tobacco. It can also inhibits learning, causes short term memory loss, reduces sperm count in males, disrupts menstrual cycle in females, and you may develop a physical or psychological reliance (Todays... 1). Also take into account the fact that marijuana is much stronger than it was fifty years ago. And while it may not directly lead to stringer drug, almost all users of heavier drugs have previously used marijuana (Todays... 1).
If facts are not enough to change a teens mind set, which its often not, this is when you
look into counseling or drug hospitalization. Treatment may require weeks of hospitalizations and months of counseling, and that may be hard to get (Todays... 1). Few people where able to agree on which program or method of treatment worked best. There is group therapy, family therapy, and one-on-one counseling sessions with a therapist. Another method of treatment is a drug hospital, commonly referred to as rehab. Chuck, a fifteen year old boy with a drug addiction was presented with and ultimatum by his parents. Either face juvenile charges or go to a drug hospital. He chose the hospital. "I thought id walk in the door and they'd touch me in the head and id walk out a different person. But it was hard work. I had to see how unmanageable my life
had become and they let me know that is i didn't want to help myself, they'd kick me out." (Todays... 1).
In conclusion, teens are very susceptible to drugs influence and have become a very large part of the drug problem, especially since they have not fully matured. Prevention can be difficult, as parents would be required to teach their kids from a young age about the hazards drugs present. Also, to help cure a current addict, it can be a very lengthy process and very costly. It would be best if teens avoided drugs to begin with. This will however need help and guidance from parents, teachers, and peers.

Works Cited
"Today's Teens and Drugs (1988)." World Book Year Books. 2009. eLibrary. Web. 21
Sep. 2015.
Anonymous. "A Day in the Life of a Teen." Scholastic Choices. 01 Apr. 2006: R1.

eLibrary. Web. 22 Sep. 2015.
Vilbig, Peter. "New highs, new risks." New York Times Upfront. 08 May. 2000: 10.

eLibrary. Web. 22 Sep. 2015.
"STIMULANT ADDICTION." Scholastic Scope. 16 Feb. 2009: 20. eLibrary. Web. 23
Oct. 2015.
"GET THE FACTS: Drug Abuse Puts Your Whole Body at Risk." Scholastic Action. 02
Apr. 2007: 22. eLibrary. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.
LaDuke, Winona. "Growing the Herb." News from Indian Country. 01 Feb. 2015: 2.

eLibrary. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.

Why Drugs Are Detrimental To Teenage Lives

Many teens have used drugs at least once in their lives. You have three categories, teens who have never tried drugs, teens who have tried them once or twice, and teens that use drugs and a regular basis. This third category makes up a large percentage of all teenagers. They have been using drugs under the assumption that they are safe, however they are unaware of the detrimental effects that they can have on their health and their future.

If a teen regularly uses drugs, they are likely to continue use of these drugs into their adulthood, even changing their tastes to more dangerous drugs. The common defense teens show when using drugs is "I'm not addicted." or "I can stop anytime I want to." When in actuality, these people have become reliant on their drug, and have become somewhat of a slave to it. I know from personal experience that drug use is a habit that can follow you into adulthood, not only ruining your health, but your family relationships, your job, your very ability to spend your money on things important such as food and bills, and even your own life. All of that can be taken from you if you become addicted to drugs. All drugs are bad. Prescription drugs can be deadly if they weren't prescribed to you. Stimulants like cocaine can cause heavy damage to your brain. A stimulant is a class of drug that stimulates the brain and central nervous system, temporarily increasing energy and alertness. However they put the brain into overdrive. But what about marijuana? Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs among teens. It has been passed off as harmless and nonaddictive, therefore making it a great drug for teens to use. Those who call it a "gateway drug" are mocked by those who have used marijuana for years and never used any other form of drug. These marijuana users claim that they are healthy as ever, and that their drugs is absolutely harmless. Its rather easy to pick a marijuana user out of a crowd because they have a tendency to flaunt that they use this drug. What I don't seem to understand however, is why you would flaunt the fact that your doing something illegal. But this drug is still harmless, right?

Wrong. The reason people feel the need to flaunt the fact that they use this drug is because using it affects their judgment. Not only that, but it is far from harmless. Marijuana has multiple consequences. The most obvious one being, its illegal. Being caught smoking it will lead to some trouble with the police. So shouldn't that be enough to stop people from doing it? Apparently not, but that's not the only effect they have on your life. The fact of the matter is that smoking marijuana does more damage to the lungs then even tobacco. It can inhibit learning, cause short term memory loss, reduce sperm count in males, disrupt menstrual cycle in females, and you may develop a physical or psychological reliance. Not only that but marijuana is much stronger than it was fifty years ago. And while it may not directly lead to stronger drugs, almost all users of heavier drugs have previously used marijuana.

In conclusion, all drugs are bad. They can effect your life in major ways no matter how harmless people say they are. The truth behind them is always there, and takes only a little research to realize how terrifying they can be.

Big image
Substance abuse at school

My Escape

I take my second big hit
The dark room becomes lit
It's starting to make me feel good
Just like it should
I'm confused and I don't care to worry
My memories are becoming blurry
By the time the joint comes back around
I can't get off the ground
Starting to loosen up, I'm starting to forget
My heart is beating so fast, I'm starting to sweat
Can't remember what pill I took
Didn't bother to look
As long as it takes everything away
And eases the pain for today
It's my turn again, I cough and choke
But I still take another toke
I'm so happy it's unreal
I can't explain how great I feel
So many ridiculous words are spoken
My heart no longer feels broken
Laughing so hard I begin to cry
I can hardly hold my head up high
He is no longer swaying from a tree
Now nothing can bother me
My pulse is really starting to race
But at least I can't see his face
I can try to quit
Or cut down a little bit
But this is all I can do to make him go away
Because he haunts my mind every second of the day

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/my-escape#ixzz3qxWhYNII

With Darkness Come Death

How could family be so cruel?
How could I have been so naive & such a fool?
My sister had frozen off my money for years,
When I found out it reduced me to tears,
She was all I had, I'd have traded her life for mine,
But now is the time I question why I ever wasted my time,
hundreds of thousands I never knew we had,
She had gone and blown it on her friends new fad,
I will never forget her junkie friends,
The way they roped her in to her life's ends,
I always thought she would be able to control her addiction,
but then something happened beyond my prediction,
I got a phone call from the hospital up in town,
this phone call really dragged me down,
they told me they were sorry and nothing could be done,
she promised me this would never happen, that it was just
for fun,
she has broken her promise to me,
I am now alone and always will be

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/with-darkness-come-death#ixzz3qxXIUBlP

How The Future Fades Away

It started out when I was young

An innocent life with lots of fun.

A mother and father who held me tight

but only until day turned to night.

Happy talking grew much louder

much more violent, not like a father.

With a smoky voice and bright red eyes,

pills in hand, not much of a surprise.

My mother took me from that home

and left my daddy all alone.

Years later once I've matured,

I understood those fights I heard.

Daddy was high and hit my mother

Could this really have been my father.

Homeless, poor, his life a mess,

left with nothing but drugs to screw with his head.

Whats that? My dad assaulted a woman?

These drugs really must be quite the burden.

Fourtey-six and in jail, he realizes his mistake

and so many other people can relate.

The horrors hes seen, the problems hes faced

All because in highschool, his friend said it was safe.

-Madeline Voss