As I think back to a time growing up in a small town, I close my eyes and imagine two small girls running through a field of tall grass chasing one another. Sweet giggles and the words echo through the air, “you can’t catch me,” as the hot sun beams down on our little faces and the wind blows through our thin long hair. The youngest of us, my baby sister, was a very sweet and innocent little girl at the age of four. She was full of love and kindness with her whole life ahead of her.
She came from a very loving family who spoiled her with everything she wanted and needed as she was the last baby of the family. We used to pretend what we were going to be when we grew up. We were going to marry movie stars and she was going to be a veterinarian. We never thought that she would grow up and fall victim to an addiction that would consume her entire life. She, like many addicts, spiraled down this path of destruction at a very young age. When we hear the words addiction or drug abuser we tend to get a mental image of who they are.Order now
We imagine they are adults who are in their late 20’s and 30’s who frequently party and lead a very irresponsible life. While this is sometimes an accurate depiction of an addict we need to realize that a lot of drug abuse starts as early as high-school. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse “Most people use drugs for the first time when they are teenagers. There were just over 2. 8 million new users of illicit drugs in 2012, or about 7,898 new users per day. Half (52 percent) were under 18. With statistics showing that in 2012 over 3,949 teens try drugs for the first time” (The Science).
Therefore, it is obvious that we are failing our youth when it comes to education and prevention. Identifying the problems that are causing our youth to turn to illicit drugs use is the first step in prevention. A lot of young kids have an increase in individual freedom and choice due to a lack of parental supervision. Some seem to have a lack of parental control, allowing the teen to do what they want, out of guilt. Most of the time both parents are forced to work outside of the home which leaves teenagers with more freedom.
Sometimes both parents working causes a poor relationship with their kids and this ultimately leads them falling into peer pressure to try drugs. Teenagers seem to have more money and too much freedom of what they are spending it on. The cure to this epidemic drug abuse among teens must start at home with talking to your children about drugs and monitoring their activities closer. Parental interaction and monitoring is a step in the right direction, as is parents becoming more educated and aware of the types of drugs teens are using.
They think of marijuana, worry about cocaine, meth and some of the other drugs the older generation is familiar with. However, some of the drugs teens are using are synthetic and not yet illegal for them to buy. This is often packed as potpourri or herbal incense and sold in convenience stores, which mimic the effects of marijuana. The companies that market this dangerous synthetic cannabis compounds seem to target the younger generation as they package the product in packaging that contain cartoon characters and call it Scooby Snacks, making reference to the classic cartoon Scooby-Doo.
The side effects or the high that the user is looking for is similar to marijuana except the dizziness, relaxation and mood altering feelings last around fifteen minutes. This causes the person to use this drug repeatedly and several times a day. This increases the chance of addiction and death tremendously. Another dangerous synthetic drug teens are using is called bath salts. According to an article published by Fire Engineering, the author wrote that recreational drugs are marketed as products “not for human consumption” to avoid state and federal regulation as drugs or food substances.
They are instead sold as plant fertilizers; insect repellants; pond cleaners; vacuum fresheners; and, of course, most popularly as bath salts, from which the slang for this category of drug is derived” (Duckworth). The short term side effects include rapid heart rate, hypertension, insomnia, headaches, palpitations, unusual sexual stimulation and erratic behavior. The long term and sometimes fatal effects are increase in heart attacks and strokes, severe depression, severe psychosis and loss of coordination. Other popular drugs teens are known to use is saliva, inhalants, and MDMA ecstasy or molly.
These particular synthetic drugs mimic the opiate and analgesic property drugs. These drugs are commonly used as date rape drugs. The addiction of these synthetic drugs are very different perhaps due to the psychological instability and irritability. Overdose and overuse of these drugs often renders the user permanently in a state of paranoia and severe psychosis, sometimes death. Another addiction that kids are falling prey to is a prescription drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and a sleeping disorder called narcolepsy. The most common ones are called Adderall and Ritalin.
This is mostly abused by college students for the side effect of being able to stay up all night and cram for tests. The pharmacodynamics of this particular class of drugs is that they unleash the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, this then triggers the brain’s reward system, and can produce a mild sense of euphoria. These drugs have the chemical makeup of the popular diet drug of amphetamine which can explain the inflated sense of productivity. College students report that when they take this drug that it helps them catch up in school, by improving focus, concentration and memory.
Because of the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine this is most likely a just a feeling of superiority and a drug that causes insomnia as a side effect. The likelihood of the drug itself improving focus and concentration along with increased memory isn’t a known side effect for this drug, the students would probably retain and remember just as much information without it. This is a dangerous drug for healthy people to take due to the fact that it increases heart rate and blood pressure to dangerous levels that can lead to a stroke or heart failure.
Anyone who takes these types of drugs need to be under the care of a physician. Prolong use of this drug like most other prescription drugs leads to tolerance and you have to take more to achieve the desired effect. A Medical Dr. would monitor changes in the patient’s heart these are prescribed to as prolonged use of this drug causes the heart muscle to enlarge leading to heart failure and kidney problems. Drug abuse causes multiple problems for schools. The presence of school resource officers would deter some of the distribution between the teens.
The medical and psychological effects are very obvious. Their grades fall drastically while their attendance declines. Addicts cannot function as normal students in school. Their inability to focus and attitude along with their irritability and they become angry often. When they continue on in life being an addict they will likely neglect or abuse their families and eventually require expensive treatment or hospitalization. The growing numbers of Adolescents, teen and young college student based treatment centers should be telling us we have an epidemic problem of abuse with our younger generations.
The future of our Nation is dependent on our youth and with the growing number of reported addiction it is alarming. With the increase of teen addiction treatment centers and massive amount of school based preventive programs that target teens, we can no longer hide in the shadows hoping for a better outcome. We have always been told that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With that said it would be easier to prevent our youth from ever using or experimenting in drugs than it would be to rehabilitate them.