Drug and Substance Abuse among the Youths


The rising incidences of drug an substance abuse among the youths is a cause of concern for parents, the education sector and the society as a whole. A drug can be defined as a substance that alters the normal function of an individual body, for instance the behavior and the reasoning. Drugs give the use a sense of euphoric feeling which gives them the feeling of satisfaction, the main reason to the continuous use and addiction. Illegal drugs are addictive and are not prescribed by a medical practitioner; these drugs are taken for the purpose of leisure.

In the past most of the substances that were categorized as drugs were derived from plants e.g. marijuana, however in the 21st century drugs developed such that they could now be manufactured from a concoction of chemicals for example: LSD. The invention of synthetically manufactured drugs has seen a significant rise in the use and abuse of drugs among the youths. This is due to the increased availability of the drugs in the market. The sale of drugs for recreational purposes have become a booming business with individual involved in the activity raking in millions at the expense of the innocent youth who comprise for the majority of the consumers. The increasing concern into the rampant use of non medical drugs is due to the fact that the drugs have been modified to be stronger than they were in the past (Winters, 2006).

Drug abuse was tolerated in the past due to the fact that the effects were minimal.However, as a society we failed to notice the change in the strength of the drugs and with time the effects have become evident and more serious that they were in the past. The drugs have not only become stronger but they have become more addictive for instance ecstasy and ‘speed’. This however is not a justification for the relaxation of the government and the educators on the fight against drug abuse. Had the fight began over 50years ago, the staggering figures of youths abusing the drugs would not have escalated to the figures available today. The fight should have began long ago as the culture of showing no concern for the drug users is the reason why the situation has now gone out of control and to worrying trends (Taylor, 2004).

Some of the substance and drugs commonly abused by the youths include: club drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol. Some youths have also been noted to abuse prescription drugs and take them not for treatment or prevention purposes but as a form of leisure activity.About 1.1 million youths from the age of 12-17 have been categorized as being dependant on drugs, whereas about a million have been diagnosed to be alcoholic and seeking treatment in the rehabilitation centers across the country. The national institute of health also records that approximately 18% of 8th graders admitted to be using illicit drugs. 15% of 12th graders also admitted to have used prescription drugs for recreational purposes and not for cure or treatment of a medically established ailment. 5% of the 12th graders also admitted to have used MDMA. The substance that is predominantly abused by the youths is alcohol was over 40% were recorded to have been drunk at several occasions (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2011).

This is a worrying trend as the youths are gradually wasting away their lives and the society is doing so little to prevent the increasingly worsening situation. The lack of action by the government, parents and the educators and the continuous blame and condemnation of the youth for their irresponsible behavior is doing little to help curb the problem. There is evidently a societal breakdown in the upbringing and the responsibility that the society and the parents were to partake in ensuring that the youth are brought up in a morally upright way (Winters, 2006).

Drug barons and peddlers have found new target market: the youth. With continuous use the youths become addicted to the drug and become daily customers to the peddlers who are conveniently located within the school vicinity. But what is the government doing to curb this? There is little effort to arrest the barons involved in the peddling of drugs, focus on the peddlers has a temporal effect as others are recruited to continue with the business. In many instance the youths are the peddlers. It is about time that the government and society focuses more on the barons who have the wealth and the means of purchasing the drugs and peddler them to the youth. By arresting the prime crime offender, the government will have cracked the chain (Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, 2003).

The first step in prevention of drugs and substance abuse among the youths is to determine the risk factors that make the youth prone to substance and drug abuse. The youths will no indulge in substance and drugs abuse abruptly, there is the force that pushes him or her to indulge in the drug and substance abuse. These forces are what are referred to as risk factor. They could be in the individual character and behavior such as aggressiveness and they can also be a force related to the society, the school and his papers. Factors such as lack of parental control and supervision have been blamed for the cause of drugs abuse. The parents of today are engrossed in their careers that the do not have time to monitor the activities of their children. The children then turn to role models of questionable conduct and they ape their behavior. Peer influence has also been recognized as a factor that contributes to the increasing number of youths engaging in substance abuse. The need to fit within certain clique of friends in school is the number one reason why the students indulge in substance abuse (Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, 2003).

The study into drugs and substance abuse among the children is an appropriate research that requires further study on the way the vice can be curbed. The perception of the youths that drug and substance abuse is a ‘cool’ activity needs to be changed and this change has to be administered at a young age. Study into the misuse of drugs will bring forth recommendation to the education system of ways to handle the occurrence of abuses such as educative classes on the risk factors involved with drugs and substance abuse as well as insist on the education system to push for the governments intervention in administration of stringent measures that deal with the availability of drugs within the school and near the school vicinity. From the research educators will be informed on the tell-tale signs that the youths may portray to indicate that they are at risk of substance abuse or they are already abusing drugs. Such signs include: withdrawal where the child prefers to stay be him/her self, and is withdrawn. If the educators are impacted with this knowledge they will be able to note the problem and seek solutions before the youth becomes addicted to the drug (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2011).

The study hopes to bring forth the implications of drug abuse among the youths. Substance and drug abuse negative affect the mental, psychological and mental health of the youths. An increased number of youths have been reported to be suffering from drug related illnesses such as respiratory infections due to smoking and hepatitis C due to the sharing of needles. One of the main functions of a drug is to alter the normal function of the brain, with continuous use therefore the brain becomes affected and in some instance rehabilitation and therapy will not help. Continuous use of the drugs also affects an individual ability to be in control of normal functions and to consciously make decisions and take productive actions.

 Research Questions

 What are the risk factors that make the youths prone to drugs and alcohol abuse?

What are the protective factors that can save the youths from drugs and substance abuse?

What is the relation between peer influence and drug abuse?

What is the relation between drug and substance abuse and academic performance?

Can peer education motivate abstinence from drug abuse?


 National Institute on Drug Abuse, (2011). The science of drug abuse and addiction. Retrieved from http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDAHome.html on 20th May 2011

Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, (2003). Texas school survey of substance use among students: Grades 7-12. Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Taylor, G. (2004). Youths serving youths in drug education programs. R&L Education

Winters, K. (2006). Adolescent Substance Abuse: New Frontiers in Assessment. Routledge

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