Professor Virginia Jeronimus
1 May 2016
“Reducing Juvenile Drug Use”
Drug use among juvenile has been an unsettling trend for many years and continues to plague communities. It is only foolish to accept this as normal so therefore there needs to be some action to help reduce this terrible trend. The drugs used among juveniles include: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol (Siegel, Welsh, 400-401). What can be done in response?
The first question to be asked is, why do teens abuse drugs in the first place? The reasons care categorized as the following: social disorganization, peer pressure, family factors, genetic factors, emotional problems, problem behavior syndrome, and rational choice (Siegel, Welsh, 408-411). Along with these results, surveys revealed that over 57% of juveniles used due to wanting to have a good time, another 49% wanted to experiment with the drug, and 43% just wanted to get high (Siegel, Welsh, 407). Other reasons included: to relax, as a way to escape problems, frustrations, and coping with physical needs (Siegel, Welsh, 407). Research has shown that youths dealing with drug abuse were introduced to substance abuse at an early age; researched showed some were getting drunk by the age of 8 (Siegel, Welsh, 411). The addiction help center cites the following as serious concerns of decriminalization: 1) individuals may engage in drug related behavior due to no legal prosecution, 2) treatment center are not large enough to handle the expected increase of addicts, 3) such decriminalization may push for legalization in other situations, and 4) street drugs prices may fall and many individuals can become tempted and want to experiment (Pros and Cons of Decriminalizing Drug Addiction, Addiction Help Center). With these rationales, it is rather difficult to support such notions a decriminalization.
Another method of treating the problem of juvenile drug use is through research based prevention programs. These research programs are designed for various ages and backgrounds to “boost protective factors and eliminate or reduce risk factors for drug use” (Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction, Drug Abuse). The three types of programs which are: universal program, selective program, and indicated program (Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction, Drug Abuse). Universal programs address the factors involved in juvenile drug use in a setting, such as workplace or school, selective programs pinpoint teens with factors that give them an increased drug use risk and indicated programs assist teens who have already suffered with drug use (Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction, Drug Abuse)
Prevention in the end is the best way to reduce juvenile drug abuse, as by limiting drug use among juveniles would greatly reduce the problem. It would be best for community leader to introduce a program that educates specifically on the dangers and risk taken in place as well as local treatment centers. By being specific with facts and true stories regarding drug use, teen’s eyes may be opened and a new perspective may be born.
Seigal, Larry J. and Welsh, Brandon G. Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice and Law. Cengage Learning. 2015. Print
Addiction Help Center. Pros and Cons of Decriminalizing Drug Addiction. Web.
National Institute of Drug Use. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addcition. Drug Abuse. Web.