Drug abuse in adolescents

One day, as i was going to work. I met this young man, totally drunk and unaware of his surroundings. He was supposed to be in school or working, but was wasting his energy and youth on substance abuse instead of being productive in nation building. Drug abuse is a public health problem that increases adolescences’ risk of risky sexual practices, poor academic performance, juvenile delinquency, developmental problems and accidents.


Drug abuse can be defined as use of any chemical that cause physical, mental, emotional , or social harm to an individual or to people close to her or him. Drug addiction is use of a drug despite the harm they may cause the individual. The addictive nature of the drug varies from substance to substance and from individual to individual.

Effects of Drug addiction

  1. Physical dependency: occur when the drug has been used habitually and the body has become accustomed to its effects. The addict must use the drug in order to feel normal, or its absence will trigger withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Psychological dependency: occur when the drug has been used habitually and the mind has become dependent on the effects and does not feel capable of functioning without it. Its absence produces intense cravings, which are often brought on or magnified by stress.

Factors that can contribute to drug abuse

  • Family factors: adolescents who observe his or her parents using or abusing drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances are more likely to use or abuse them. Other family factor includes parental absence inconsistent discipline, poor or lack of communication conflict between parent and adolescents and family break up. However, family disruption may not directly lead to drugs abuse; rather, family problem may leads to disenchantment with traditional values and development of deviant attitudes, which may lead to drug abuse
  • Early antisocial behavior: adolescents who show early antisocial behavior may be more likely to abuse drugs.
  • School factors : a range of school problem, such as poor performance, frequent absences, early drop out or little interest in school, may result in use or abuse of drugs . However, it may be more likely that social factors that are linked to poor performance in school are independently linked to drug use.
  • Peer factors: spending time with peers who use drug is perhaps the strongest predictor of adolescents substance use. Peers who are already involved in drugs may encourage other to use drugs through peer pressure, by providing drugs, and by showing others how to use them.

Attitudes, believe and personality traits: some a Attitudes, believe and personality traits may make adolescents more likely to abuse drugs .this include poor relationship with parents , low interest in education, and feelings of being different from other .

  • Response to stress: drug abuse may be the results of feeling out of control, a sense of meaninglessness, or lack of direction in life .adolescents may use drugs to feel better about life events, which they see as being out of their control.

Consequences of adolescent substance abuse

Adolescents face unique risks associated with substance abuse. The use of substances may cause negative consequences during adolescent’s mental and emotional development. In addition, adolescents are at risk for a number of direct or indirect problems.

  • School related problems: drugs abuse is associated with declining in grades, absenteeism from school, and dropping out of school.
  • Risky sexual practices: adolescents who use drugs and alcohol are more likely than non-using teenager to have sex, initiate sex at younger age, and have multiple sex partners. This place them at greater risk for unplanned pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • Delinquent behavior and juvenile crimes: drugs can leads to selling drug and stealing and violence.
  • Physical and mental consequences: doing drugs can have negative effects on the user’s mind and body. The effects can be short term, such as memory loss, or long term, such as cancers, infertility, or HIV infection from unclean needles.
  • Future use disorders: the younger a person is when he or she drinks alcohol, the more likely that person is to develop a problem with alcohol later in life.

Signs and symptoms of substances abuse

People who interact with adolescents in the home or community need to be alert to changes in adolescence’s behavior and appearance that may signals substance abuse. By recognizing this signs, you may be able to get help for the young person in need of treatments. The following behavior changes when extremely or lasting for more than a few days may indicate substance abuse and the need for further screening by the professional.

  1. Sudden changes in personality without another known cause
  2. Loss of interest in favorite hobbies, sport, or other activities.
  3. Sudden decline in performances or attendance at school or work
  4. Changes in friends and reluctance to talk about new friends
  5. Deterioration of personal grooming habits
  6. Difficulty paying attention or forgetfulness
  7. Sudden aggressive behavior, anger, nervousness or giddiness
  8. Increased secretiveness, heightened sensitivity to being asked questions

Alcohol, drugs, and HIV

Adolescence and young adults are at the age when trying new things is especially inviting. Alcohol and drugs may be particularly attractive to young people. Although alcohol and drugs do not cause people to become infected with HIV, people who use the increase their risks of becoming infected with HIV. They may be influenced by drugs to have risky behavior intercourse, be forced into prostitution to support a drug habits, or becomes infected by sharing needles. Drugs and alcohol also affects the immune systems, making a person less able to fight diseases.

Facts on some of the mostly abused substances

  • More adolescents use alcohol than bhang. Alcohol is most frequently used among adolescents because it’s readily available.
  • Factors that influence how alcohol affects the individuals include: body weight, amount of alcohol consumed, the presence of other drugs in the systems, the general health of the individual at the time and how recently she or he has eaten.
  • More people are addictive to cigarettes than any other substance. Cigarette smoking is a very difficult habit to break but stopping is essential for good health.
  • If there is no permanent heart or lung damage, the body begins to heal itself when the person stops smoking.
  • Alcoholism is a disease, just as diabetes or epilepsy are diseases .it can respond to treatments, which include eliminating all alcohol consumption.

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