Substance Abuse in Adolescents: Examining the Problem Research Paper

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Substance Abuse in Adolescents: Examining the Problem and Proposing Solutions

The problem of Substance Abuse is one that has plagued the nation for decades. This issue stems far beyond the user themselves and far into the realm of national issues including: the economy, healthcare, legislation and public policy. For years, the nation has dealt with the issue of substance abuse, but only in its recent past has the issue become one that deals directly with adolescents. As the years pass by, substance abuse appears to affect a younger and younger demographic. Substance abuse in adolescents is an issue that not only affects the individuals abusing drugs and alcohol, but has the capacity to affect the nation as whole.

Background, Statistics and Underlying Factors to Abuse

Substance abuse is a major national public health problem that creates impaired health, harmful behaviors, and major economic and social burdens that continue far beyond an individual's adolescence and well into their adult life. Studies suggest that the younger an individual is at the onset of substance use, the greater likelihood that a substance disorder will develop and continue into adulthood (PLNDP, 2009, p.2). In fact, more than 90% of adults with current substance abuse disorders started using before the age of 18, with half of those beginning use before the age of 15 (Bachman, Johnston and O'Malley, 2002, p.4). Clearly, statistics like this are alarming, but there are solutions that can alleviate and hopefully fix the problem, if people are willing to look deep enough into the issue in an effort to weed it out at its roots.

Since the issue of substance abuse rose to prominence within society and the media within the United States, researchers and individuals affected have tried to pinpoint the factors that lead to this problem. As no truly beneficial rehabilitative help or solution to the problem can take place without an understanding of the factors that lead to substance abuse, researchers have noted that a clear understanding of the psychological profiles and underlying personality characteristics of addicted individuals must be pinpointed. Research has found that there are certain individuals who are more prone to initiate and sustain severe drug habits than others, and certain factors such as: psychological, familiar and environmental commonly lead juveniles and adolescents to become dependent on drugs (Ilgen, 2011, p. 1349).

On a psychological level, research has found that: environmental and personality stressors such as: low self-esteem, emotional instability, poor mental set, negative peer pressure, early traumatic experiences, inconsistent familial relations and social alienation lead to an increased risk of substance abuse among adolescents (Strang, 2012, p.71). Additionally, on a physiological level, factors such as: weak physical constitution and metabolism, frequent hospitalization, tolerance and previous experiences of withdrawal symptoms are likely to aggravate an individual's need for chemical substances (Norman, 2012, p.223). As seen, the reasons that adolescents turn to drugs and ultimately abuse… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Substance Abuse in Adolescents: Examining the Problem.  (2012, March 7).  Retrieved December 14, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/substance-abuse-adolescents-examining/718994

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"Substance Abuse in Adolescents: Examining the Problem."  Essaytown.com.  March 7, 2012.  Accessed December 14, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/substance-abuse-adolescents-examining/718994.