Using and Abusing

February 14, 2010
More by this author
Imagine losing two of your best friends in one night. Now, envision you killed both of them. Could you live with yourself knowing you caused their deaths? You decided to smoke weed right before you hopped into your car to drive them home. Dazed after lighting up, you figured no harm could find you. However, you neglect the fact that driving impaired often results in disastrous fatalities. Responsible for driving your friends home in time for curfew, you accelerate on the gas. You race home blazed and lose control of your car. You survived the crash, but your two friends passed away before reaching the hospital. Drugs blight teenage minds, and they cause adolescents long-term damages. Authority should take more extreme measures to prevent teen drug abuse.

Drugs create lasting, dangerous health effects on adolescents. When abused, all drugs contain the potential to damage the brain, lungs, heart, and other organs. No one should misuse drugs to begin with; however, teenagers’ bodies, still growing, cannot afford the long-term health costs. According to Karen Fanning’s Scholastic Choices article, “Marijuana Mess,” marijuana contains many of the same chemicals found in tobacco. The chemicals found in weed lead to chronic coughing, frequent chest colds, and a greater chance of lung infection. Developing teenagers cannot reach their full potential because of drugs that hinder their growth. Everyone wishes to grow up as healthy and safe as possible. Allowing teens such an ease of access to drugs makes for damaging, lifelong health effects on their bodies.

When on drugs, teens not only affect their health and safety but also the wellbeing of the people around them. Drugs influence movement, coordination, and concentration. Altering the minds of teenagers, substance use leads adolescents to make decisions they normally avoid. Austin Ewers, a junior at Pottsgrove High School, drove his best friends home one night after partying. Ewers, under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash, veered into an oncoming lane of traffic. Kathleen Brady Shea’s article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Teen driver in deadly crash to remain in custody,” reports two of the five passengers in Austin Ewers car died from the accident. If the young man decided to not smoke marijuana before operating his vehicle, he could have spared his two friends’ lives. Two young and innocent lives, with so much possibility ahead of them, ended. By abusing drugs, teenagers formulate unconscious decisions resulting in the danger of others. Reducing teen drug abuse would also decrease the dangers posed to society by reckless, using teens.

In addition to the harmful risks to teens’ long-term health, as well as to society’s safety, drug abuse could eventually lead to deaths due to overdose. If a teen ingests drugs in larger quantities than recommended, they overdose. Normally accidental and due to irresponsible drug use, overdosing stops the heart from beating and the lungs from breathing. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that mortality statistics for opioid overdose increased steadily through 2007. Teenagers access prescription drugs so easily that overdoses have progressively risen in recent years. Mothers sob, fathers grieve, siblings mourn. Teenagers could avoid tragic overdoses and their effects on loved ones. If a teen could not obtain drugs so easily, the number of overdoses would decline immensely.

Although presented with facts that drugs damage teen’s bodies, threaten society’s safety, as well as potentially result in overdose deaths, drugs still stand in people’s minds as harmless. Teenagers experiment with substances, and drugs pass as another phase in the life of a young adult. Trying drugs once will not result in addiction, right? Scholastic Choices’ “Real Questions, Real Answers” article states the earlier a teen uses drugs, the greater the chance of substance problems later on in life. Doing drugs as an adolescent alters brain development into adulthood, which puts the teen using drugs at a higher risk of addiction. Experimentation with drugs rarely results in a beneficial outcome for teenagers, their families, and also society. If authority more frequently punished adolescents for their drug abuse, experimenting could lead to punishment rather than addiction.

Given the consequences, society should take more drastic actions to avert adolescent’s substance use. Abusing drugs leads to detrimental effects on a teenager’s lifelong health. Not only does the teen’s decision affect him or herself, but their choice also puts the people around them in harm’s way. Health and harm, grave areas of concern, fail to take precedence over death; a young teen could die due to overdosing on drugs. To prevent all of the tragedies that come with using drugs, authorities should set more strict rules with severe penalties. Before the authorities get involved, start with yourself. If placed in a situation where a friend offers you drugs, set an example to others and say no. Also, encourage friends who use drugs socially to quit. Although everyone wants to fit in, no one wants to prematurely end his life thanks to a temporary high.

Join the Discussion

This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

Jordan901278 said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 11:13 am
so i'm guessing you're for the prohibition of marijuana. let me ask you something. is it easier for a teen to just walk to the park, find their buddy, hand him 30 bucks, put the weed in his pocket and leave or is it harder for him to find a willing adult at least 21 years old, get him to walk into a store and buy the weed for him? a lot of teenagers do marijuana, over 30%. how many teens smoke cigarettes or regularly drink their own alcohol? significantly less. why? because since those... (more »)
bambee123 replied...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm
you are stating facts yet to be litigated, if this case does not result in a conviction prepare for a defamation suit
Ellie_Michelle replied...
Apr. 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm
However, even if you solve the problems of teens and marijuana, you will not solve the problems of adult marijuana use and its consequences, Jordan901278.  I don't mean any disrespect at all. 
Jordan901278 replied...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 7:04 pm
i have yet to see any real dire consequence from marijuana and ONLY marijuana use in adults. i think the most harmful thing marijuana does is make you lazy. but to adults across the world, marijuana legalization also helps them, even if they don't even want to smoke it. most people think about the criminilization of marijuana as some sort of good thing right? something that saves countless lives? in all reality you're pretty much helping major drug cartels and violent men fund the... (more »)
Ellie_Michelle replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 1:27 am
I see your point there.  Maybe so. 
Site Feedback