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Preventing Teenage Drug and Alcohol Use
A survey of 8th graders shows that in 2009, 14.5% said they have used drugs. In
2010, drug abuse in 8th graders increased to 16% (http://www.drugabuse.gov/newsroom/10/NR12-14.html). Drug abuse is a most common issue for teens. The way that young people are being taught may be the cause of this increase. There are more successful ways to teach teenagers about drugs to prevent them from using. If teachers and parents do not change the way they teach their children and students about drugs, the increase will continue and their will be dangerous affects and serious consequences.
Most adults, such as teachers and parents teach teenagers “Just say no”. However, 60% of drugs were sold to, used ,or kept in school in 2010.
(http://www.teendrugabuse..us/teen_drug_use.html) Also, some parents themselves are
alcoholics or abuse drugs. This is a bad influence on their children and makes the children
more likely to use. Not enough parents talk to their kids about this subject either, because
they don’t know how to. Some elementary schools have been teaching 4th and 5th graders
about drugs as well. If the children have not already been informed, teenage years is when
people should be taught about drugs and alcohol because that is the time period in their
lives when they get the most peer pressure to use drugs and first get introduced to them.
Also, drug and alcohol use can lead to violence, crime, suicides, juvenile delinquency,
physical abuse, divorce, prostitution, poverty, and homelessness(How To Say No by
Virginia Aronson, page 52). Teenagers are not taught how to deal with depression and
suicide besides drugs and overdosing. There must be more affective ways to prevent drug
use among young teens.
Kids who learn about the drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use.
(http://www.TIMETOTALK.org/) Talking to your children about drugs and alcohol can
strengthen the family by making the children feel like they can talk to their parents about
other issues as well. Also, teachers and parents should give teens motives that matter to
them or affect their personal life, to not use drugs. Some teens use even though they know
their health/lives are at risk. In this case users need to realize that something important to
them is in jeopardy. For example, if a drug or alcohol user knows that a valuable
relationship to them is being threatened, it may cause them to quit. Programs in schools
such as Walk-The-Talk and health class should work on their teaching strategies about
drugs, if it is not already effective throughout the school. It is important for these
programs to be effective, in case parents continue not to talk to children about drug and
In the book How To Say No by Virginia Aronson, some ways that teenagers are
educated about drugs and alcohol are clearly shown. In the chapter “Ways To Say No”,
the book gives examples of other healthy ways to get a “euphoric rush”. (How To Say No
by Virginia Aronson, pages 55-56). These suggestions include “falling in love, working
on a favorite project, listening to a beautiful piece of music, and praying”(Virginia
Aronson, page 56). Most of these are probably not particularly important to most teens. It
also states that “being aware of what drugs do to you makes it easier to resist”(Virginia
Aronson ,page 54) ,but the majority of teens do know, yet some still use. The chapter also tells the reader that using just once can end your life(Virginia Aronson, Page 47). This is
true, however most teens feel that the chances of that are so slim, it will never happen
The majority of teens do not use drugs and alcohol. However, statistics show an
increase in teen use of certain drugs throughout the years. The users are also getting not
only younger, but are using more frequently. The reason for this frightening increase is
not only the way teenagers are being taught about drugs and alcohol, but teenagers who
do use drugs and alcohol brag to their peers about their using. Then, their peers feel as if
the majority of teenagers are using , and feel pressure to fit in. If we don’t give these teens
the facts of who actually is using, it may continue to increase year after year.
Drugs mostly affect teens because of the way they are being taught about them.
There is a high chance that teens will not use if they are taught correctly at an early age. If
not, drug use may continue to increase in teens throughout the years. More parents should
begin talking to their children about the issue. If we make an effort to prevent drug use of
teens, we can save many young lives.
Aronson, Virginia. How to Say No. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2000. Print.
"Teen Drug Use Statistics II." Teen Drug Abuse - Troubled Teens Are Resorting to Drugs. Web. 15 Dec. 2010. <http://www.teendrugabuse.us/teen_drug_use.html>.
"Teen Marijuana Use Increases, Especially among Eighth-graders." The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 14 Dec. 2010. Web. 16 Dec. 2010. <http://drugabuse.gov/newsroom/10/NR12-14.html>.
"Transitions & Teens: A Guide For Parents." Time to Talk: Get Help Talking to Your Kids about Drugs and Alcohol. Web. 15 Dec. 2010. <http://www.timetotalk.org/>.