Because of abusing drugs, millions of people, especially the youth, die each year, while many other people suffer from fatal health complications. Drug abuse makes its victims develop serious health conditions such as lung cancer or kidney failure as well as increases the risk infection of sexually transmitted diseases. Despite these life-threatening effects of drugs, more and more young persons (teenagers and youths) abuse drugs. They abuse prescribed medicinal drugs as well as hard drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana among other drugs. Most of the youth have also turned to abuse of alcohol, which has made them habitual addicts. Habitual addicts are less productive and are always withdrawn from most social and economic roles due to poor judgment (Hunt, Moloney, & Evans, 2010). This has worried most governments that wish to save their younger generations from premature deaths or effects of drug abuse. Youth abuse drugs for different reasons. Nonetheless, some of the common reasons as to why they abuse drugs include depression, peer pressure, social disorganization, media lauding the drugs, and rational choice.
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The basic cause of drug abuse among the youth is peer pressure. Hunt, Moloney, and Evans (2010) contend that a majority of youth who abuse drugs are influenced by their close friends. During this stage of human life, most youth tend to please their friends by doing what makes their friends happy. The youth lack broad knowledge base about some factors that they continue to meet in their daily lives. This lack of knowledge makes them curious to try out new things every time they encounter them. Therefore, when they find their friends abusing drugs, they also wish to abuse the same types of drugs to experience how it feels. Some of the young people feel that abusing drugs is ‘cool,’ meaning that it is an outstanding and desirable behavior. Thus, to fit in any group, the youth will always try to imitate their friends so that they may be compatible. This mostly occurs when they have less parental control and basic teaching about such factors as drugs. Once addicted, they tend to move on with friends who encourage them to abuse more and new types of drugs.
Another cause of drug abuse among the youth is depression. The youth are inexperienced, and even very small issues can depress them. The youth are always depressed from all angles of life. They encounter small challenges in life, ranging from factors like lack of basic needs, when friends annoy them or when they fail their exams. Moreover, some of these youths engage in early relationships that break their hearts and leave them disheartened. When others lack employment or jobs that can fetch them income or their families fail to support them, they also tend to be depressed. Therefore, there are many factors that may dispirit a young person, and when combined with naivety, the situation drives youth to drug abuse. Most youth lack life skills that can help them solve their basic problems with some level of maturity. With poor advice from some inexperienced friends, they will opt to adjourn their problems through seeking pleasure from the drugs. They believe that abusing drugs help them in creating some excitement, interfering with their psychological order, and relieving them of the burden of depression (Hunt, Moloney, & Evans, 2010). When they abuse these addictive drugs for the first time, they become habitual users of such drugs.
Social disorganization also contributes to drug abuse among the youth. Youth living in poor environmental conditions are more prone to abuse drugs. Disorganization in most social structures like family will always make the child to abuse drugs. For instance, if children grew up in a household where the parents do not care about the affairs of their children, it is easy for such children to abuse drugs. Moreover, if parents and neighbors abuse drugs in the presence of their children, such children will not have any understanding about drugs. They will simply imitate their parents or neighbor when they grow into adults. Parents who are addicted to the abuse of drugs will not be able to convince their children to avoid drugs. Therefore, disorderly social structures with poor parents push the children into abusing drugs when they are teenagers or youths.
The media has also betrayed its social responsibility and done so much harm to the youth. The media has greatly contributed to drug abuse among the youth. The media has the power to influence. It is to hold blame of the increased levels of drug abuse among the young persons. The media knows that the youth are helpless, irrational, and vulnerable and are not able to resist their persuasive content. However, the media still designs some advertisements and contents that persuade the youth to abuse drugs. For example, in the film industry, most scriptwriters have designed super stories showing how exciting a party is with alcohol. There is so much excitement about drinking alcohol and abusing other drugs. The media has portrayed drug abusers as successful footballers or stars without featuring the disadvantages of such drugs on the users. Pitcher (2011) argues that some musicians, who the youth view as role models, also abuse drugs and their music is lauding consumption of drugs, for instance the Jamaican song “I am a ganja planter”. The designers of the media content put it in such a manner that it will not only persuade the audiences but also go undiscovered. The advertisers also show how strong, powerful, and ‘cool’ one will be after using alcohol and only rapidly state that excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to one’s health. The second part has no impact on the audiences compared to the advert. Therefore, media should also hold the blame of making the youth abuse drugs.
The last cause of drug abuse among the youth is their rational choice. There are many stories that drugs have benefits. People have challenged legitimacy of drugs and have focused on its legalization. This has made the youth see that there is nothing wrong with abusing drugs. Therefore, they have decided to abuse drugs because they want to experience the benefits of drugs. There are many misplaced myths that lead youth into abusing drugs, such as the assertion that drugs help one to relax, improve individual’s creativity and sexual performance (Pitcher, 2011). Thus, the youth have become careless and disorderly, and they want to spend their lives in the manner that they wish. They have justified that they have freedom of choice and in that case they choose drug. Such negative attitudes and unruliness influence other young people, and they hide their weakness and abuse drugs even more.
To conclude, parents should understand different needs of their children and help them in solving of simple emotional problems that they encounter on daily basis. The parents need to work with the teachers in educating their children on different ways of avoiding drugs. Drug abuse is a world’s major health social problem that affects most young population across the globe (Pitcher, 2011). Drugs are addictive, costly, and destructive. All abused drugs have negative impacts on the youth. They hinder proper judgment and productivity in the youth. Addiction is a disease that is treatable but demands personal willpower to resist it. To fight drug abuse, different social groups need to work together with the government in helping the youth to resist drugs.