Drug abuse remains one of the social problems affecting a huge number of people around the world. It has been estimated that there are over one hundred and ninety million people around the world who use drugs, and that drug use among young people has always been on the increase, with most victims being below the age of thirty years.
Generally, drug abuse is caused by a wide range of factors and poses a host of negative effects, which can be prevented. This essay explores how some of these factors contribute to drug abuse, its effects, and possible solutions.
Drug abuse is caused by a series of factors, which can be classified as social, economical, biological, and environmental among groups. It is believed that the family plays a major role in shaping the behavior and character of young people, since they consider elder members of the family as role models.
As a result, dysfunctional families have been blamed for the increasing cases of drug abuse. Parents have the responsibility of setting a good example in the society because children tend to emulate their behaviors. This is to say that parents, who use drugs, largely influence their children since they assume that whatever they do is healthy and acceptable in the society (Barnard 39).
Besides children mimicking their parents’ behavior, psychologists argue that absentee parenting equally contributes to deviant behavior like substance abuse among young people. In most cases, children spend a lot of their time alone, far from parents because of career commitments.
They therefore lack the opportunity to instill morals in their children due to limited contact time (Barnard 39). Additionally, children tend to find comfort in drugs especially when parents are abusive. Such decisions are taken as a way of rebellion or expressing dissatisfaction with the action taken by parents in either correcting them or promoting good behavior.
Another cause of drug abuse among young people is low self-esteem. In some cases, young people feel rejected by the family, based on the kind of treatment accorded by senior members. As a result, they become self-insecure because of the uncertainty prevailing or self-doubt within oneself (Barnard 39).
For those in schools and colleges, failure to achieve targeted goals may lead to these feelings. When a child is plagued with these emotions without intervention, drug abuse is always their best option, without considering the long-term effects of some of the drugs used.
Peer pressure has also been cited as one of causes of drug abuse. In most cases, teenagers prefer indentifying themselves with certain behaviors, fashion and lifestyle. However, some of the practices upheld by a given group of young people may promote deviant behavior among members its members, since majority would want to fit in the group by conforming to its culture.
In other cases, young people try drugs to escape boredom or please their peers and be considered as heroes. Notably, boys and girls may influence one another especially in cases where they are in an advanced relationship, spend a lot of time together, and influence each other’s behaviors through interaction.
Another major cause of drug abuse is the media. In this general, it is hard to watch a television for ten minutes without being exposed to adverts promoting alcohol and other drugs. These adverts influence children in various ways, especially in cases where parental guidance does not exist.
Additionally, most of the advertisements are done by celebrities who further influence the perception of children towards drugs. Most of the children who are exposed to such adverts work towards becoming particular celebs by resorting to drug abuse. The situation may worsen in the case of a dysfunctional family set up.
In discussing the issue of drug abuse in the society, it is equally important to look at some of the effects of drug abuse, which necessitate mitigation measures as soon as possible. There are numerous effects of drug abuse, ranging from behavioral, emotional to health-related complications, some of which are fatal.
For example, most commonly abused drugs have serious health effects, which may turn out to be expensive to cure or incurable. The use of marijuana has been linked to heart-related problems due to alteration in heartbeat and blood pressure. Among other dangerous effects, increased heartbeat may cause permanent brain damage, resulting into impaired memory.
On the other hand, some drugs like tobacco can cause lung cancer, while others may lead to terminal illnesses (Maisto, Galizio and Connors 154). In line with this, drug abuse has also been linked to rising cases of HIV/AIDS among young people. In essence, young people under the influence of drugs are prone to risky sexual behaviors, which expose them to high chances of contracting the virus. Besides HIV, young girls may conceive unwanted pregnancies and other venereal infections.
Drug abuse also causes a range of emotional effects like stress, schizophrenia, and suicidal feelings. Young people have been found to register the highest level of depression, emanating from the use of different drugs (Maisto, Galizio and Connors 154). Besides this, some drugs may worsen mental problems to become dangerous and fatal. A good example is marijuana, which accelerates anxiety and depression among its users.
Drug abuse also breeds an array of behavioral problems among young people, which may affect their suitability to fit in the society. Deviant behaviors like bullying and violence are common among drug users. Other behaviors, which may make one to become a social misfit, are theft and harassment of peers.
Based on the negative effects of drug abuse, it is essential to erect measures aimed at curbing this scourge. For instance, public education and awareness is highly recommended since some people abuse drugs without knowing the negative side effects.
This can be done through public lectures or incorporation into the education curriculum to equip learners with relevant information on effects of drug abuse and how to overcome addiction. Laws should also be tightened to prevent easy access and distribution of certain drugs, which are commonly abused by the public (Barnard 135).
More recreational facilities ought to be developed to eliminate boredom among people. This would allow them to spend their leisure time in a meaningful manner. Additionally, media control should be enhanced through filtration of materials and programs aired, some of which encourage the use of drugs (Maisto, Galizio and Connors 422). Above all, is the responsibility of parents to watch over their children and help them to deal with social issues like peer pressure and media influence.
In summary, drug abuse is a major scourge affecting the current generation. However, the problems associated with this menace are contributed by the society. It is important to underscore the fact that drug abuse is caused by a wide range of factors and poses a host of negative effects, which can be prevented through varied approaches.
Barnard, Marina. Drug Addiction and Families. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007. Print.
Maisto, Stephen, Mark Galizio and Gerard Connors. Drug Use and Abuse. Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.