Question at Issue
What are the reasons behind youths’ engagement in drug abuse in the 21st century?
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Although youths in the 21st century engage in drug abuse due to several factors, it suffices to declare factors such as the rising unemployment status, peer pressure, and their hiked tendency to copy their parents’ behaviors as the principal drivers of drug abuse. However, one would wish to know why.
Unemployment and Drug Abuse among Youths in the 21st Century
Eighner’s words of people being satisfied with what they have and or letting go of what their financial ability cannot afford do not seem to apply in the life of youths in the 21st century.
Youth joblessness has become a key issue in the 21st century. It has continued to have serious effects on development potential of young people. The increased rate of unemployment among young people encourages them to use drugs to change the way they feel or they way they perceive their incapacitated situation rather than accepting the situation and or using the right means of overcoming it.
They have to carry on with offensive acts and prostitution to sustain themselves. Drug abuse has physical, mental, and social effects. Physical injury also results from accidents that youths encounter while they are drunk. Joblessness and poverty also make the youths resort to self-treatment following the evident absence of funds for appropriate therapeutic treatment.
Morrel et al. confirm the existence of a “link between unemployment and increased drug, tobacco, and alcohol use” (237). Unemployment leads to stress, which makes youths use drugs hoping to feel better. However, on the contrary, they end up being drug addicts. Unemployment makes youths become vulnerable to drug abuse because they have a lot of free and idle time on their hands, which gives them the chances to involve themselves in socially deviant behaviors with drug abuse being one of those behaviors.
Lack of employment is among the factors that influence their feeding habits and hence their health. In fact, Eighner has come in handy to address the issue of healthy eating habits that even the jobless youth should use (6). However, he also points out financial issues that arise because of lack of jobs that determine what people or rather youth will choose to consume (drugs) based on their little or no cash at all (7).
Many youths who have no employment end up abusing drugs because they need to survive and or keep on pressing in this life. When youths are growing from being children to adults, they have a lot of hopes and aspirations, which fade off as time goes by as they involve in drug abuse as a way of forgetting their unemployment status.
Moreover, congruent with Eighner’s words, a decent job can help add to habitable earnings, civilized shelter, and high-quality social sustenance, which can help promote health and wellbeing of the youths, help them recover from mental health problems, and avoid substance abuse-related harms (6).
However, youths still abuse drugs despite some having good employment. In fact, Wells and Stacy say, “Finding meaningful employment will not solve all problems, but it’s a very important part of the bigger picture for many people” (164). Congruent with Curry’s Why We Work, it is possible for youths to experience stress to the extent of demanding ‘time offs’ (23) in their jobs. As a result, majority will use this opportunity to use stimulants as a way of relieving themselves from stress. Stimulants will make a youth forget his or her situation.
On the other hand, depressants like prescription of sleeping pills can give the youth a good and extended night’s sleep, which is especially common to unemployed young people for they want to remain sleepy so that they do not think much of their situation. They prefer taking depressants to escape their problems. As they repeatedly take the pills, they end up being drug addicts. Research done by Florida found out, “states with higher unemployment rates do tend to have higher rates of drug use” (Wells and Stacy 163).
Peer Pressure and Drug Abuse among Youths
Peer pressure is among the strongest predictors of drug use during adolescence. Peers initiate youths into drugs, provide drugs, model drug- using behaviors, and shape attitude about drugs. Currently, youths are adopting a common lifestyle.
Most adolescents are drained by this lifestyle not because they lack something essential in their lives like a job or because they have a genuine reason as to why they have adopted to that very lifestyle but because they want to fit into their peer group for acceptance. Peer pressure leads to the abuse of drugs by teenagers. Teens engage in drugs in order to rhyme with their peers. The extensive and continuous use of these drugs lands them to drug addiction.
A drastic rise in drug abuse among teens in the 21st century has been noted following their parting with their parents to join their peers at school. On the contrary, Cisneros’ The Storyteller is an article that features the life of a young tutor who has been far from her parents for a while. Although Cisneros has peers in her workplace, she is an epitome of young people who choose to go against the norms to do what is right no matter the pressure (Cisneros 153) of experimenting things along with her peers.
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According to Morrel et al., “teenagers seem to have more problems with peer pressure because they are just beginning to learn about whom they are and what their belief systems are” (240).
Peer pressure stands out as among the principal causes that can drive the present-day knowledgeable youths towards drugs dependence. When educated youths are through with their studies, they start hunting jobs. Sometimes, the jobless time can extend due to rapid changes in the job market thus leading them to start experiencing headaches, depressions, and confusion.
At this stage, the peers who seem to be helping them to overcome the situation lead the educated youths into the act of abusing drugs. By the time they realize they are abusing drugs, they already have reached the addiction stage. Peer pressure qualifies as one of the central roots of drug abuse among youths because many teenagers try drugs because they were given by their friends. Unfortunately, what people believe their peers want them to do is often the cause of what they actually do.
Family Lifestyle and Drug Abuse among Youths
The way family functions can have a strong impact on a teenager. Teenagers coming from families where there is minute parental management and attention have high chances of misusing drugs in relation to teens from homes with more parental participation. Teens who spent the better part of the day without their parents have high chances of participating in hazardous behaviors. Tough folk relations can help prevent drug abuse.
Coming from a home that stresses on using of harmful substances has a tendency to make a young person perceive it as up to standard. Detrimental family pressure may be an aspect in a teen’s early drug testing. In fact, “Exposure to family members who reach for a substance to cure every pain of ailment can cause a teen to do the same” (239). Young people acquire many of their principles from parents and other mature influences.
They often mimic what they see. In addition, adolescents who have the perception that they are not close to or treasured by their parents are at a larger hazard because they have low self-esteem, which leads to depression and hence drug addiction. A teen may also engage in a drug abuse act when he or she comes from a family with poor familial factors like poor communication strategies between youths and their parents.
In conclusion, youths lie within a delicate age set, which is prone to many dangers especially drug abuse. The paper has discussed drug abuse as the main challenge facing youths in the 21st century. It has clearly described how youths engage in drug abusing activities. Three reasons behind this engagement have been addressed.
Unemployment is one of the issues discussed in this paper whereby many unemployed persons engage in abusing drugs as a way of getting consolation. Peer pressure also plays a big role in the act of drug abuse among the youths. Lastly, family lifestyle has a major influence on teens and their likelihood of abusing drugs.
Curry, Andrew. Why We Work. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.
Cisneros, Sandra. “The Storyteller.” The Oprah Magazine 10.3(2009): 153. Print.
Eighner, Lars. “On Dumpster Diving.” The Threepenny Review 1.47(1991): 6-8. Print.
Morrel, Stanley, Jack Taylor, and Kerr Bill. “Jobless. Unemployment and Young People’s Health.” Medical Journal of Australia 168.5(1998): 236-40. Print.
Wells, Brian, and Barrie Stacy. “A Further Comparison of Cannabis (marijuana) Users and Non users.” British Journal of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs 71.2(1976): 161-165. Print.