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It need not be stressed anymore that drug and alcohol abuse are among the prevalent teenage addictions that is afflicting the society nowadays. Peer pressure as well as domestic issues seems to be the common culprits why these youngsters seek solace in the comforts of alcohol and drugs. This is not to say however that we have to sanction the continuing degradation of moral, social, and spiritual values among young people. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (Health A to Z, 2007), about 5,000 teenagers under the age of 21 die each year due to vehicular or traffic accidents as a result of heavy drinking.

It is not unusual to find a causal link between drunk driving and accidents. What is disturbing is that almost half of these traffic accidents concerning 18- to 24-year-olds were reported to be intoxicated when the accident took place. In addition, about one out of three 18- to 24-year-olds admitted to emergency rooms were intoxicated. This is an alarming fact indeed. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University (Health A to Z, 2007), teenagers who drink alcohol are 7.

5 times more likely to use illegal drugs and 50 times more likely to use cocaine than people of their same age who never drink alcohol. in a survey conducted by South Illinois University, it has been found that students who drink more get fairly lower grades than students who drink only once or do not drink at all. In a 2004 survey conducted by the Gallup Youth Survey on 785 respondents aged 13 to 17, 20% admitted to smoking marijuana and 27% said yes to drinking alcohol (McMurray, 2004).

This only shows that drug addiction is no longer a minor problem among youngster. It also proves that anti-drug and alcohol education is no longer that effective in protecting the youngsters against the perilous effects of drug use and alcohol abuse. The United States Department of Health and Human Services conducted a study and the data showed that some of the common reasons why young people engage in drugs and alcohol abuse include the need to feel grown up; to fit in; to relax and feel good; to take risks and be a rebel; and to satisfy curiosity.

So whether a child will use drugs or will develop alcohol addiction depends on many factors that cannot be controlled at the same time. The social upbringing, environmental conditions, and cultural factors to which a child is exposed to will most certainly contribute to his character development and his preferences. Close family ties will most certainly contribute to a child’s emotional growth and may even reduce the chances of finding solace in drug use and alcohol drinking.

This is not however a guarantee because there are also external factors that a parent cannot control especially outside the family home. For instance, a child may find himself pressured by his friends to drink alcohol or to smoke marijuana. Drug use and alcohol abuse among teens must be dealt with by everyone with extreme vigilance lest our youngster will soon find themselves in a state of unproductive life. It is best of the government implements policies that will further protect the youngsters from getting hold of any form of drugs or from purchasing alcohols despite their being underage.

References: Health A to Z (2007). Alcohol: The Number One Drug Problem Among Teens. Retrieved 16, August 2007 from http://www. healthatoz. com/healthatoz/Atoz/common/standard/transform. jsp? requestURI=/healthatoz/Atoz/dc/cen/ment/alco/tsalcohol. jsp McMurray, Coleen (6 April 2004). Youth Survey: Alcohol and Drug Use Among Teens. Gallup. Retrieved 16, August 2007 from http://www. gallup. com/poll/11236/Youth-Survey-Alcohol-Drug-Use-Among-Teens. aspx

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