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Alcohol and Tobacco Use Among Teens

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Submitted By vab0815
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Teenagers are faced with many life altering decisions and are often influenced by friends, family and social media. Unfortunately, many teenagers are making the wrong decisions and turning to other outlets such as drugs and alcohol. Due to these decisions, the rate of drug and alcohol use is on the rise and our society seems to be a part of this problem. Between the ages of twelve and nineteen is a period in a teenager’s life that determines what kind of adult he or she will become. This period of adolescence, is known as the “formative years. Parents teach their children at a very young age the importance of friendship. Many friendships begin as early as pre-school. Adults begin teaching children the importance of friendship and fitting in, being the cool kid or the popular kid is taught in the early years of school. Social interaction is important; however, at what cost do we as parents pressure our children at this crucial age the importance of being part of the in-crowd? Do we as adults set the pace for our children to continue this form of belief as they move into adolescents that they feel the need to stay part of the in crowd an succumb to peer pressure? Another contributing factor that could be adding to the use of drugs and alcohol in adolescents could be the lack of parenting time and family time in our society today as well as the number of divided families. With both parents out of the home working, youth are given an increased amount of time that they are unsupervised. This allows for a great deal of time to surf the internet and experiment in other aspects. Mass media is another source that plays a role into the vulnerability of the adolescents. Between the lyrics in the music, movie content and internet access, our youth have the ability to learn all the wrong things and fall prey to what they see and hear our society promoting. Media promote the perfect bodies; the Ken and Barbie look. To look like skinny perfect female or the very sturdy, muscular male is another pressure that teens are faced with. This type of body is not what the average person reflects but to a young teenager, this is what he or she wants to be, what he or she wants to look like. Drugs, such as speeders to lose weight and steroids to build muscle are the route that some teenagers take in order to achieve the look that they are told in the media is the way that everyone should look. Teenagers spend the majority of their time in school and with family. Schools and families must find ways to balance an adolescent’s need for greater independence with firm boundaries and limits while staying focused on any changes in hobbies and activities; abandoning old friends in exchange for new ones; mood swings and periods of depressing; strange behavior and a dramatic change in school grades and quality. These are all signs of possible drug or alcohol use. As a parent, teacher or mentor, it is our responsibility to know the warning signs and become familiar with all the resources available. Drugs have no rightful place anywhere in society; however, they have even less of a place in lives of teenagers. It is the responsibility of parents, school administrators and all mentors who are involved in the lives of teenagers to educate themselves as well as the teenagers as to the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. The more we teach and educate the teenagers, the more likely they will be to remain free from drug and alcohol use. It is also the responsibility of all to know the warning signs and be observant. Ultimately, each teenager will make their own decision regardless of the support or education they receive. However, being present and responsible and letting them know that they have support could make the challenges they face in life just a bit easier. Adolescence is a time when teenagers seek and explore greater levels of independence, try new roles and identities, and transition into adulthood. It is not surprising that many youths begin to develop a curiosity or interest in drugs and alcohol as a means of expression. Society, on a whole, needs to become more involved in the lives of teenagers. From the music and lyrics to the movies as well as the examples set by adults, it is our responsibility to mentor, educate and support teenagers.…...

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