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Adolescent Drug Use

This research examines issue fronts related to use of drugs by adolescents. Three main features of adolescent drug use emerge from the literature. First there is acknowledgment that the problem of drug and alcohol abuse among adolescents is pervasive. Second, specific reasons for the phenomenon vary with the individual case but are connected to developmental trends that research has identified as common to adolescents in general. Third, intervention in drug-related behavior is both possible and desirable, although the manner of intervention appears to be related to its success or failure.

Although adolescence has been identified as a period of time in which individuals seek autonomy and personal identity distinct from that of their family units, and although peer influences and relationships have been found to be extremely important in shaping personality, it is almost impossible for any individual to escape childhood influences, particularly the character and quality of one's home life and family situation. A study of eighth-graders and tenth-graders by Jenkins and Zunguze (1998) suggests that the very structure of the family (nuclear or "intact" family, single-parent households, divorced parents, blended "stepparent" families, etc.) can be a predictor of teenage drug use. The least likely users of tobacco, alcohol, or so-called "gateway" drugs such as marijuana were found to be eighth-graders adolescents from intact families, across the board. Reinforcement of this finding is available in a study of recovering adolescent substance abusers, which found that a common pattern is a failure of parental nurturing, not least because of parental substance abuse (Vaughn and Long, 1999).

Jenkins and Zunguze (1998) found that use of controlled substances was connected to the degree of intact-family disruption and the potential for truncation of the development of an adolescent's emotional stability and compensatory coping skills. Users of...

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Adolescent Drug Use. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:17, August 09, 2020, from