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Drug Abuse

In an era of concern over drug abuse, an era in which this concern is directed most often at so-called "hard" drugs such as cocaine and crack, alcohol remains the most consumed drug among adolescents and a major health problem for this population (Lewis, 1992: p. 64). The problem is severe: Marks (1989) cites evidence showing that the use of alcohol can be seen as part of an adolescent tendency toward risk-taking behavior, including such behavior as cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, and reckless driving or other dare-devil exploits, all of which constitute the most common causes of death during adolescence, whether by accident, suicide, or homicide. In terms of drug abuses, the statistics show that alcohol remains the "drug of choice" for the majority of adolescents, and surveys have shown that two-thirds of all American high school seniors questioned had used alcohol at least once in the preceding month. Five percent reported that they drank daily, and 39 percent reported that they had binged on alcohol (or had five or more drinks in succession) within the previous two weeks (p. 264). A report by the U.S. Surgeon General shows an even higher incidence reported--among high school seniors in 1990, 90 percent had used alcohol at last once; 51 percent of junior and senior high school students had used alcohol at least once within the previous year; and among the 20.7 million 7th through 12th graders in 1990, more than half had consumed alcohol at least once. Eight million of these students drank weekly, and almost one-half million binged each week. More than five million had binged at some point in their lives, and three million had done so within the last month (Novello, 1992: p. 961).

All fifty states bar the sale of alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age, which is clearly no deterrent to the spread of teenage alcohol use. According to a 1991 survey by the Surgeon General, 41 percent of teenagers who reported dr...

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Drug Abuse. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:02, July 07, 2020, from