Adolescent Drug Abuse: An Overview
Drug abuse among teens may be symptomatic of underlying societal pathology. Perhaps it is a backlash against living in a cold, big, impersonal, technological society. Drug use may be a barometer of social ills or a cultural lag that happens as a generation learns how to live harmoniously with chemical substances. For the purposes of this paper, fourteen sources concerning adolescent drug abuse were overviewed which will be summarized in the remainder of the paper.
Some information reviewed concerns itself with the reasons for adolescent drug abuse. Drug Education: Content and Methods by Girdano and Girdano, a textbook for educating youth for intelligent handling of drugs, proposes numerous reasons for drug use--alienation, group pressure, easy availability, curiosity, spiritualism, boredom, escape, pleasure, and a hopeless view of the world today. The text discusses in detail the various types of drugs including alcohol, marijuana, the hallucinogens, amphetamines, barbiturates, and the opiates, as well as legal issues and specific effects on the body.
Adolescent Worlds: Drug Use and Athletic Activity by M. F. Stuck discusses in detail the possible relationship between adolescent drug use and participation in sports. According to this work, there is a popular myth that sports participation represents clean living and that teens involved in basketball or football would not be doing drugs. This research revealed that adolescents themselves believe that "jocks" are separate from "druggies" (Stuck, 1990, p. 154). However, the study showed that groups of teenagers who choose "hanging out" and "getting high" as their primary recreation are present among both sports participants and nonparticipants. Sports participation is merely another possible activity and does not preclude drug use. It was found that whether or not the teenagers used drugs, they surrounded themselves with friends wi...