Adolescent addiction has become a menace over the yearswith young teen’s interests in experimenting illicit substances such as alcoholand drugs. As Zilkowsky (2001) proclaims in his article on Canada’s NationalDrug Strategy that the Federal Government united with Health Canada launchedvarious approaches, in the year 1987, to maintain a balance between restrictingthe supply of drugs and reducing demand for drugs. However,the backdrop of social, moral, cultural and political values around drug useoften clashes with the realities of life for substance abusers. Furthermore, thedreadful fact is that there is a significant upsurge in Canada’s drug abuse tilldate. Thus, Canadian teens should not be allowed to use illicit drugs.
Overuse of illicit drugs like cocaine, hallucinogens, lysergic aciddiethylamide (LSD), and marijuana leads to drug addiction, and this has manycatastrophic effects on the victim’s psychological/ behavioral patterns, haveadverse effects on the society, and increases the risk of health hazards anddeath rates of the victims.Firstly, abusing/overusing illicit drugs has the morbideffect on the addict’s neural system. Victims are usually diagnosed withanxiety, stress, confusion, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and problems withvision and hearing coordination. In 1994, Avram Goldstein, the spearhead in thediscovery of neurotransmitters, mentioned an accountable information on thelink between neurotransmitters to addictive drugs in his book Addiction. In2014, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)conducted a national survey which estimated 43.6 million Americans (ages18 and over) had some form of mental illness, while 20.2 million reportedhaving a substance abuse disorder. Of this combined group, 7.
9 million peoplehad both. The brain’s own opioid neurotransmitters like endorphins,enkephalins, and dynorphins are often associated when researchers investigatedthe additive effects of heroin and morphine. Thus, misuse/ overuse of theseadditives undoubtedly will jeopardize the psychological well-being of theaddict. Secondly, these illicit drugs have a negative impact on brain by actingon dopamine release and in turn leads to emotional outbreaks, inability toconcentrate, memory and/or cognitive issues, loss of interest towards academicsand career development. According to a study published on adolescent druguse, in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1990, it wasconcluded that use of drugs among grade 10th, 11th and 12th increased in prevalence and resulted in early schooldropouts. Therefore, use of sedatives by teens alters their positiveattitudes towards life, and passion towards their professional growth anddevelopment. Lastly, they lead to a vast change: in behavior, respect to thecommunity and its points of view, obeying rules and regulations, and desire toattempt risky acts. According to a cohort study conducted on drug use disorderspublished in Alcohol and Drug Dependence (2004), it was concludedthat alcohol use has a 95% risk of suicide attempt among users.
Hence, it is undoubtedlyobvious that victims experience psychological alterations and this, in turn,will increase their preference for drugs rather on any other importantpriorities in life and causing violent acts to attempt suicide and othercrimes. Therefore, it is clear that overuse of drugs will jeopardize thepsychological health of the individual affecting the behavior, interest towardscareer development, and drive their minds to experience risky acts likeattempting to suicide. Furthermore, in addition to the effect on the individual, addiction has afar-reaching effect which encompasses family, friends, employers, healthcareprofessionals, and the society. The most obvious effects of drug abuse aremanifested in their family life and relationships leading to delinquentbehavior, aggression, and rebelliousness. Children of individuals who abusedrugs often are abused or neglected because of the individuals’ preoccupationwith drugs.
National-level studies have shown that parents who abuse drugs oftenprioritize their need to obtain and use drugs in front of health and welfare oftheir children. Data compiled by NSDUH during 2002 and 2003 indicates that 4.3percent of pregnant women aged 15 to 44 reports having used illicit drugs inthe past month. Moreover, those same data show that 8.
5 percent of new mother’sreport having used illicit drugs in the past month. Thus, these parents do notconcern about the infant inside their womb and go towards the pleasure of usinga drug. According to The Social Impact of Drug Abuse (2015), the drugaddiction affects the working ability of a person. Employers with hightechnical tasks that require concentration and memory are more likely to beaffected by drug use than manual labors. Children whose parents and other familymembers abuse drugs often are physically or emotionally abused and often lackproper immunizations, medical care, dental care, and necessities such as food,water, and shelter.
A person in the grip of addiction can become selfish,self-centered and oblivious to other peoples’ concerns, even with their familymembers. Sometimes, illicit drugs cross the placenta in pregnant women and canaffect the fetus prenatally, causing withdrawal symptoms at birth. Maternaldrug use during pregnancy has long-term effects on the child. More likely,abusers form a negative role model to children around them and in buildingthese habits among teens. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)(2017), 50 to 80% of child abuse and neglect cases involve substance abuse bythe child’s parents.
They set up a negative role model for their growingchildren and often leading to drug abuse by their teens. Lastly, the crimesrelated to drug abuse has led the victims into poignant acts like; stealingmoney needed to buy more drugs, trading drugs, and to many antisocial andillegal activities. Half of the criminals arrested for serious crimes likemurder, robbery, and assault were under the influence of illicit drugs andaddicted to the same.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2007, thepolice-reported rate of drug offenses in Canada reached its highest in the past30 years. According to Gianna rose’s report on effects of drug addiction onsociety (2017), The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) had reported that evenbefore incarceration approximately 70 percent of state prisoners and 57 percentof federal prisoners used drugs. Getting into the habit of using harmfuldrugs at a very early age alters the victim’s brain, and makes the personaccustomed to the drug. Hence, when the victim could not afford to buy any moredrugs, indulges in outrageous actions; and ultimately over the time turns outto be fraudulent in the society. Thus, the foremost reasons behind most of thecrimes in Canada lie in teenage drug addiction.
Henceforth, teens should bealerted and educated regarding the use and misuse of illegal drugs to reducetheir impact on the society.