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Adolescent addiction has become a menace over the years
with young teen’s interests in experimenting illicit substances such as alcohol
and drugs. As Zilkowsky (2001) proclaims in his article on Canada’s National
Drug Strategy that the Federal Government united with Health Canada launched
various approaches, in the year 1987, to maintain a balance between restricting
the supply of drugs and reducing demand for drugs. However,
the backdrop of social, moral, cultural and political values around drug use
often clashes with the realities of life for substance abusers.  Furthermore, the
dreadful fact is that there is a significant upsurge in Canada’s drug abuse till
date. Thus, Canadian teens should not be allowed to use illicit drugs.
Overuse of illicit drugs like cocaine, hallucinogens, lysergic acid
diethylamide (LSD), and marijuana leads to drug addiction, and this has many
catastrophic effects on the victim’s psychological/ behavioral patterns, have
adverse effects on the society, and increases the risk of health hazards and
death rates of the victims.

Firstly, abusing/overusing illicit drugs has the morbid
effect on the addict’s neural system. Victims are usually diagnosed with
anxiety, stress, confusion, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and problems with
vision and hearing coordination. In 1994, Avram Goldstein, the spearhead in the
discovery of neurotransmitters, mentioned an accountable information on the
link between neurotransmitters to addictive drugs in his book Addiction. In
2014, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)
conducted a national survey which estimated 43.6 million Americans (ages
18 and over) had some form of mental illness, while 20.2 million reported
having a substance abuse disorder. Of this combined group, 7.9 million people
had both. The brain’s own opioid neurotransmitters like endorphins,
enkephalins, and dynorphins are often associated when researchers investigated
the additive effects of heroin and morphine. Thus, misuse/ overuse of these
additives undoubtedly will jeopardize the psychological well-being of the
addict. Secondly, these illicit drugs have a negative impact on brain by acting
on dopamine release and in turn leads to emotional outbreaks, inability to
concentrate, memory and/or cognitive issues, loss of interest towards academics
and career development. According to a study published on adolescent drug
use, in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1990, it was
concluded that use of drugs among grade 10th, 11th and 12th increased in prevalence and resulted in early school
dropouts. Therefore, use of sedatives by teens alters their positive
attitudes towards life, and passion towards their professional growth and
development. Lastly, they lead to a vast change: in behavior, respect to the
community and its points of view, obeying rules and regulations, and desire to
attempt risky acts. According to a cohort study conducted on drug use disorders
published in Alcohol and Drug Dependence (2004), it was concluded
that alcohol use has a 95% risk of suicide attempt among users. Hence, it is undoubtedly
obvious that victims experience psychological alterations and this, in turn,
will increase their preference for drugs rather on any other important
priorities in life and causing violent acts to attempt suicide and other
crimes. Therefore, it is clear that overuse of drugs will jeopardize the
psychological health of the individual affecting the behavior, interest towards
career development, and drive their minds to experience risky acts like
attempting to suicide.

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Furthermore, in addition to the effect on the individual, addiction has a
far-reaching effect which encompasses family, friends, employers, healthcare
professionals, and the society. The most obvious effects of drug abuse are
manifested in their family life and relationships leading to delinquent
behavior, aggression, and rebelliousness. Children of individuals who abuse
drugs often are abused or neglected because of the individuals’ preoccupation
with drugs. National-level studies have shown that parents who abuse drugs often
prioritize their need to obtain and use drugs in front of health and welfare of
their children. Data compiled by NSDUH during 2002 and 2003 indicates that 4.3
percent of pregnant women aged 15 to 44 reports having used illicit drugs in
the past month. Moreover, those same data show that 8.5 percent of new mother’s
report having used illicit drugs in the past month. Thus, these parents do not
concern about the infant inside their womb and go towards the pleasure of using
a drug. According to The Social Impact of Drug Abuse (2015), the drug
addiction affects the working ability of a person. Employers with high
technical tasks that require concentration and memory are more likely to be
affected by drug use than manual labors. Children whose parents and other family
members abuse drugs often are physically or emotionally abused and often lack
proper 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 family
members. Sometimes, illicit drugs cross the placenta in pregnant women and can
affect the fetus prenatally, causing withdrawal symptoms at birth. Maternal
drug use during pregnancy has long-term effects on the child. More likely,
abusers form a negative role model to children around them and in building
these habits among teens. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
(2017), 50 to 80% of child abuse and neglect cases involve substance abuse by
the child’s parents. They set up a negative role model for their growing
children and often leading to drug abuse by their teens. Lastly, the crimes
related to drug abuse has led the victims into poignant acts like; stealing
money needed to buy more drugs, trading drugs, and to many antisocial and
illegal activities. Half of the criminals arrested for serious crimes like
murder, robbery, and assault were under the influence of illicit drugs and
addicted to the same. According to Statistics Canada, in 2007, the
police-reported rate of drug offenses in Canada reached its highest in the past
30 years. According to Gianna rose’s report on effects of drug addiction on
society (2017), The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) had reported that even
before incarceration approximately 70 percent of state prisoners and 57 percent
of federal prisoners used drugs. Getting into the habit of using harmful
drugs at a very early age alters the victim’s brain, and makes the person
accustomed to the drug. Hence, when the victim could not afford to buy any more
drugs, indulges in outrageous actions; and ultimately over the time turns out
to be fraudulent in the society. Thus, the foremost reasons behind most of the
crimes in Canada lie in teenage drug addiction. Henceforth, teens should be
alerted and educated regarding the use and misuse of illegal drugs to reduce
their impact on the society.

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