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Effects of Drug and Substance Abuse Among Youths


Drug and substances are so significant because it has become a significant problem affecting youths in both schools and out of school, and this is ahead of time to prime youths with knowledge on the effects of their use. The topic is important as drugs and substance abuse affect many youths. Usage of substance abuse and drugs has been on rising economic, socially, and public health problems, according to Lawal and Mustapha (2020). The effect of health is also related to other risky behaviours such as contracting HIV by having unprotected sex.

In studying, the rate of youths using drugs is increasing, and the leading cause is peer pressure that has resulted in poor health Chege et al. (2017). The use of Drug and substance abuse such as alcohol and illicit drugs (cocaine) is harmful, and this may lead to different changes in our body that are unhealthy (Garcia et al., 2020). Youths need to be involved in this to realize the demerits of its use. Drug and substances Abuse has become a problem that has raised concern among youth; this is why this essay is done to help youth overcome it and live a quality life.


Adolescence is widely acknowledged as the time when a wide range of health problems, both temporary and long-term, begin, including some that will persist into adulthood. Adults who engage in unhealthy behaviors including smoking, drinking, and illegal drug use are more likely to suffer from disease and death than those who don’t engage in these activities. People who take drugs are more likely than those who don’t to be unemployed or to have an accident or to commit suicide. Drug and alcohol misuse has a significant influence on the health, well-being, and social cohesion of people, families, and communities because its consequences compound over time. SES (socio-economic level), parenting quality (including the impact of peers), and a genetic predisposition to drug addiction are all known to raise the likelihood of beginning or maintaining substance usage. This leads to a vicious cycle in which these people no longer function as productive members of society, but are instead engulfed by their addictions. The essay illustrates on the effects of drugs and substance abuse among the youth.

Drug and Substance Abuse


Adolescents are the most likely demographic to partake in alcohol use. More than 70% of teenagers have tasted alcohol by the time they reach the 12th grade, and over half of those are considered current drinkers (having consumed alcohol within the past month). Adolescents who drink excessively are also at risk of developing alcohol poisoning. Adolescents consume over 90% of their alcohol in a binge, placing them at risk for poor consequences such as car accidents, injuries, and unwanted sexual behaviour (Azpeitia et al.2019).

In the eyes of the general public and the media, it is perfectly fine to partake in alcoholic beverages. Parental control over adolescent drinking behavior can be exerted through communication, regular limitations, and close supervision. Adolescents who come from families where alcohol abuse is common may, on the other hand, view it as normal. Alcohol use disorders can emerge in adolescents who use them for the first time. Risk factors for developing a disorder include starting drinking at an early age and inheriting the condition from a parent. If a family member has an alcohol use disorder, adolescents need to know that they’re at greater risk.


A remarkable drop in adolescent smoking rates began in the 1990s and has continued ever since. This year, about 5.7 percent of 12th-graders reported current cigarette use (smoked in the previous 30 days), down from 28.3% in 1991 and 7.6% in 2018 (Schulenburg et al. 2019). Only about 2% of 12th-graders reported smoking every day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health survey. Most adult smokers first pick up the habit in their teenage years. Before the age of 19, it is quite unlikely that adolescent smokers will become adults. Children can attempt smoking as early as ten years old.

Adolescent smoking is more likely to occur if a person’s parents smoke or have friends or role models (e.g., celebrities) who smoke. High-risk behavior (e.g., excessive dieting among girls; physical fights and drunk driving, particularly among guys; use of alcohol or other substances) is another risk factor, as is a lack of problem-solving skills, access to cigarettes, and low self-esteem.

Other forms of tobacco use by teenagers are possible, as is the usage of marijuana. In the last decade, smoking tobacco use among high school students is down by a whole percentage point. Chewing, dipping, or inhaling are all methods of ingesting smoke-free products, which are less harmful than traditional cigarettes (snuff). In the United States, pipe smoking is an uncommon pastime. Cigarette smoking among persons over the age of 12 has decreased. Smoking and using smokeless tobacco products can be prevented if parents are positive role models (by not smoking or chewing). Openly address the dangers of tobacco, and encourage teenagers who already smoke or chew to stop (including supporting them in obtaining medical care if necessary) (see Smoking Cessation).

Electronic cigarette products (vaping products)

Volatilization of an active ingredient (typically nicotine or THC) in a liquid is accomplished through the use of heat in electronic cigarettes (also known as “e-cigs,” “vapes,” and “vaporizers”). There is no combustion involved. In the beginning, e-cigarettes were marketed to adult smokers as nicotine-free alternatives. Teens of middle and upper socioeconomic status have become increasingly interested in “vapes” over the past few years due to their attractiveness and increasing popularity. According to an NIH-sponsored survey, the percentage of 12th graders who currently use e-cigarettes (nicotine vaping only, no other substances included) increased dramatically from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 25.5 percent in 2019. The use of e-cigarettes by 12th-graders is estimated to be 45.6 percent (nicotine and other substances). Electronic cigarettes have different health effects than smoking because tobacco’s no combustion products (Baiden et al.2021). As a result, other chemicals found in e-cigarettes may cause lung injury, which can be acute (fulminant), chronic (chronic), or even lethal. The high concentrations of nicotine and THC found in these products are also a big draw for many people. Addiction to THC and nicotine is possible, and both can lead to toxicity. Adolescents’ first exposure to nicotine is increasingly coming from e-cigarettes, but the impact on adult smoking rates remains unclear due to this trend. Additionally, the long-term consequences of e-cigarettes are unknown.


According to a 2019 NIH survey of high school students, the prevalence of current marijuana usage among high school students was 22.3%, up from 20.6 percent in 2009 (Zvanorev et al.2019). Students in high school reported using marijuana at least once or twice in their lifetimes. For the first time in 2010, the current rate of marijuana use topped the current rate of cigarette use.

Other substances

Adolescents are only abusing substances other than alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana at a very low rate. More than one in four high school students who said they had used drugs or alcohol at least once in the past year in the NIH survey reported using inhalants (e.g., glue or aerosols): 5.3 percent ; hallucinogenic (e.g. LSD, PCP or mescaline): 6.9 percent; anabolic steroids: 1.6 percent; methamphetamines (nonprescription): 2.1 percent; heroin: 0.06 percent.

These include opioid analgesics like oxycodone, stimulants like methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine, and tranquilizers like temazepam (eg, benzodiazepines). Young people’s use of substances is characterized by experimentation and expediency (Roxburgh et al.2017), and the use of substances is described as intermittent or intensive (binge) drinking. Adolescents’ desire for ‘cool or exciting’ activities and uncontrolled self-indulgence, as well as the approbation of their peers, are seen to be the driving forces behind their intermittent or intensive substance use (Romo-Avilés et al., 2016).

Effects of drugs and substance abuse on youths

Parent-child conflict, physical and sexual abuse of children, family disintegration, academic failure, and estrangement from teachers are more specific social correlations. Distress from these events can long-term impact children’s ability to form trusting and supportive relationships with their caregivers. In addition, they foresee involvement in deviant peer networks that serve as conduits for the introduction and distribution of illegal drugs. It’s not the same as “peer pressure.” Still, it explains a developmental trajectory that is believed to “shape” a child’s social development toward deviant peers and separate them from their parents and teachers. Youth who have identified administratively (as homeless, housed by the local authorities, or involved in criminal activity) rather than clinically as at high risk of substance misuse face similar problems.

Considering the connections between substance misuse and “a recurrent and persistent pattern of dissocial, hostile, or defiant conduct” offers a different perspective. Adolescent-limited and life-span persistent conduct problems are the two subtypes of conduct difficulties. If “life-span persistent” or “early onset,” disturbed behavior may be evident as early as preschool, linked to a wide range of neurodevelopmental vulnerabilities, learning disabilities, impairments in capacity to form social relationships, and perhaps in motor development, as well as symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that are likely to be genetic. Many of these children suffer greatly due to worry and depression brought on by their frequently challenging circumstances. Children with more severe behavioral issues are almost always sent to pediatricians because they were born into this early-onset category. Individual susceptibility, other psychosocial difficulties, the association with deviant peers, and the high availability of drugs nearly guarantee the use and misuse of drugs. However, with the right combination of measures, such as stimulant medicine when necessary, this danger can be minimized.

Adolescent or preadolescent substance abuse may signify that something is wrong with the kid’s care and development, necessitating a child welfare inquiry. “Empowerment” and “choice” might induce physicians to accept a patient’s refusal of treatment, promise complete anonymity, or exclude parents and caregivers from the treatment process. Parental involvement may be critical to the effectiveness of therapeutic intervention, and a strong desire to exclude parents may raise alarms about possible harm. Substance abuse can be seen as an additional layer on the complicated developmental and social difficulties that many child specialists are already familiar with. Anyone who appears to be of sound mind and body is presumed to be so until proven otherwise. No new skills or retraining is required for effective intervention; instead, it frequently requires careful application of already-developed skills; controlled chances for reflection and familiarization, and, at first, supervised practice.

A view of competence that may be acceptable for all doctors who routinely treat older children or teenagers includes competent history taking, correct information and counsel, and appropriate referrals. An adequate history consists of the presenting complaint and investigation of the substances used and the development and environment, including the educational and social background of the individual. If the local authority is fulfilling its duty to educate them if there is evidence of child abuse, developmental problems, or mental disturbances, and who their peers are, then this type of system review should aim to establish rapport with a young person who is perhaps skeptical and mistrustful; who is caring for them and whether that person can function as a parent. The details of their substance use must also be obtained and validated by hair and saliva or urine analysis. In particular, is there evidence of dependency or a special risk associated with pregnancy or parenteral administration? Many people may be surprised if these data are collected first. They also provide a framework for future action and advocacy on behalf of the patient.

Adolescent and adult substance abuse can be reduced with even brief treatments characterized by accurate evaluation, knowledge, and advice to minimize intake, most likely in the setting of excellent rapport rather than lecturing. This strategy, if tweaked to include parents and referrals to local statutory and voluntary agencies, might serve as the foundation for fruitful collaboration at this level of government. For example, in general practice, community pediatrics, and ERs, this could be of particular use to the staff.

Adolescent medicine can provide more extensive intervention at a higher degree of expertise. The immediate and ongoing involvement of young people and their families and liaison with or mobilizing other organizations (such as educational institutions, child welfare or family support agencies, or the juvenile justice system) can help reduce harm and promote proper care and healthy development, and good health. A new study reveals that this bundle can help reduce substance abuse and its related comorbidities. Young people’s interaction with services may be beneficial, whether by lessening loneliness or despair or being on hand when therapy opportunities emerge.

Doctors are responsible for providing “excellent clinical care” and should never be seen as a simple prescription service; therefore, it may be important to help patients wean themselves off addictive medicines and prescribe substitutes in a few cases. In light of the limited therapeutic scope of some of the currently available medications, a collaborative consultation with an adult addictions service may be the first step toward the development of “pediatric addiction medicine,” a new specialty in addiction treatment for children. A huge number of these experts is not expected to emerge. The discipline of pediatrics as a whole would benefit greatly if pediatricians and child psychiatrists worked together regularly to contribute their time and expertise to the cause. During adolescence, a person’s physical and emotional maturation and desire for self-determination can lead to the development of substance misuse (Morojele & Ramsoomar, 2016). Human growth and psychological changes are profound during adolescence, not only in the physical body but also in the brain (Morojele & Ramsoomar, 2016).

According to Oldfield et al. (2016), adolescents turn less and less to their parents for guidance and instead look to their peers. Risky behaviors can be tried out during adolescence (Morojele & Ramsoomar, 2016). Adolescent substance abuse can persist throughout adulthood, increasing the risk of drug dependence, according to Trucco (2020). Gangs are a major source of revenue for young people who use methamphetamine, especially in economically disadvantaged areas.

What Causes Youth to Use Substances

Some people believe that substance misuse and addiction are family diseases that can be passed on through genetics or the home environment. They found that the following factors may contribute to the likelihood of a child-abusing substance: they have dropped out of school; are pregnant; have experienced school failure; are suicidal or have suicidal tendencies; have parents who use substances; have violent tendencies; are economically disadvantaged, and were abused physically, sexually, or emotively as a child.

A connection has also been found between parental substance addiction and subsequent adolescent substance abuse. According to the findings of this same study, hostile parenting methods also had an impact on their children’s behavior, with parents’ negative behavior having the most impact on a youth’s decision to use and misuse various substances (Mehra et al. 2019). For example, it was shown that children whose parents are heavy users of drugs and alcohol are more likely to develop a habit of using and abusing substances themselves. This research also found that young people who grew up in families where substance misuse was a problem were more likely than their peers who did not. However, this was only one study, and no causal link has been established statistically as of yet (Mehra et al. 2019).

In addition, the study’s researchers discovered that peer influences on young people’s substance use and abuse outweigh those of families. In addition, students who performed poorly academically were twice as likely as those who performed well academically to consume other substances (Mehra et al. 2019). There was a decrease in substance use and abuse among students who were more involved in their schools. In addition to peer pressure and social interactions, youth may misuse various substances due to boredom, curiosity, gender, the media, and low self-esteem. Pressure from friends, the availability of substances at social occasions, or boredom on the weekends can lead to a desire to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

We live in a society where the media glorifies drinking, partying, and living to the extreme. Still, many prevention and therapy programs advise children to refrain from these vices. There are many reasons why a young person can choose to use or misuse drugs or alcohol or why they might decide to abstain from them for the rest of their lives. Finding out why a young person starts abusing or using drugs can be a difficult task, and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever know why all young people engage in these behaviors. Even though there may be various reasons teenagers choose to use and misuse multiple substances, these are not the only ones. Those who use and misuse substances but don’t fit into any of the above categories should be questioned about their circumstances. It’s not clear why some youngsters abstain totally, while others engage in occasional or even frequent drug or alcohol consumption, while still others get hooked. In this review, there was no detailed data about these young people.

Media Influence on Youth and Substance Use

We live in a culture where we are continuously bombarded with all kinds of media. The media heavily influences today’s kids, even if they don’t use drugs themselves. Addiction and abuse of drugs and alcohol can be seen on television, in movies, commercials, music videos, the news, and in publications and newspapers. On the other hand, youth are rarely taught how to effectively filter information and build a defense against the allure and allurement of images like these. As a result, it is imperative that young people learn how to assess these images critically, comprehend how the media affects their daily lives, and cultivate a positive self-image.

There are very few substance preventions and treatment programs that integrate these aspects in their curricula, with little or no information about media and substance use and abuse, despite the media’s influence on our young. As a society, we’ve gotten concerned with weight, and popular periodicals, TV shows, and movies present women in unrealistic images. It affects teenage substance use and abuse. As a result, our youth feel inadequate compared to this unattainable ideal of thinness. Substance abuse is a common method of weight loss among teenagers. Tobacco, ecstasy, crystal meth, and cocaine, for example, all have appetite-suppressing properties. As a result, many young people turn to these substances as weight loss aids. However, just as many over-the-counter diet medicines are ineffective, so are these drugs, which may have harmful consequences. To be truly effective at preventing and treating substance misuse among adolescents, preventative and treatment programs must consider the media’s role in shaping the minds of today’s youth, according to the author.

The Influence of the Internet on Substance Use

North American adolescents are the largest group of people who use the internet. The internet has become a routine part of most people’s everyday lives. While the internet is a wonderful resource for finding reliable information, it is rife with errors, omissions, and outright lies. Many young people use the internet to learn about various topics. They’re also interested in learning about the wide variety of available substances. Even though many websites provide accurate information about the right effects of substances, support programs, and safe usage methods (as safe as possible), many websites are full of erroneous details—Department of Justice.

In addition, chemicals are being sold and distributed via the internet. It’s easy to find information on how to make drugs like MDMA, GHB, and LSD on the internet, as well as where to acquire them, how much they cost, and websites where you can order them for delivery right to your door. It has been estimated by Interpol that in 2000, there were more than 1,000 websites around the world that offered to sell illegal narcotics (Sacco, 2018). To make your narcotics, you can order all of the necessary equipment and paraphernalia online, and it will be delivered within 24 hours or a few days, making it immediately available to anyone with a computer and a modem. It is becoming increasingly common for young people to find information about legal and illicit Raves on the internet, in addition to learning how chemicals are made, distributed, and used (Sacco, 2018). As a result, the internet has evolved into a one-stop resource for teens seeking information on where to buy, create, and meet people who promote the use of illicit drugs, such as Raves, all under one roof.


From the research conducted it has shown that most of the teens are experimenting on drugs and substance’s. This however experimentation of drugs can led to serious problem that can affect them in the future. Statistics has also proven that the number of youths that are abusing drugs is increasing in an alarming rate. In instances when the youths are starting to abuse drugs it comes with a number of problems. The parent and child relationship is hampered a lot, while the child start developing other problems such as behavioural problems. Also in some instance substance abuse has been linked to parent, when the parent uses the drugs there is higher chances that the child gets into drugs. In recent times, technology has made the rate of drugs usage to increase immensely. The use of social media and the influence of internet has cause increased of drugs and substance abuse among the youth.


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