Drug abuse among children

First, it is necessary for us to find out what does the word “drug” actually mean. According to the dictionary, a drug is “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body”. In other words, yes, it is erroneous for us to label all drugs as harmful, as it turns out, that drug is actually a generic term used for medicines too. Thus, it becomes necessary for us to point out, specifically, a more precise term for drugs, that may cause harm to anyone who consumes them and makes him/her addicted to their usage; those kinds of drugs are termed as narcotic drugs.

For illegal drug dealers all over the nation, the target consumers are the children and teens from schools and colleges, who are in their sensitive growing age, and thus very susceptible to consumption of such substances because they might think that it would solve all their problems. The teens in their puberty go through a lot of psychological trials and tribulations such as stress, consciousness of themselves and the others, peer pressure and the desire to fit in among their society, to keep up with the current fads and what not. Thus, due to peer pressure or just to relieve plain stress, they try to experiment with drugs and once they do, they slowly develop an addiction to it. It takes not long for this addiction to turn into abuse. But instead of curing their stress levels, it increases it and thus they start to consume bulks of it thus falling into depression and in worst cases, they end up committing suicide. Even if they want to quit using drugs, they can’t, because that’s when the withdrawal symptoms kick in and causes them to fall back to their old habits.

How do people get addicted to drugs

Most drugs exert influence on the brain’s “reward circuit,” causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system prompts a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior in cycles.

As a person continues to consume more amount of drugs, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the intoxication that the person feels, compared to the one they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same level of intoxication. These adaptations, by the brain, often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities.

Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include learning, judgement, decision-making, stress, memory, behavior.

Symptoms of addiction:

  • The addicts take more drugs than they want to, and for longer than they thought they would.
  • They always have the drug with them, and they buy it even if they can’t afford it.
  • they keep using drugs even if it causes them poor performance at work or makes them lash out at family and friends.
  • They spend more time alone.
  • They don’t take care of yourself or care how they look.
  • They steal, lie, or do dangerous things like driving while in intoxicated condition or have unsafe sex.
  • They spend most of their time getting, using, or recovering from the effects of the drug.

Harms that it brings to the children and the teens

Research shows that there is a definite link between teen substance abuse and how well they do in school. Teens who abuse drugs have lower grades, a higher rate of absence from school and other activities, and an increased inclination for dropping out of school.

Studies show that marijuana, for example, affects children’s attention, memory, and ability to learn.

Students who consume marijuana tend to get lesser grades and have a greater chance of dropping out of high school. One recent marijuana study showed that heavy marijuana use in their teen years and continued into adulthood can reduce their IQ up to as much as 8 points.

High school dropout rates have also highly risen as a result of drug abuse.  

A study of teens in 12th grade who dropped out of school before graduation are more likely than their peers to be users of cigarettes, marijuana and other illicit drugs.

Teens who smoke or use marijuana or other drugs are have more chances, than non-users, to drop out of school and less likely than non-users to graduate from high school, attend college or obtain a college degree. 

The growth of any nation is based on the quality of its human resources, other than its natural resources. Thus it becomes imperative for any society and nation to foster the health, be it physical, mental or psychological, of the people that it harbors, and especially the next generation, that is the children and the teens of that nation, and to safeguard them against this bane of any society on this planet, that is drug abuse, that might harm their childhood and growth and thus the future of any nation altogether. Thank you.

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