Why Do Teenagers Use Drugs?

Why Do Teenagers Use Drugs?

Teenagers/adolescents are very curious about anything that is new. They have a great desire to have new experiences, to experiment and to be adventurous.

By Sanjoo Thangjam

There are many reasons why teenagers take to drugs or use drugs in the last many decades all over the world. Despite local specific reasons, the following reasons are commonly accepted as the answers to the big question.

i) PERSUASION BY FRIENDS, SCHOOL MATES, ETC (PEER PRESSURE):

A peer may be a close friend, school mate, neighbor, etc. Peer is usually a person of more or less the same age. Often, drugs are taken for the first time by a teenager due to peer group pressure.

ii) TEMPTATION OF TEENAGERS ‘TO LOOK AND BEHAVE’ LIKE ADULTS (SYMBOL OF ADULTHOOD):

They identify certain activities as associated with adulthood e.g. returning home late at night, driving a car, etc. They watch adult taking alcohol in social gathering or in cinema, etc. So they feel that drinking alcohol or taking drugs as a method of moving into adulthood. Besides, if a teenager does not take alcohol or drugs, he is likely to be teased by his peers as ‘a baby’ or kid, or a mother’s child’.

iii) REFUSAL TO ACCEPT ANY KIND OF AUTHORITY (REBELLION):

They are neither children nor adults, but their parents often try to protect them or boss over. They often rebel against parental authority and protection in many ways. One way is by taking drugs. They know clearly that taking drugs will never be accepted by their families. They take alcohol or drugs to break customs of the society and to look modern. They also may rebel against all kinds of rules, restriction or regulations of the school, college or government.

iv) MERE CURIOSITY TO EXPERIENCE HOW IT FEELS TO TAKE DRUGS:

Teenagers/adolescents are very curious about anything that is new. They have a great desire to have new experiences, to experiment and to be adventurous. When they hear other youngsters talking about drugs and its pleasant effects, they become curious. They want to know how it actually feels to take drugs. So, out of curiosity, a number of teenagers try taking drugs.

v) IMITATING THE DRUG-TAKING BEHAVIOUR OF OTHERS:

Teenagers may imitate the popular cinestars and singers, rich and upper class, westerners. Some of the popular stars, rich folks and westerners may take alcohol or drugs. Teenagers are simply not aware of the amount of hard-work that led to the success of these people. They only imitate their smoking, drinking, drug taking etc, as part of their hero-ship.

DRUG:
LET’S CLEAR THE MISCONCEPTION

People have many wrong ideas about the treatment of addiction. The following point will clarify such mistaken notions. No electric shock is given
No surgery /operation is done
Patients are not ‘locked up’.
Patients are not put with others who are mentally ill.

WHAT IS ‘DRUG ADDICTION? IS IT A MORAL SICKNESS?

IS IT LACK OF ‘WILL POWER’?
NO
IS IT A CRIME?
NO
IS IT A SIN?
NOT ABSOLUTELY NOT.
THEN WHAT IS IT?

Earlier people believed that addiction is the result of psychological disorder but now after extensive research, it has been established that addiction is a disease which requires medical and psychological treatment.

But the question is what kind of treatment, and who will provide it?

The answer to the second question, at least, is only too clear: nobody is providing enough treatment to come meet the demand, let alone the need. On the contrary, without treating the disease, any other alternatives like changing jobs, getting the addicts married, providing financial aid, putting them behind bars, etc will not help the addict to stop taking drugs or alcohol. Unless, he totally stops taking alcohol or drugs, his conditions will get worse day by day.

The disease of addiction, during the process of treatment by the patient can get help to keep away from alcohol/drugs totally, therefore total abstinence is essential and it is the only solution to the disease of addiction.

When asked about the growing menace of drug and alcoholic use in the Manipur, Pathickaden, who received, training in the treatment of chemical dependency diseases in Thunderbay, Canada said that:- ‘Perhaps the root cause is our inability to view addiction as a disease. And I consider the Americans to have played a vital role here to have given the world Alcoholics Anonymous and now, the Narcotic Anonymous.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Medical Association regard addiction as a major health problem. It is a progressive illness which not only traps the victims but enmeshes his associates at all levels’.

“It is only the awareness that addiction is a disease that will enable drug users to do something about it and counter social rejection’. In fact, many people are goaded into it simply by this social contempt and lack of understanding. However, if addiction has been understood as a disease then this awareness shall help in many ways. It removes the stigma attached to the addiction. So, more people would come forward for treatment. The addict need not be blamed for being unable to control his drinking or drug taking.

He can ask for help without any hesitation. When the family realizes that the drug user has a disease, they will stop thinking in terms of punishment or preaching. Also, the family does not feel bitter, angry or guilty. They can support the user to get treated towards becoming a normal person. Community and family could also help in early identification of the diseases.

In conclusion, people have many wrong ideas about the treatment of addiction. The following point will
clarify such mistaken notions.
No electric shock is given
No surgery/ operation is done
Patients are not ‘locked up’.
Patients are not put with others who are mentally ill.

(The writer is a Sub-Editor of The Morning Bell & also a Social Activist for PUDs – People Who Use Drugs)

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