10 Ways The Youth Get Into Drugs And AlcoholPosted On:2016-04-02 Category: Drug Abuse & Alcoholism
There is no single age group of people affected more by alcohol and drugs than young people. In some ways it feels like it is an issue everywhere: for you, your family and your friends. Plain and simple, try as you might, you cannot escape the issues of alcohol and drugs. Having said that, Below are the reasons why the youth get into drugs and Alcohol:
1. Peer pressure
Peer pressure is a powerful force at any stage of life, but it’s especially influential during adolescence. At a time when kids are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in –when insecurities can be fierce – the desire to be accepted and liked makes saying “no” extremely difficult. Saying no can also have painful consequences, ranging from being laughed at or mildly teased, to being humiliated, rejected, and even bullied.
Peer pressure often comes as the devil in sheep’s clothing. The “cool kid” who says, “Hey, it’s just weed” or “it’s my dad’s prescription, so of course it’s safe!” Or the popular girl who’s hosting a party while her parents are out of town, encouraging everyone to “drink up” and just have fun – after all, who’s going to know if no one tells?
2. To have fun
Getting drunk or high with friends sounds fun — in the moment. What isn’t fun about spending time with friends, sharing an intensely pleasurable drug-induced euphoria or the disinhibiting effects of alcohol? The silliness, the slurred words, the stumbling, the bizarre behavior – all of those things can be very entertaining and make for great stories the next day or down the road. Of course, it’s all just good old teenage fun – until someone is seriously injured, has to face a judge, or winds up on a cold slab in a morgue.
3. They’ve become addicted
Teens don’t use alcohol or drugs with the intent of becoming addicted. In fact, since part of adolescence is the still-intact belief that you’re invincible. “Addiction? What’s that? Only losers who use or drink excessively or for years become addicted, right? But not me – I’m just experimenting, having fun with my friends, or seeking a temporary escape from my crappy life.” Oh, to be 15 again – and believe that becoming an addict is something that could never happen to you.
It’s been said that “idle hands are the devil’s tools” – and similarly, that an “idle mind is the devil’s playground.” In other words, boredom can quickly get anyone – and especially a restless teen – into all sorts of trouble. It’s even worse for teens who have bored friends. Passing the time with a few beers or a few hits with friends (or even alone) is often a slippery slope to addiction.
Teens who struggle with a lot of emotional pain are especially vulnerable to alcohol and drug abuse. They use these substances – just like many adults – as a way to self-medicate. They know that getting high or getting drunk will, at least temporarily, numb or ease their pain and provide them with a means of escape. These substances can also appear to ease the problem. For example, a socially awkward or extremely shy teen may use alcohol in a desperate attempt to feel more comfortable around others. A teen living in a conflicted home environment may resort to drugs to shut out the world for a while – or at least make it feel a little more bearable.
Teens like to assert their budding maturity and test the limits with their parents. Those with nagging, overprotective, or strict parents often lash out in a passive-aggressive manner. Rather than talking to mom and dad about their frustrations, such as what they perceive as overly strict rules, religious hypocrisy, or constant nagging, they may rebel by using alcohol or drugs — especially if they know that doing so will make their parents angry or embarrassed.
7. To look and feel “grown-up”
Adolescents often want to be treated like adults. “I’m not a kid anymore” is a frequent mantra, especially when they want privileges that come with age – like using alcohol. It’s no surprise that they’re drawn to things that make them feel like an adult – older, more mature, more sophisticated. Drinking, smoking, and drug use can all boost that feeling; “Hey, look at me, I’m all grown up now.” With those behaviors comes the illusion that one is truly mature – and thus can handle anything. Sadly, one bad incident can quickly shatter it and remind them just how young and vulnerable they still are. But until such an event, they naively believe that “bad things” happen only to “other kids.” They overestimate their maturity and underestimate their vulnerability.
8. Modeling parents’ behavior
Teens that grow up with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs often follow suit. After all, that’s what they know and what they’ve learned. Not to mention, if one or both parents are actively using they often have easy access as well. Not only does the apple often not fall far from the tree, kids often mimic their parents’ behaviors – both good and bad.
Granted, some kids will do the very opposite and shun all substances, wanting to avoid the very thing that ruined their parents’ lives or led to traumatic childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect.
Curiosity not only “killed the cat,” it also can be a very seductive temptress. The desire to try new things and explore the world didn’t suddenly shut off when puberty commenced. In fact, it often becomes even stronger. Most teens have a lot more autonomy (and some have way too much) than they did as children. They’re less closely supervised and often left home alone for chunks of time while mom and dad are still at work or out for the evening.
The desire to find out what it feels like to get drunk or high – “just this once,” of course – can be very strong. Not to mention, “Everybody experiments – don’t they?” can be a very compelling rationale. Unfortunately, far too many kids end up in alcohol or drug rehab treatment down the road due to some ill-fated need to satisfy their curiosity.
Let’s face it, most teens don’t know what’s good for them and what’s not. Not because they’re not bright, but because they simply don’t have enough information or experience. Experimenting with alcohol or drugs often seems innocent enough– in fact, it’s often regarded as a sort of adolescent “rite of passage.” Many teens feel entitled to experiment at this age, as if they’re expected to do so and therefore should do so. What many don’t realize is that it’s neither innocent nor harmless.
For those on the outside looking in, it seems like everyone who’s “doing it” is having fun, and they’re the ones who are missing out. What they don’t yet see (and haven’t yet learned to minimize or rationalize) is all the vomiting after drinking too much, the hangover the next morning, or the sickening “what have I done?” morning-after feeling when they’ve just woken up in a strange place or realized that the needle they used was dirty. Even worse is finding themselves in a jail cell or mourning the death of a friend who drove home drunk. The bliss of ignorance can be quickly shattered.