Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Adolescents and substance abuse
It seems you hear that adolescents are experimenting with alcohol and drugs at younger ages than you would have ever expected. I think that this is closely related to a vicious cycle that that is occurring with our younger generations. These teenagers who are exposed to older peers and older environments are more likely to experiment at a younger age. The older peers, who are into drinking and doing drugs may influence the younger peers to feel as though they will be considered cool or more mature if they experiment. The mentality that the older peers have is "whats the difference if they have their first beer at 18 or 16 they feel it is inevitable so whats the big deal. This draws a great deal of concern because these young adolescents are still developing at a staggering rate. The hormones are flowing through them and with the addition of alcohol or drugs it can be very detrimental to the developing teenagers. I also believe that a lot of the experimentation that goes on among teens has to do with opportunities to stay productively busy. If young teens are involved with extra curricular activities than they are less likely to be involved in these destructive behaviors towards themselves. Even outside the school day if students have the availability to resources in the community such as parks or even rec centers this can keep teens living a healthy productive lifestyle. These resources will keep teens engaged in lifelong activities while keeping them off the streets where they will be bored and seek self stimulation through alcohol and drug abuse. As a educators we need to be an advocate for community resources and programs that will keep students safe and engaged in positive constructive environments.