Drug And Substance Abuse Among Children And Teenagers

By Wilkister Alao / Published August 31, 2019 | 12:49 am





I have seen parents who use drugs and substances such as alcohol introduce their children to drug usage at a very young age, and ‘it’s never that serious’. But did you know that the using such things as alcohol in your child’s presence could be the one thing that plunges them to abuse and addiction in the future?

We are all different. Some people can have a drink or a puff of drugs once and never do it again. But that is not easy for everyone, especially if the people in question are kids or teenagers.

This group is at that age where they experiment with so many things including drugs. For teens, peer pressure and other factors may lead them to experiment with drugs and because their brains are still developing, it makes their risk for addiction higher than that of adults.

Addiction, which is a chronic disease of the brain that causes people to repeatedly seek and use drugs despite serious negative consequences, causes their brain development to slow down and in some cases cause serious mental disorders.

In the recent past, drug usage among school going kids has risen significantly as compared to the ’80s when it had declined.

A recent survey shows that in Kenya, teens and children as young as four years of age are trapped in the drug abuse menace.

National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) conducted a survey across 25 counties and found out that at least 3,307 pupils in 177 primary schools are abusing drugs and substances.

Nacada found out that 28 percent of drugs abused by these school-going children are sourced from shops around their schools, 19 percent from friends and 13. 6 percent from school workers.

The most abused of the substances by these children is said to be alcohol at 7.2 percent, tobacco at 6.0 percent. Miraa at 3.7 percent and marijuana at 1.2 percent, which they get addicted to and eventually drop out of school or repeat classes severally.

Teens use drugs for different reasons, the most obvious one being to have the feeling of belonging or to fit in. Others try out drugs because they want to ‘look cool and adult-like’, others are curious while others are trying to forget the problems they encounter at home.

A survey done in the past showed that 50 percent of teen survey participants said they used drugs to feel good, 36 percent were experimenting, 29 percent was due to peer pressure and the need to fit in while 27 percent said they used drugs to deal with problems at home.

Effects of drugs on teens

Drug and substance abuse among teens and generally people younger than 25 (because of brain development) often leads to a variety of long-term problems such as;

  • Issues at school- it impairs their memories. Teens who use alcohol and other drugs are more likely than their peers to have lower grades. And as seen in the Kenyan survey, many teens drop out of school.
  • Crime- most teens who use drugs often engage in crimes and rub the law the wrong way. This is where you find teens in juvenile justice systems.
  • Problems with friends and families- drinking and using drugs strains relationships with friends and relatives. Imagine a family whose child is lost to drug addiction and the stress, depression, and anxiety he/she causes to the parents and loved ones.
  • Health- excessive usage of alcohol and drugs cause severe illnesses. Liver Cirrhosis is known to be caused by excessive intake of alcohol. Drugs also cause some serious mental illnesses.
  • Death- this is the worst. We have seen teenagers die through drinking and driving accidents.

The question of curbing drug and substance abuse should not be entirely left to the government. Children and teenagers should be taught from home that they do not need to use drugs to be cool or to solve problems.

Teach them to say no to friends and not to be scared of being different and ridiculed. Teach them ways to say no and suggest alternative things to do.

Also, parents should form a strong bond with their children and be good role models for them. if you want to know about how to pass drug tests, find out more here







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