Drug Abuse Essay

Submitted By ellielovescuba
Words: 2036
Pages: 9

Drug abuse in the U.S. has been a reoccurring issue dating back all the way from the 1930’s when marijuana, although not yet perceived as a danger, was still considered a gateway drug for heroin users. In today’s society, marijuana is still considered a social problem due to its increasing popularity, specifically ranging from high school to college students. Needless to say, marijuana is only one of the few narcotics affecting today’s youth. Students today are found abusing not only illegal but medically prescribed drugs. Prescription drugs such as adderall, vyvanse, and conserta have been abused as what students describe as a “study drug” to help aid themselves through school. Parents, teachers, and law enforcements are all concerned for these students’ education and seek reform to ensure these students’ safety. Marijuana has become increasingly popular in today’s’ society, specifically in high school. “One out of every fifteen high school students smokes marijuana on a near daily basis…according to a new government report” (O’Connor, “Marijuana Use Growing Among Teenagers”). Marijuana is becoming more than just regularity. Rosie Mestel illustrates in her article “Marijuana Use Among Teens Rises, National Survey Finds” that among 8th-graders, 1.1% said they used pot daily and 6.5% said they used it in the last month. This is compared to the 12th-graders; 6.5% said they used pot daily – comparing to 5.1% just five years before – and nearly 23% stating they had smoked in the month prior. In Mestel’s same article, she addresses the following statement from NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow, “We are increasingly concerned that regular or daily use of marijuana is robbing many young people of their potential to achieve and excel in school or other aspects of life”. Dr. Volkow also notes, that THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, “alters the ability of hippocampus, a brain area related to learning and memory, to communicate effectively with other brain regions”. In O’Connor’s same article stated prior, he illustrates that the spike in teenage use of marijuana was due to the easily obtainable “herbal license” which young adults could obtain for medical issues such as chronic pain, migraines, or even anxiety; however, the DEA later that year classified certain chemicals in marijuana as Schedule I drugs, banning them for a year, leading Congress to consider legislation that would ban the substance permanently. Numbers show that interest in marijuana have risen over the years; although, it has also led to a significant decrease in other concerns such as teenage drinking. “From 1991 to 2011, the proportion of 8th graders who reported drinking in the previous 30 days fell by about half, to 13 percent from 25 percent, 10th graders, 27 percent from 43 percent, 12th graders, 40 percent from 54 percent” (O’Connor). Regardless of this decrease, congress still sought out to terminate all medical marijuana; however, L.A.’s city Councilman Bill Rosendahl had other plans.
Gale Holland of the Los Angeles Times writes of Rosendahl’s first hand experience with medical marijuana to treat his cancer. In his own words, city councilman states, “The brain is back, the energy is back…Life is now worth living.” Rosendahl, who had once used prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, stated that there was no comparison to cannabis and that the heaviest prescription of painkillers “brought only momentary relief.” In mid October, Rosendahl had used his personal experience of surviving cancer in the tubes of his kidney and bladder through the use of cannabis and that his fight to repeal the ban on medical marijuana “became very personal” (Holland). Realizing that medical marijuana was simply inevitable, L.A. City Council “gave final approval to a medical marijuana ordinance that will impose some of the toughest rules in the state” (Hoeffel). This ordinance would enforce a cap of the number of dispensaries to 70 with a required 8 p.m. curfew