Young Adults and Substance Abusereflection paper 2

Submitted By Jamie-Wells
Words: 973
Pages: 4

Young Adults and Substance Abuse
Jamie Wells
SAB 135

Young Adults and Substance Abuse

The prevalence of substance abuse among young adults is a very serious widespread issue. The younger generation will get high on about anything these days, from MDMA (Ecstasy) to more common household items such as Nyquil or cold medicine. While researching for this paper I was shocked to see how young some of the children were to report having access to drugs. In this day and age middle school children are now searching and successfully getting drugs. Why are younger people at such a high risk of developing a substance abuse problem? Why do so many young adults chose to participate in the use of these substances? How does society reinforce the use of these drugs? Do teens engage in risk taking situations due to an immaturity of the brain? All of this and more I am considering in this reflection. The brain is a very complex organ and requires a lot longer than any other organ to develop to full maturity. The period of adolescence is a very important time of cognitive growth in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that relates to your logic, reasoning, and self-awareness. This part of your brain in particular is not considered fully developed until well into your 20’s. This reason in particular could have an effect on why younger individuals are making these potentially dangerous choices without fully considering the effect these substances will have on their brain and body. Once they start using drugs they are altering the functionality and chemical makeup of their brains before they have fully developed. Another risk factor is that a younger person is still learning appropriate social roles and conducts and can be affected by the views other people have of them. This can lead to them feeling like they will be judged and shunned if they aren’t doing what everyone else is. Also they could feel like it isn’t a big deal to try these drugs because a majority of their young peers have done them and they seem fine. The most commonly abused substances among young adults are marijuana, synthetic marijuana spice, alcohol, and prescription pills. Marijuana is the single most accepted forms of substance abuse among high school students. According to the Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter, “36 percent of high school seniors surveyed said they smoked it (marijuana) within the previous year.” With the current stigma against marijuana being combated by the movement in favor of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana use, young people are getting mixed signals about the perceived safety of the drug. On one hand they see the police getting more strict about the consequences of being caught with in possession of marijuana, but on the other hand many states are demonstrating the economic and health benefits from the legalization of medical marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is a trend that is starting to decrease due to legal attempts at banning the sale of spice with illegal ingredients. For a while spice or what is called K2 was very popular among teens because it would not come up positive on drug tests. It can lead to very dangerous side effects such as seizure, vomiting, anxiety attacks, and hallucinations. Alcohol is still a very big issue among schools and universities with survey results up to 24 percent of high school seniors reporting to binge drinking within two weeks of taking the survey. Lastly, the nonmedical use of prescription drugs is very high due to easy availability. Most young adults that reported using a prescription drug that was not prescribed to them said they received the pill from a family member or friend. Most of the other young adults