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Substance Abuse: University of Washington Students

Substance abuse is the overindulgent use of addictive substances and drugs. These include alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis. The most common way through which people become addicted to them is the continuous use of small portions of these substances. They may never know that this habit will cause them multiple problems. Substance abuse is a prevalent community problem with projected millions of hard drugs users and limitless alcohol users due to various reasons. All of them require assistance to do away with such addictions and abuse.

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People who heavily depend on these substances often tend to have serious problems regarding their health, and social existence. Long-term users can get substance-related disorders that bear a resemblance to mental illness and social seclusion. In general, the economic stability and potentials of the youth are wasted away as they get into the purchases of drugs. Drugs are expensive by virtue of their illegality. It is estimated that the United States loses about $322 billion every year to the illegal conduct of drug trade (Hubbard). In addition, the consumers of these drugs are on the losing end of the thriving business. Many great careers have been destroyed while people are injured or even incapacitated. Other people’s families are destroyed, and individuals die due to drugs and substance abuse. It is estimated that an American citizen loses life because of drugs each passing quarter of an hour. “Drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults in the first decade of the 21st century, and deaths more than tripled among those 50 to 69.” (Hubbard).

The abuse of drugs has become a serious community problem because with more people using drugs in the community, there is an increasing trend of youth drug use. The majority of adults suffering from addiction first experimented with drugs before they have turned 21. There is also a shifting of teens’ attitudes about marijuana. High school students used to consider marijuana use as a very serious problem. However, the majority of high school seniors do not think occasional marijuana smoking is harmful,
In fact, 15.7% of 8th graders, 31.8% of 10th graders, and 42.3% of 12th graders have experimented with marijuana, the most widely used illicit drug among adolescents. Licit substance use also is alarming, as 24.6% of 8th graders, 36.1% of 10th graders, and 47.1% of 12th graders have tried cigarettes; and 40.5% of 8th graders, 61.5% of 10th graders, and 72.7% of 12th graders have consumed alcohol. (Lac).

Teenagers would have subtle emotional differences and a possibility to develop cognate functioning differences.
Children are among the most susceptible persons to alcohol and drugs abuse. There are five common reasons why children do drugs. At the very top of these reasons is curiosity. The other four reasons include peer pressure, stress, emotional struggles and a desire to escape the reality. Once they find drugs would bring joy to their mind, they might become addictive to it.

Teenagers have the propensity to follow trends and try new stuff. They see people in their community take drugs and find out that it is easy for them to get the narcotics they want. There is a high possibility for teens to use drugs since the most common reason is curiosity. Getting drugs becomes easier for them as well. They can find drugs in the medicine cabinet, at home, online, at schools and parties. Years ago, when drugs were not as prevalent, the access was limited but nowadays it has become much easier. The consequences of widespread drugs and bad community influence would lead to increasing trend of teenage substance abuse.

Stress is a part of everyday life. It may be mild or severe as that of persons who have gone through physical and emotional trauma. There are different reactions to dealing with stress such as doing regular exercises or talking to someone. Others, however, feel overwhelmed and defeated. When people experience stressful situations, their bodies automatically release hormones that are intended to allow them to respond to danger. People who are going through stressful situations are, therefore, more likely to indulge in drug abuse. Even for recovering addicts, stress is one of the causes of relapsing to drug abuse. This is because “Stress can cause changes in the brain like those caused by addictive drugs. This suggests that some people who experience stress may be more vulnerable to drug addiction or drug relapse” (Volkow). These individuals use narcotics as a way of escaping reality or to make themselves feel better. Drugs do not solve any of the issues affecting these people so they will continue indulging in them to get a temporary relief that the drugs provide. The short-term relief then becomes a daily routine and the drug addiction develops. This leads to a more-stressful situation as they try to fight the addition disease.

In some cases, the exercise of parental control over a child has propelled these children to engage in the abuse of drugs. Some teenagers respond to the inquiries of their parents regarding their personal life. This response may exhibit itself through the creation of different beliefs, attitudes, and other behavioral changes. They tend to pick subjective beliefs about drugs such as marijuana, which then result in the desire to try it out. Many children have an inclination to attempt the things that their parents forbid them to do. It creates a sense of intentions from the parents. The result is that many of these teenagers end up doing drugs while others become so indulgent they cannot help it (Lac).

Every time I see people using drugs in the street, and I smell the marijuana, I tend to wonder what kind of impact they would have on the community. Since I live in the UW district, I see people smoking in parking lots. I also pick up the smell of marijuana in virtually every aisle. I always feel the need to stop these individuals engaging in the abuse of drugs and other substances. The problem is that every person is entitled to his or her freedom. They have the right to do what they please as long as it is legal. This freedom results in the abuse of alcohol and drugs by some of the people from my community, however, it bears a strong potential effect on children. They are likely to develop curiosities that would then lead to the use of these drugs.

The situation in the University of Washington is so different from what my experience was back at home. In China, most classes of drugs are illegal. I, in fact, never saw people using any drugs in the street and in public places. The US, however, has quite a different system. From the activities that take place in the university and almost every other place, it appears that it is common for people to try some drugs without considering it an illegal action. In Chinese schools, the teacher would tslk about the negative impact of drugs and the addiction they cause. In China, any person who indulges in the abuse of drugs is considered an outcast. In the US, however, it is not a big deal.

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In dealing with the issue of the abuse of drugs in the University of Washington district, several solutions may be essential. First, there should be a governmental intervention plan in the affairs of the teenagers (Vestal). The government may do this by imposing hefty penalties on people who are caught dealing in drugs and selling them to students (Hubbard). This should be bolstered by the increase in the number of police officers around the district. This would also aid in the reduction of drug-related crimes such as robbery and murder (Catalano).

The government should establish a rehabilitation center in this district. It would enable the teenagers to ask for assistance or guidance individually or collectively. This would help improve the state of community. The teenagers would be more productive and goal-oriented. In being so, they would easily influence their fellow teenagers to join them in their cause (Catalano). The ultimate result would be a society full of zeal and productivity. Parents would no longer have to worry about their children being in unsafe environments (Vestal).

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