Almost 11.8 million people die every year from an overdose of drugs. Amongst them, the percentage between 10 to 24 years is almost at the top level.
Look into the world’s statistics on drugs, and you will notice that it has a turnover of around $500 billion. And, is rated the third largest business in the world, next to petroleum and arms. In the existing world, not a single country is free from the curse of drug trafficking and drug addiction.
As per UCLA research, in the U.S. alone, the death among teenagers almost doubled in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, and rose to almost 20% in 2021 as compared to 10 years before Covid. These data should ring alarming bells worldwide, say global psychologists, as the percentage of deaths is exponentially increasing post-pandemic.
India too is caught in this vicious circle at a frightening pace. More than 10 thousand suicide cases among the youth were reported due to drug addiction and alcohol in 2021–22. Every third person in Punjab in India is hooked, to substance abuse.
Intake of Drugs is lethal, we all are well aware of it. Then why its consumption graph is perpetually taking a steep hike, especially among the younger generation?
Well, as per the studies, the initiation of first drug use is determined by interactions between social, cultural, cognitive, and personality traits.
A dysfunctional family swamped with domestic abuse, quarrels, over-controlling parents, or divorce, hampers the psychological growth of a child. Youngsters, in these homes generally suffer from anger, anxiety, and trauma issues.
They are shrouded with low self-esteem as there is no open space to express and vent their thoughts and feelings.
A neglected childhood where the parents are too engrossed in their social circuits, careers, or some other cases facing a financial crisis that they hardly give qualitative time to their adolescent. The youngster seeks companionship outside and sometimes joins the wrong peer groups.
Lack of supportive guidance at home adds to the young adult personality shades of depression, indecisiveness, and frustration and transforms them into a loner or a rebel.
With the changing times, the cut-throat competition in the present world of education and employment is building high mental pressure on youngsters. In the rat race for higher grades and better jobs, many youths succumb to such pressures and fall into drugs as an easy escape from their worries and troubles.
The families are shrinking and becoming more self-centric, unlike the earlier joint families and friendly neighborhoods that taught us to share, care, and bond. The decline in social interactions and being hooked to gadgets and technology has made many youngsters a recluse, unwilling to share their feelings and dilemmas that start to suffocate them. They switch to drugs, as getting high makes them reach a momentary level of ecstasy.
The increase in addiction to social media is another prominent reason for the intake of drugs by youngsters. Many are falling prey to body and image perfection due to the fear of FOMO and criticism in the public forum.
Social media posts from peers and other teenagers glorify the use of alcohol and drugs and embed a negative mark on many young minds.
In a few cases, they get hooked up to drugs to be a part of a particular peer group or just for the sake of experimenting. The easy availability of drugs like alcohol, marijuana, and opioids makes it even worse.
All these glaring reasons coax the youth towards an addiction in which they try to find solace in their hurts, anger, frustrations, and rejections but push them to hell.
The victims of this substance abuse are mainly street children, child laborers, and teenagers who either have a family history of drug abuse, are emotionally shaken up by the challenges at home, or want to be part of a fast-moving world of glitz and glamour.
The Statistics show that drug abuse is a growing problem among teens. In addition to cocaine, and other club drugs, recent studies showed that the top six most abused drugs are marijuana, Vicodin, amphetamines, cough medicine, sedatives & tranquilizers.
So, how does it impact you? Drugs interfere with the smooth functioning of the neurons in the brain and lead to:
Behavioral issues – The addict gets into mood disorders, depression, anxiety, antisocial personality traits, anger issues, and quarreling. They resist meeting and mingling with others.
One study reported that three percent of adolescents who used these toxic substances were also involved in criminal activities like petty thefts and burglary. They are often used as courier services by drug traffickers.
Physiological issues – With time overdose of drugs leads to thinking disorders and Neuro disorders as the drugs like nicotine in the early stages of adulthood pose a grim threat to the developing brain and adversely impact the parts that control attention, concentration, and learning skills. The primary reason for many drug addicts’ poor academic results and dropping out of college and jobs.
Drugs cause health issues like – cancer, mental breakdown, inflicting self-harm, and suicide. Teenagers consuming drugs are five times more prone to risky sex than those who don’t. As they get involved more in unprotected sex and sex with a stranger and exposed to higher chances of STDs, teen pregnancy, and sexual assault.
The Family suffers too – In addition to personal adversities, abuse of alcohol and other drugs swoop the other family members into crisis and jeopardizes many aspects of family life, emotionally and financially. E.g. Criticisms by relatives and friends, breakdowns seeing the child suffering, and expensive medical and other treatments. Many times, such situations result in tearing the family apart.
Be your Saviour
Choose friends wisely – First thing to understand is that usage of drugs just for fun purposes is a big No, as in no time, this recreation changes into a toxic habit. Choose friends and peer groups wisely. Peer pressure is a prominent part of life for teens and adults. The energies around you are contagious, and you become what you surround yourself with. Indulge in healthy friendships and relationships by avoiding friends or family members who pressure you to use substances.
You are not alone – When you feel your mental health is taking a toll, immediately talk it out with your family and friends. If that is not an option, seek professional help. The therapist will help you follow a healthy lifestyle without any drugs or alcohol.
Don’t try to fight the demons of anger, depression, anxiety, and traumas all alone.
Accept failures and criticisms – Work on your resilience and mental strength to cope with criticism and failures and take them as stepping stones to success and self-growth. You can take the help of an adult or a therapist to work on your mental health.
Parents should teach their children the relevance of mental health from their early stages. Smooth seas never make skilled sailors. The studies show that those kids who learn how to deal with their worries or failures at the right time have better mental perseverance than others who avoid them.
Life always gives a second chance, only, you have to be drug-free and wise to grasp it.
The crucial role of Parents and family – How the young mind of adolescents is shaped, for the future depends on their upbringing. As a parent, create a cordial, friendly environment at home and keep open communication with the child. Most of the time, as parents, you need to be a good listener rather than a speaker. Listen to what the child is trying to communicate, especially if something is bothering them. Monitor the behavioral changes in your child, and the groups they hang around.
Build up an open, friendly relationship with your young ones. So that they do not hesitate to reach out to you when life goes down south for them without being judged.
Efficient parent monitoring with family skill building and structured family therapy can prevent the most illicit drug use.
To conclude, drug addiction destroys lives, tears apart families, and harms society. They take us to hell, disguise as heaven.
There is not a drug on the earth that can make life meaningful.– Sarah Kane
So, if someone ever asks you, what is your drug of Choice? Reply, it is HOPE, the most addicting one of all. And, I have plenty to keep me going ahead in life happily.
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