Youth Drug Use – A Right of Passage?

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October 1, 2012 by preventyouthdrugabuse

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You have most likely heard of the drug use being a big issue in our society. What has remained an issue, and one that I think needs more focus is youth drug abuse. Using drugs almost seemed like a normal thing for kids to do when I was in my school years. It is this way of thinking that will keep youth using and abusing drugs well into the future.

The fact that it seems normal for youth to use drugs is alarming. As I found growing up and going through high school, my peers were very influential for me, and if this is the case with other youth, then the mind set of drug use being acceptable will continue to spread. The Australian National Council on Drugs Chairman John Herron supports the notion that there is a mindset that drug use is acceptable stating that it is “often seen as a rite of passage to adulthood”.

Despite drugs being criminalised, it is still very easy for anyone to access them. An article in The Australian states that one in seven secondary school students had used cannabis at least once in the past 12 months and there are 70,000 children living with a daily cannabis user. This shows the prevalence of drugs in our society and this, in my opinion is fuelling the idea that it is OK to use drugs.

If a teenager sees his or her mother, father, older brother or sister using these drugs on a regular basis, they are more likely to think it is ok to use it themselves – these family members, who play a big role in the socialisation of a child are promoting the use of these substances. Matthew Large, a senior lecturer in University of NSW’s psychiatry department states in a SMH article ”Most people when they first start smoking cannabis are handed their first joint by their best friend’s older brother when they are 13 or 14 with no knowledge of its risks or benefits”.

In situations such as these, it seems the appropriate or the ‘cool’ thing to do. But realising the effects of drug use, you can realise it is not so cool. Looking at the image at the top really sums up this argument. If you see how drugs can affect you, maybe you will think twice before using them because they are ‘cool’.

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3 thoughts on “Youth Drug Use – A Right of Passage?

  1. The ideas you’ve offered in this post are so true. I definitely

  2. The ideas you’ve offered in this post are so true. At Be Aware Don’t Swear we’re also very conscious of the fact that people are very very impressionable in their youth. Just as you say that if a teenager sees a family member (such as a brother, sister, mother or father) using drugs and becomes more likely to think it’s okay for them to use drugs themselves, we share a similar view because swearing and using vulgar language excessively is a habit that can be picked up really easily if you’re in an environment where explicit language is innately part of daily vocabulary. Hopefully we can both bring about a change with our causes!

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