Teens Drinking Less, Using More Marijuana

According to Fox News, the United States government conducts a yearly study to estimate how many pre-teen and teenagers are using drugs and which drugs are most popular. The survey was released by the National Institutes of Health and though it revealed some good news, it came as a shock that some drug classes are seeing an increase in use.

The teenage binge drinking rate was at its highest in 1998, at 31.5 percent, but teen drinking is on the decline. In the last year, it’s dropped down to 23.2 percent. I realize it could be (and should be) lower, but when compared to what it was 10 years ago, it’s hard not to be pleased with the number!

Alcohol can have very dangerous side effects including, but not limited to:

  • Memory loss and mental confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney infections
  • Diabetes
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Brain damage
  • Impaired judgment

The younger a person starts drinking, the more drastic the side effects are. A drop in high school-age drinking is most definitely a positive step for this country, but not so positive is the incline of drug use. Marijuana and ecstasy use all increased in the last year. Heroin use also increased among 12th graders. Dr. Nora D. Volkow says, “These high rates of marijuana use during the teen and preteen years, when the brain continues to develop, place our young people at particular risk.”

There is some controversy over which drugs are the worst and whether or not alcohol may be the most destructive of them all. As far as I’m concerned, young people shouldn’t be using drugs of any kind. At a time in life when we are still growing so much physically and mentally, why do we jeopardize our potential with poison? That’s not to say adults should go ahead and use all the drugs and alcohol that they want, just that I find it uniquely disturbing when kids as young as 11 are drinking and getting high. We clearly need to provide these children with love, knowledge and support. Whatever is driving them to drug use, whether it be increasing pressure to do well in school or an unhappy family life, there is always a better way.

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