Drug Abuse in Young People





Drug Abuse in Young People


Many young people are likely to abuse drugs at one point in their lives. Some of them start as a form of experimenting, and they end up becoming addicted and trying different types of drugs. Others start taking drugs, and they become eventual abusers because of peer pressure. For some young people, their environment makes them drug users and abusers. This happens to youth who grow up in communities where the majority of the people abuse drugs because of the problems they are facing and because of the ease of access to the drugs. Some of the abused drugs include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs. Drug abuse lowers life quality of young people. Some of them are not able to finish school and others end up engaging in criminal behavior when they take drugs. Thus, it disrupts their future, and it limits any chance they have of making a meaningful life. This research proposal aims at finding out why young people end up becoming drug abusers.

Review of Sources

Wilson and Kolander define drug abuse as the excessive and chronic use of a drug to the extent that it causes physical and other personal harm (6). Drugs differ in their effects. Some have the ability to cause addictions. Young people have different perceptions of drugs and they consume them for varied reasons. Although many of them tend to experiment with drugs during adolescence, they tend to grow out of the habit when they become older. They modify their drug use over time. The type of drugs consumed initially can be a cause of worry if it is addictive. This is because a young person’s decision to continue taking drugs will depend on the type of drugs used, how it was first introduced to him or her, and the reasons for continued use (Higate, Hughes and Lart 33). The way that young people use drugs can also be indicative of their possibility to abuse them. Some young people use drugs recreationally, and they are less likely to abuse them. However, others are heavy users. The social class and location can determine people’s possibility of abusing drugs.

When young people have positive attitudes towards drug use and when they are surrounded by people who take drugs, they are more likely to become drug abusers. Moreover, the ability to get drugs easily and the downplaying of risks associated with drug use will cause a young person to become an abuser (Orcutt and Rudy 125). Lack of understanding concerning drug usage has led some people to abuse drugs. Some young people mistakenly think that some drugs are low risk. They do not consider the health consequences associated with taking the drugs. In addition, some young people tend to think that the method used for taking drugs can reduce the consequences it has on their health. Thus, some will perceive oral and nasal use to be a safer bet than injections (Gates et al. 3). In the end, they end up consuming high risk drugs, which are disastrous to their health.

Young people are largely influenced by social influences especially in their adolescence. Such influences include peers and family. Social factors can determine the attitude that a young person develops towards drugs. Verster et al. observe that young people are more likely to abuse drugs if they perceive that such habits are normal and that the society accepts and permits such behavior (546). For instance, many people consider taking alcohol and cigarettes as a normal part of life. However, they have different attitudes concerning drugs such as heroin and cocaine. This has led to the belief that consuming alcohol is not a big deal after all. The only factor limiting such behavior is age. People under the majority age are restricted from the purchase or consumption of alcohol. Alcohol and cigarette consumption can have harmful effects on a person’s life. Velleman, Templeton and Copello add that the family plays an important role in determining a young person’s behavior. They note that the quality of parenting determines a person’s psychological wellbeing, and it determines the prevalence of antisocial behavior and drug use and abuse (94).

Factors such as having a chaotic environment at home and lack of mutual attachment between parents and children increase the risk of young people misusing drugs and other substances. Young people are more likely to take up their parents’ behavior. Thus, if parents consume alcohol and take other forms of drugs, then their children are likely to take on the behavior as well. Good parental skills and supervision reduce the risk of young people experimenting with drugs. Children are highly likely to experiment with drugs when they perceive that their parents would not mind or would care less if they did. Close contact and bonding with parents is likely to discourage drug use and abuse. The close bonds make it possible for parents to discuss the issue of drugs with their children. Furthermore, parents get a chance to warn and give advice their children concerning bad company, which is instrumental in developing drug habits. Families are important in determining the kind of friends that a person chooses to have (Velleman, Templeton, and Copello 95-100).

Providing information through lectures with the intention of reducing drug use might be an ineffective approach among young people. This approach aims at providing information concerning the negative effects of drug abuse. However, this will not influence young people to discontinue drug use or to resist the urge to start the habit. Instead, it might raise their curiosity, and they will be tempted to use the drugs (Verster 549). Abadinsky adds that the information provided is exaggerated, and it raises skepticism among the young people. They end up distrusting the information they receive from the adults concerning drug usage. They become interested in experiencing the effects of drug use on a personal level (156)

Plan to Collect Information

A survey will be conducted, where the researchers will use a duly prepared questionnaire to get the relevant information from the participants. The researcher will interview young people aged between thirteen and nineteen from one high school and one college in the area. The participants will be male and female. The interview will include a set of questions. The questions will find out whether the participant takes, or has ever taken drugs, his/her reason for taking the drugs, what the person knows about the drug effect, the types of drugs taken, ease of obtaining the drugs in terms of availability and cost, and the effect that the drugs have had on his or her life.

Although the questions used in the research will be similar in all cases, the interviewer will use a semi-structured form, and he will allow the participants to give varied responses. He will ask the participants questions in case he needs more information or further clarification on an issue. This is because drug abuse is a personal problem. People have different reasons for taking the drugs. The participants may feel compelled to give more defined and comprehensive answers. The researcher will use a recorder to record all the responses from the participants. This is a quicker method compared to writing the responses on the questionnaire. He will then write down the information received after the survey.

Other than the response from the surveys, the researcher will collect information by identifying relevant literature on the subject. Past research has been conducted to identify the association that young people have with drugs. Such research will be essential in providing a clear framework for the research. It will guide the researcher in identifying the most important factors to look out for during the survey, such as the relevant questions to ask. By sourcing material from credible books and journals, the researcher will have a clearer insight of the issue and this will assist him in the survey. For instance, literature will reveal the type of drugs that young people are likely to take, their perception towards drug use, and their reason for consuming the drugs.

Overview of Challenges

The researcher is likely to identify varied challenges when doing the research, especially when conducting the survey. The researcher might have a hard time finding participants who are willing to talk about their drug abuse. This is a major problem because the researcher will need to have a large representative sample for the study. The study depends on the willingness of the participants to get information. Drug abuse is a personal issue, and some people may not reveal all the information. Some young people may feel the need to hide some details about their usage of drugs. Others might give incorrect and falsified information. Some participants may not deem it worthy to talk to a person who does not have any form of professional experience. They may feel that the researcher is too young and is, therefore, not qualified to be asking them questions. These challenges will affect the validity and reliability of the research.

Another challenge concerns time. The survey will require the researcher to spend time looking for participants and recruiting them in the study. Moreover, the researcher will need to establish a rapport with the participants. This will put the participants at ease, and it will make it easier for them to disclose intricate details to the researcher. However, the researcher will need to invest a lot of time in the process. It will be difficult for the researcher to find all the time he needs to conduct the survey, and he may require the assistance of other people to gather information in time. The use of a recorder is expected to reduce the survey time considerably. Another possible challenge might include getting consent from the participants. They will need information regarding the research before giving their consent to proceed with the research. Some participants might refuse to do so, and this will reduce the sample in the research. Some participants might choose to discontinue the research by failing to give all the information required.


Adolescence and teenage years are a period for young people to experiment many things in their lives. They get more influence from their peers, and this ends up determining their behavior. However, families are important in determining the behavior and attitude that young people form. Drug use becomes paramount when people are in their teenage years. Although many people tend to experiment and use drugs recreationally, others end up becoming heavy users. Young people abuse drugs for different reasons. The research aims at finding the reasons why young people end up becoming drug abusers. It will do so by contacting young people with a drug problem and seeking their perspective on the issue. The survey will not only reveal the reasons for drug use, but it will also seek to find out the information that people have concerning drugs and whether that information is based on facts.


Works Cited:

Abadinsky, Howard. Drug Use and Abuse: A Comprehensive Introduction. New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print

Gates, Simon et al. “Interventions for Prevention of Drug Use by Young People Delivered in Non-School Settings.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Review 1 (2006): 1-44

Higate, Paul, Rhidian, Hughes and Rachel, Lart. Drugs: Policy and Politics. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill International, 2006. Print

Orcutt, James D. and David, Rudy R. Drugs, Alcohol, and Social Problems. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. Print

Velleman, Richard D., Lorna Templeton J. and Alex, Copello G. “The Role of the Family in Preventing and Intervening With Substance Use and Misuse: A Comprehensive Review of Family Interventions, With a Focus on Young People.” Drug and Alcohol Review 24 (2005): 93-109

Verster. Joris C. et al. Drug Abuse and Addiction in Medical Illness: Causes, Consequences and Treatment. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media, 2012. Print

Wilson, Richard and Cheryl, Kolander. Drug Abuse and Prevention. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011. Print

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