by Leenos David
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Experimentation with alcohol and drugs during adolescence is common. Unfortunately, teenagers often don't see the link between their actions today and the consequences tomorrow. They also have a tendency to feel indestructible and immune to the problems that others experience.
Using alcohol and tobacco at a young age has negative health effects. While some teens will experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally, without significant problems. Others will develop a dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others. It is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems. Teenagers at risk for developing serious alcohol and drug problems include those:
• with a family history of substance abuse
• who are depressed
• who have low self-esteem, and
• who feel like they don't fit in or are out of the mainstream
Teenagers abuse a variety of drugs, both legal and illegal. Legally available drugs include alcohol, prescribed medications, inhalants (fumes from glues, aerosols, and solvents) and over-the-counter cough, cold, sleep, and diet medications. The most commonly used illegal drugs are marijuana (pot), stimulants (cocaine, crack, and speed), LSD, PCP, opiates, heroin, and designer drugs (Ecstasy). The use of illegal drugs is increasing, especially among young teens. The average age of first marijuana use is 14, and alcohol use can start before age 12. The use of marijuana and alcohol in high school has become common.
Drug use is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including increased risk of serious drug use later in life, school failure, and poor judgment which may put teens at risk for accidents, violence, unplanned and unsafe sex, and suicide.
Parents can prevent their children from using drugs by talking to them about drugs, open communication, role modeling, responsible behavior, and recognizing if problems are developing.
Warning signs of teenage alcohol and drug abuse may include:
Physical: Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes, and a lasting cough.
Emotional: personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression, and a general lack of interest.
Family: starting arguments, breaking rules, or withdrawing from the family.
School: decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy, and discipline problems.
Social problems: new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law, and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music.
Some of the warning signs listed above can also be signs of other problems. Parents may recognize signs of trouble and possible abuse of alcohol and other drugs with their teenager. If you have concerns you may want to consult a physician to rule out physical causes of the warning signs. This should often be followed or accompanied by a comprehensive evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or mental health professional.
Excerpts from Your Adolescent on Alcohol Abuse
An estimated 20 million adults in the United States abuse alcohol. More than half of these alcoholics started drinking heavily when they were teenagers.
There’s no question that drinking is a problem in most high schools. Alcohol is our most pervasive drug. Teens have access to it at parties, can obtain it from older friends who are of legal age to buy it, or may simply raid their parents’ liquor cabinets. Moreover, unlike drug use, the moderate use of alcohol is considered perfectly acceptable in most adult social circles. Teens see their parents enjoying a cocktail after work or having a glass of wine at dinner. Drinking comes to represent a very sophisticated and adult thing to do mom and Dad do it...why shouldn’t I? the teen may reason. Parental acceptance of moderate to heavy use, however, may send the message that alcohol use has little inherent danger.
All alcohol use by teens should be regarded as dangerous, not only because of the risk of alcoholism but because teen drinkers put themselves in harm’s way. Each year more that 10,000 young people in the United States are killed and 40,000 injured in alcohol-related automobile accidents.
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This seems to be a worldwide problem. I cannot remember just where in Revelation it is located, but I have heard sermons regarding the use of drugs and how it will be prevalent in the last days. Perhaps you know the scripture I am trying to remember. Jesus is coming soon. GOD BLESS YOU
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