Drug Abuse Among American Teenagers

Drug abuse in America is a major problem. Especially among teenagers. Drugs
have hurt the lives of nearly 40 percent of all teenagers in America. Either with health
problems, DWIs, highway crashes, arrests, impaired school and job performance. These
drugs that teenagers use range from Alcohol, LSD, Marijuana, and even Cigarettes. Most
of the teenagers that are involved in drug abuse have either, broken families, parents that
are drug abusers, a unstable environment where they are constantly moving from place to
place, or there parents aren't exactly making a lot of money and they are never around
because they are trying to make enough money for them to survive. But even to most
ordinary teenager can have a drug problem depending on there friends, and relationship
with there family.
These teenagers turn to drugs because they have no where else to turn. There
family members aren't ever around, or hardly ever around. Some teens may have there
parents around, but they too are involved with drug abuse, giving little or no attention to
there children. They may have dropped out of school, or aren't meeting the standards set
for them to meet, giving them a sense that they aren't worth anything. So what do they
do? They turn to drugs, thinking that it will take all there problems away. They soon
discover new friends with the same outlook on drugs as they have. And now they have a
place to turn, a place where they will not be rejected or put down, a place where nothing
matters, everyday is a good day. Until they finally just fall apart.
The reason most teens get involved in drugs is because they have what's called a
low inner and outer containment. Inner containment is what people believe is right and
wrong, like your beliefs and morals. These ideas are taught to you at a young age by your
parents, and other people in your life that are important to you. If your inner containment
is low, meaning that you don't have people that have put ideas into your head about
what's right and wrong, then your chance of being a drug abuser increases. Outer
containment is like the law, teachers, friends, and family. If you have a lot of people
around you that are constantly telling you drugs are bad, you will be less likely to get
involved with the drugs because you don't wanna let these people down. But if you don't
have very many people around you like teachers say if you dropped out or something.
Then you don't have anyone telling you not to do drugs, which means you will probably
do them. But if you have a strong social bond (i.e. attachment to parents, school, church,
etc.) you will be less likely to become deviant because you don't want to let them down.
If a person has a low inner and outer containment, they probably don't feel to great about
themselves either, and feel as if they are lost in society. They look for someone to lead
them, or look for a way out. When a person doesn't know what to do, they are more prone
to get involved with deviance. This theory is known as Anomie.
Differential Association ties in with the containment theory also. It means that
people will learn to be deviant (i.e. drug abuse) by the examples sent to them by
important people in our lives. These important people could be parents, and family.
When you grow up you always look to your parents as a role model, and everything they
do you want to do. They develop ideas in your head also about what's right and wrong,
these ideas are constructed realities. If a teenagers parents are involved with drugs, the
teen or child will observe that and think that it is OK for them to do the same thing,
because they think it must be normal, after all the parents do it, why can't they? Another
example of Differential Association would be with friends. If some of the teenagers
friends are involved with drugs, the teen is more likely to get involved with them because
of peer pressure from them. They also have a need to fit in with them and they will do
anything to gain that acceptance. Along with Differential Association comes Differential
Reinforcement. Reinforcement is what a teenager would get from his peers. Lets say the
teen starts doing drugs like the rest of his friends, and they start praising