#DrugsAreAwesome...If You Want To Die Young

by PeteTheGreek on February 25, 2017 - 1:28am

In our modern society, the population is exposed to multiple threatening and addicting obstacles that can hurt anyone and those around them. The most vulnerable members of the population are the young, therefore the adolescents are the most susceptible to addiction and the abuse of substances whether its illicit or prescription drugs. The causes of drug abuse are numerous and the consequences are even more substantial. The youth of today’s societies are faced with the large threat of drugs surrounding them.


Historical Context

To understand the presence and spread of drugs taken abusively by teenagers, the history of the narcotics use can aid in comprehension. The effects and consequences of taking several of the most abused drugs are even worse nowadays than in the past. Through the article, it is clear that another peak of drug abuse by adolescents is taking place in the twentieth century similar to the large peaks of the 1970’s. (Nanda, 2006) The same drugs that teenagers abused decades ago are the same ones that are abused nowadays in more potent forms. In addition, multiple options in the recent decades are in place to attempt to reduce the amount of illicit drugs consumed. At the moment, approximately half of the teenage population in the United States of America has consumed illegal drugs by the time they receive their high school diploma.

Cause of Abuse

            The methods of forming a need for illicit drugs are explained by a neurological standpoint in the article called “Neuropsychiatric Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse”. The research like many other studies allows us to define clearly the process toward addiction and abuse. There were several examples on the possibilities of developing an addiction such as “A personal and family history of addiction” (Caplan, 2007) and “Risk factors including male gender, young to middle age, lower income and single status.” (Caplan, 2007) To begin developing an abusive routine is extremely severe, the dependencies that are formed to different illegal substances all begin from a single use. The accessibility to drugs nowadays has been facilitated more than ever as people can use the worldwide web to provide themselves with the products. According to the research, this issue has managed to create the need for further therapy centers and more people willing to aid toward a road of recovery.

Political Issues

Within the social community of teenagers drug abuse is driven by money and popularity. The costs of illicit drug use shouldn’t be underestimated as the use of narcotics affects several sectors and uses countless services and resources. Due to substance abuse, there are tens of billions of dollars in costs that are paid by the Canadian government. The main factors attributing to the costs of substance abuse are alcohol and tobacco followed by illicit drugs. “Alcohol accounts for approximately $7.52 billion in costs […] Tobacco accounts for approximately $9.56 billion in costs […] The economic costs of illicit drugs are estimated at $1.4 billion. (Single, 1998) The sacrifices made to reduce the substance abuse of teenagers are a large commitment by the Canadian government to ensure a bright future for the next generation. The reduction of drug abuse is a main priority for political leaders as the illegal and dangerous substances can damage physically and mentally those that are meant to be counted in for the nation’s bright and prosperous future. To establish relations with the youth to drive them toward drug-free lives the government shows public service announcements on social media towards anti-drug lives as seen in the video linked with this article.

Effects of the Drugs

The consequences that are linked to the abuse of drugs can lead to multiple long-term health issues, which are explained in the research. As people continue to abuse drugs, evidently, their condition and the consequences will begin to be severe and critical. The teenagers damaged by prescription drugs abuse are scarred and in need of continuous and serious aid for the rest of their lives in the most severe cases. Most likely, adolescents are suffering from drug abuse but are too afraid or too independent to seek aid and support from family and peers. (Jaffe, 1999) The recent generation of teenagers feel strong and unique, making them have a hard time in confiding in others.

Solution & Treatment

Following years of research, the article “Family Treatment For Drug Abuse” shows that the best approach toward treatment for adolescents and adults that suffer from narcotics abuse is to use a family based treatment plan. The study explains that the relations with parents are vital for defeating an addiction. It is said, “ New research shows that high levels of supportive parenting reduces genetic vulnerability for substance use increases over time” (Rowe, 2012) Through building family functioning, the drug use will be reduced since when an individual begins to use drugs family interactions and functioning is compromised. With strong family ties, the drug abuser has an increased chance of successfully recuperating from their addiction. This research discusses many forms of family therapy such as “Multidimensional Family Therapy” or “Multisystemic Therapy” to improve adolescent surroundings and reduce antisocial behavior. With aid from family, the odds of success are highest for a better life.


#1 Do you believe the efforts done by the Canadian government through media will be able to convince teenagers to not start taking illicit drugs?


#2 With proper awareness will more adolescents speak up about drug abuse?


#3 What is the biggest thing we can all do to aid those in our communities?



Caplan, J. P., Epstein, L. A., Quinn, D. K., Stevens, J. R., & Stern, T. A. (2007). Neuropsychiatric effects of prescription drug abuse. Neuropsychology Review, 17(3), 363-80. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11065-007-9037-7


Jaffe, S. L. (1999). Adolescent substance abuse: Assessment and treatment. Adolescent Psychiatry, 23/24, 61. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/206077047?accountid=9991


Nanda, S., M.D., & Konnur, N., M.D. (2006). Adolescent drug & alcohol use in the 21st century. Pediatric Annals, 35(3), 193-9. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/217550846?accountid=9991


Rowe, C. L. (2012). FAMILY THERAPY FOR DRUG ABUSE: REVIEW AND UPDATES 2003-2010. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 38(1), 59-81. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1115574157?accountid=9991


Single, E., Robson, L., Xie, X., & Rehm, J. (1998). The economic costs of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs in canada, 1992. Addiction, 93(7), 991-1006. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/199697757?accountid=9991


Public Service Announcement Video




I think that this article brings up a good topic but the topic is brought up too much. I find it interesting that the one of the reasons for addiction like you said in your article “A personal and family history of addiction” and that “Risk factors including male gender, young to middle age, lower income and single status.” One thing that I think you could have done better is put more statistics in your article like for example the number of teens taking drugs in Canada and more specifically in the province of Quebec.

Answers to questions

1. I think that the efforts done by the Canadian government through medial will not be able to convince teenagers to not start taking drugs because the teenagers have control over their own lives and actions and the government is not going to do anything to change their lives and actions that they make.

2. I think that with proper awareness that more adolescents will not speak up about drug abuse because of the simple fact that a lot of the adolescent population of Canada have already done drugs and there are not a lot from the adolescent population that have not done drugs plus once people start its hard to stop.

3. I think that the number one thing we can do for people who take drugs in our community is to just let them do what they want because it is their choice to take drugs. It is not the community’s responsibility to take care of the people who take drugs and to tell them that it is bad for their health. They made their choice and its not our choice that we have made for them.

here is something you might find interesting ---> http://www.teen-drug-abuse.org/adolescent-substance-abuse.htm

This article has covered all the main points of drug consumption. It has cleared my mind of most questions I had about drug use and its effect on society. This text is easy to read as it is proportionally divided and easy on the eyes. One of the aspects that questions me is to know what is going through the minds of the people who have over come with drug addiction. I believe that not all drugs should be criminalized or be taken as seriously as some are. For example, the fines you can get for possession of marijuana are crazy. For example, for the herb marijuana it’s a small fine with little possession but with a concentrated version of it you can 2-8 years in prison. This puts a lot of non violent marijuana supporters in prison. So I believe that there are certain drugs that should be decriminalized to avoid having statistics that are so drastic.


#1 Do you believe the efforts done by the Canadian government through media will be able to convince teenagers to not start taking illicit drugs?
I think that the penalty for certain drugs are too high. Some drugs should just be decriminalized. The Canadian government has started a campaign to legalize marijuana but we still haven’t seen many changes.

#2 With proper awareness will more adolescents speak up about drug abuse?

I believe that the steps the government has taken to handle this situation is good with the social groups put in place to help and the rehabilitation centers but at this point its up to the drug users to step up and make the first move.
#3 What is the biggest thing we can all do to aid those in our communities?

The biggest thing we can do to aid those in our communities is to provide rehabilitation programs to make drug users feel like their communities are there to help.

This article analyzed all angles of the issue of addiction from the social, political, and economic influences to the implications it has in health care and new methods of approaching the situation. I think this was a multi-faceted article that adequately examined the root causes of the issue and I really liked how you brought forth solutions. There are many social, political, and even economic factors tied into addiction and the process that leads one to become an addict. There are a lot of social risk factors, from a genetic vulnerability to addiction to middle age, lower income, and single status. Further, the accessibility of drugs in our society through social media makes it very easy to get attached. Politically, the popularity of drugs and their trendiness in our society makes them appealing and enticing to our generation, yielding peer pressure to try these substances. Economically, the cost of narcotic drug use should not be underestimated - it can be quite all-consuming and addicts are quick to spend their money. On the bright side, physicians are concocting new ideas for treatment to deal with the new problems we face, including multidimensional family therapy and multi-systemic therapy.

Answer of questions:

1. Yes, should their methods make the teenagers feel like they have someone to relate to and who understands them.

2. Certainly, should we erase the positive stigma associated with doing drugs and replace it with the dangers

3. The biggest difference we can make is on an interpersonal level - through conversations w our peers, encouraging them to refrain from taking illicit drugs

Related article:


This is relevant to the original post because it talks about how countries would easily save thousands if not millions of dollars and how much countries could benefit from it.

Your article effectively explains the problem of substance abuse among teens and I like the way you concluded with solutions to the problem. A way to further your analysis would be to look at the issue through a gendered lens and perhaps elaborate more on the Caplan quote regarding young men. It is important to note that boys and men tend to make up a higher percentage of substance abusers than girls do. More information about this phenomenon can be found here: http://theconversation.com/how-the-desire-for-masculinity-might-drive-so.... One way of explaining the striking differences between men and women when it comes to drug and alcohol use would be to look at how males are expected to conform to hegemonic masculinity, or in other words the “man box”. The “man box” encompasses a variety of “ideal” male characteristics including strength, aggressiveness and stoicism. This prescriptive and unrealistic set of ideals encourages men to constantly prove their manliness; a way of doing so is taking risks, such as using powerful drugs or drinking copious amounts of alcohol. The other important characteristic that relates to substance abuse issues in teens, is the idea that men are stoic. Teenagers who cannot find better ways to deal with personal problems may turn to drugs and alcohol, instead of talking to someone.

Very well-written article! The way you divided the piece to ensure a logical progression of ideas helped coherently convey information. If you were looking for ways to further highlight the themes of the article, I would suggest you explore the topic in relation to the gendered expectation of men in society and how this expectation differs according to factors such as race, social status and ethnicity.

This idea is already briefly touched upon in the second body paragraph, which already gives you a great place for incision. However, if you really want to understand this new avenue, you should familiarize yourself with the topics of hegemonic masculinity and intersectionality. Hegemonic masculinity is the behavioural standards society imposes on men which state that they should be aggressive, successful, sexual, etc. Meanwhile, intersectionality is the notion that different forms of discrimination overlap and reinforce each other.

Returning to the article, it could be valuable to examine the group at highest risk of substance abuse by race and sexual orientation and emphasize how men outside of the heterosexual Caucasian norm are disproportionally more susceptible. To better identify the causes of abuse, you could suggest that some men turn to drugs as a coping mechanism for failure and that in a society that expects men to be highly successful, some people might employ drugs as a means to distract from intolerably high levels of stress associated with these expectations.

If you’re still curious about the correlation between intersectionality and substance and looking for a more advanced read, try: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3893631/

About the author

MTL man with deep Greek roots, at the same time I'm a hardcore Canadian with a passion for hockey, love for the Habs and a lust for a Timmie's Double-Double.