Teen Substance Abuse: Highest Rates Of Drug & Alcohol Abuse
According to a new global study on teen substance abuse, American teens have the highest rates of both drug and alcohol abuse in the developed world. American teenagers are inundated with a culture that not only promotes, but, to a degree, celebrates drug and alcohol consumption. Watch any program on MTV and you will see characters whose sole goal in life, it seems, is to go out and party. How is a young person not going to want to binge on alcohol and drugs when all they see in the media are examples of teenagers getting some form of positive attention for doing so?
Teen Substance Abuse
The report, which was published by the British medical journal The Lancet, finds that nearly 30% of American’s from the ages 13-15 have reported binge drinking within the past thirty days. This statistic was drastically higher than any other country surveyed. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. Some researchers believe it has to do with the fact that the United States is one of only a few countries in the world that has their legal drinking age set at 21. In most other developed nations it is set at 18 or younger.
When you’re told, as a teenager, not to do something or that something is dangerous, what happens? Many teenagers want to sneak out and try it as soon as they can. In other countries, where the drinking age is much younger than America, young people do not view drinking as something that is taboo or all that incredible. Whereas in America, teens may see the drinking age set at 21 and assume that it must be something really cool that adults are hiding or blocking them from. It now appears that research is backing up these assumptions on teen substance abuse.
Teen Substance Abuse and Teen Drinking
Teen substance abuse and teen drinking is obviously a very serious health concern. If we want to get serious about lowering the numbers of teens who abuse alcohol regularly, we need to start educating children from a younger age then we currently are. By taking the mystery and mystique of booze away at an early age, kids may become less curious about experimenting with it or abusing it. By teaching kids frankly about the destructive consequences that come to those who regularly abuse alcohol, we may be able to instill a healthy respect for moderate alcohol consumption. However, if we continue to place such a taboo on teenagers drinking, we can certainly expect to maintain our nation’s status as having the largest number of alcohol abusing teens.