Underage Substance Abuse

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Underage Substance Abuse

What is substance abuse?  Substance abuse can simply be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. Medline's medical encyclopedia defines drug abuse as "the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed."

Generally, when most people talk about substance abuse, they are referring to the use of illegal drugs. Most professionals in the field of drug abuse prevention argue that any use of illegal drugs is by definition abuse. Those drugs got to be illegal in the first place because they are potentially addictive or can cause severe negative health effects; therefore, any use of illegal substances is dangerous and abusive.

Defining the problem

The teenage years are a period of growth and exploration. It’s a time when we move out of the constricted and protected world of home and school and into a larger world – full of adventure and, yes, danger. Part of the danger is not having solid information to rely on. Peer pressure and limited experience act together, putting teens at risk of making bad choices out of ignorance.

Teens do not set out to become a drug addicts. They start out either seeking excitement or wanting to fit in; or just looking to escape boredom. Drugs are there to answer the demand. Make no mistake about it, drugs of abuse seemingly provide the fun and adventure teens crave – until the unanticipated bill comes due and another life is wrecked.

(Source: MyAddiction.com)