Teen Drug Abuse during COVID
During the pandemic, it has become obvious that drug abuse is a major issue with this generation of teens. There has been a spike in teen drug use over the past year because teens were stuck at home and had nothing to do. Schools, sports, and all activities that involved more than four people were shut down. In the absence of these activities, there was more time to experiment and escape reality. Teen drug abuse is a major societal issue that can be solved in several ways using social media, school, and by ending the COVID restrictions.
In order to prevent these clueless teens from doing drugs in their ridiculous amount of free and unproductive time, the government should loosen restrictions. From 2017 to 2019 the percentage of teenagers who have vaped in the past 12 months doubled for eighth-graders, 7.5% to 16.5%, for 10th graders it went from 15.8% to 30.7%, and for 12th graders, it went from 18.8% to 35.3% (Stats and trends in Teen Drug Use). This data was recorded before the government had put strict restrictions on sports, schools, and other activities. According to CDC, 24.7% of 18-24 year old teens have started or increased substance use to cope with stress during the lockdown due to COVID-19 (CDC). The first action to decrease these insane numbers is to loosen the restrictions the government has set. This will dramatically decrease teen stress levels and will decrease teen exposure to substance use.
The second intervention to lower teen drug use numbers is education. Go above and beyond with advertisements on the long-term effects of taking drugs at such a young age. While it may seem hopeless, enlighten them about the effect drug use could have on future athletic opportunities. These advertisements should be all over the internet, in all forms of social media, on the walls at school, and anywhere teens tend to hang out. The advertisements should consist of graphic images of what organs should look like and what drugs will do to those perfectly good organs. The education should also include the physical and mental effects of illicit drugs on athletic performance, such as major fatigue, a lasting cough, and relationships due to sudden mood swings, depression, and many other negative effects. Participation with local law enforcement would be part of the teen awareness education to show outcomes involving a criminal history and damage to property, violence in their community, and undesirable community effects.
There are a few counterarguments that would make these solutions not work. One is that if the government loosens the restrictions on sports, school, and other activities the COVID-19 numbers might go up. Another counterargument to my solution is that it would be hard to keep advertisements up and running. Competitive advertising would push aside public education in the interest of making money, like thousands of other advertisements. Profits will override what is in the best interest of teens, and the companies will stop trying to keep teens interested in the advertisement.
In conclusion, Teen drug abuse is a major societal issue that can be solved in several ways using social media, school, and by ending the COVID restrictions. The proposed solutions here would decrease exposure to teen drug experimentation and prevent increased drug abuse, educate teens on the effects of drugs, and improved communities by decreasing teen drug abuse.
Abuse, National Institute on Drug. “Stats & Trends in Teen Drug Use with Interactive Chart.” NIDA for Teens, 21 Dec. 2020, teens.drugabuse.gov/teachers/stats- trends-teen-drug-use. https://teens.drugabuse.gov/teachers/stats-trends-teen-drug-use Web. 20 Jan 2021
“Is Substance Use a Part of ‘Normal’ Teen Behavior?” Partnership to End Addiction, 20 July 2020, drugfree.org/article/is-substance-use-normal-teen-behavior/. https://drugfree.org/article/is-substance-use-normal-teen-behavior/ web. 19 Jan 2021
Aacap. Teens: Alcohol And Other Drugs, www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families web. 19 Jan 2021
“Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, June 24–30, 2020.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm?s_cid=mm6932a1_x. Web. 26 Jan 2021
Whelan, Aubrey, and Bethany Ao. “Pandemic Isolation Has Some Teens Turning to Substance Use. Philly’s Recovery High School Has Found Ways to Fight Back.” Https://Www.inquirer.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 Sept. 2020, www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/teenagers-substance-use-recovery Web. 28 Jan 2021