5 Reasons Young People Take Illegal Drugs

Illegal drugs are a problem in the United States and around the world for a number of reasons: peer pressure, environment and accessibility, rebellion against parents, experimentation, depression, and thrill. Parents need to be vigilant in monitoring their children’s behavior and talking to them about the dangers of drugs to prevent their use in the first place. Take a closer look at the five reasons people take illegal drugs and how to prevent these circumstances from happening.

Peer Pressure

Many young adults strive to be accepted, and end up compromising their better judgement to get it. This often puts their health or safety at risk. Illegal drug use is often the result of peer pressure. For instance, a child goes to a party where there are drugs and eventually tries them because everyone else is doing it. There can also be more direct forms of pressure, such as the threat of abandonment by friends if they don’t try the illegal drugs.

As a parent, there is no way to monitor every single party or social event your children attend, so it is better to give them tools to withstand peer pressure and handle the situation when they encounter illegal drugs. To do this, make sure that your children always have an escape route, meaning they can call you or someone else at any time to remove them from a party or other circumstance with illegal drugs, no questions asked. Also, make sure that your children know it is ok to say, “No,” and lose a friend. There will always be new people they can meet that won’t pressure them to do dangerous things.

Environment and Accessibility

According to a British Crime Survey, 50 percent of young people between 16 and 24 have used illegal drugs on at least one occasion. One factor that contributes to this is environment. Many low-income communities have problems with illegal drugs, and, statistically speaking, children who live in those communities are more likely to try drugs. This is because drug use becomes socially acceptable in this environment. If it’s at all possible, avoid living in these areas because the accessibility to drugs is too easy.

Curiosity and Thrill

Along with environment, many young adults try illegal drugs simply because they have never done it before and want to know what it feels like. This is dangerous because people can get hooked off of their very first use. Plus, there is also the possibility of death on the first experimentation. Parents need to emphasize that the risk of illegal drugs isn’t worth the excitement and curiosity.

There’s no denying that drugs are fun in the moment. They give the user a “high” that can’t be experienced in any other way. That’s why it’s so easy to get addicted to drugs: it feels too good to quit. Make sure your children know the high is only temporary and it becomes more and more difficult to achieve with subsequent drug use.

Depression or Stress

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as one in ten U.S. adults report experiencing depression. The number is even greater among young adults. People who suffer from depression are more likely to take illegal drugs than other people, because drugs make the symptoms of depression go away, at least for a little while.

Some people are more prone to depression and stress than others. It could be part of their genetic code. If you notice signs of depression and stress in your child, make sure that he or she knows that illegal drugs are not the answer. Then, make sure to get your child the necessary medical intervention.

Rebellion Against Parents or Society

Young people don’t like to be told what they can and can’t do. As a result, many decide to try drugs. This is a hard one to prevent, but it is best treated by teaching your children from a young age that drug use is never OK and it can lead to death or permanent injuries. Show that it isn’t worth the risk, even to get back at parents.

These are the main reasons young adults try illegal drugs. Watch for the warning signs in your children to prevent illegal drugs from becoming a problem for your family. It’s easy for young adults to get hooked and prevention is the best course of action.


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