Alcoholism and drug addiction currently can be considered, not only as purely medical, but also as social problems of a modern society. The alcohol and drug abuse known since the most ancient times has now extended to disturbing limits in the world community. Even when narrowing, from the medical point of view, the limits of alcohol and drug abuse to legally comprehensible, in many countries such phenomena are recognized as social disasters.
The recognition of alcohol and drug abuse, with certain exclusions regarding alcohol, as threatening problems is a widely accepted policy that goes beyond national borders and social characteristics. At the same time, a large concern has been brought to this problem regarding its occurrence in the young generation. This paper addresses the aforementioned fact stating that drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem among many young people.
The use of alcohol and drugs at the present time, subjects the most serious threat to the health and the well-being of many young people. In regards of alcohol, from the point of view of public health services, the conclusion is clear: there is no scientific acknowledgement of a safe limit of consumption of alcohol, and particularly when it concerns children and teenagers who are the most vulnerable contingent.
Addressing drugs, the most horrifying consequences are concerned with fatal outcomes, where for example, “In 1989 there were 1,200 deaths in the United Kingdom where the underlying cause was attributed to drug dependence or non-dependent abuse of drugs or controlled drugs were somehow implicated as a cause.” (Plant, and Plant 72) There are many alcohol and drug related health issues, but definitely fatal outcomes are the most striking consequences. In the case of alcohol, driving can be seen as a serious threat, where “The rate of fatal crashes among alcohol-involved drivers between 16 and 20 years old is more than twice the rate for alcohol-involved drivers 21 and older.” (“The Health Effects of Teen Alcohol Use”). Moreover, alcohol when interacted with such conditions as depression can lead to suicide, which is “the third leading cause of death among people between the ages of 14 and 25.” (“The Health Effects of Teen Alcohol Use”).
Violence can be considered as a direct consequence of alcohol and drug abuse. The violence which can be seen among young people is a huge problem of our society, and at times it is very difficult to reveal. The impact of drug and alcohol abuse on young people can be two directional, where they can the ones applying violence, as well as its victims. A survey annually conducted by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows, as of 2000, that “illicit drug users were also about 16 times more likely than nonusers to report being arrested and booked for larceny or theft; more than 14 times more likely to be arrested and booked for such offenses as driving under the influence, drunkenness, or liquor law violations; and more than 9 times more likely to be arrested and booked on an assault charge. (“Drug-Related Crime”)
Being the victims of violence is mostly concerned with being raised in a family where one or both of the parents are abusing alcohol and drugs. Explaining the background of such families, it should be mentioned that several factors are combined in providing such violent environment, where kids are raised in “poverty, often with drug and alcohol problems, in neighborhoods where drugs and crime are common and jobs are scarce.” (“Covering Child Abuse”)
The social consequences of alcohol and drug abuse lie within the reasons people are using such substances at first place. Omitting such factors, as curiosity, risk taking, and imitation, many people are using drugs and alcohol to escape reality or some stressful life events. Accordingly, if these substances were heavily abused for a long period of time, they can result in the users being emotionally unadapted, feeling uncomfortable in the society, having difficulties in coping with life obstacles and lacking certain social interests or plans for the future. Another consequence can be seen through forming specific groups of friends who share the same habits, and thus making a circle that is hard to escape. This accordingly can affect education, where “studies have shown that school drop-out is more common among heavy-drinking students than among others.” (Klingemann).
It can be seen through the mentioned consequences that alcohol and drug abuse among young people is indeed posing a problem in the society. However, these consequences are only small pieces of the largest and the most important result of young people using drugs and alcohol. The largest concern in emphasizing the young generation aspect is that they are the foundation, upon which the future will be built. Governments and countries throughout history are trying to erase many mistakes of the past by raising and encouraging a generation, which will have the most propitious characteristics. These characteristics will allow them to keep the nation strong. This can become quite difficult when this foundation is facing serious problems itself.
“Covering Child Abuse.” American Journalism Review Sept. 1997: 1+.