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The Problem of Drugs Usage and Alcoholism Among Teenagers

Literature Review

The topic of the use of methamphetamines among use is becoming more and more serious nowadays. The fact is that drug use is closely linked with sexual risks: these are Sexually Transmitted Deceases and HIV. Teens and young adults are challenging lots of pressures and decisions including alcohol, use of drugs, and sexual activity – the decisions that are generally taken simultaneously. The study on this matter has revealed that the health risk actions happen jointly (under alcohol or drug effect), nevertheless, it is often hard to define which action comes first. Drug or alcohol use augments the credibility that a teen will initiate sexual contact, and correspondingly, the sexually experienced teens are more subjected to drug or alcohol use. (Howard, 2004, p.25)

It is confirmed by the researchers and adolescent psychologists, that teenagers, who early start using alcohol and drugs may initiate earlier sexual contacts, unprotected sex, and multiple partners which is crucial with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV, unplanned pregnancy, and sometimes the instances of sexual violence. There is still much to study on the matters of the approaches and knowledge of youth toward alcohol and drug use, and also sexual activity (including unsafe sexual contacts), and also how conscious the teens are of them while performing these contacts. These matters are rather topical, in spite of the fact that the rates of drug use among adolescents have decreased recently (1999 to 2005 4.7% to 2.5%, respectively), the rate of transmitting the STDs stays rather high among adolescents. (Kaiser, 2002, p 8)

Lots of youngsters tell that they were engaged in risky sexual behaviors after drug or alcohol use. Moreover, more than a third of them agreed, that drugs or alcohol affected their decision. All of them report, that they were subjected to unprotected sex, and are worried about the credibility of unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.

The matter of using methamphetamines by young people is of high interest among medics and psychologists, interested in studying teens’ behavior.

Journal of adolescent health states the following: In national surveillance studies, adolescents report illicit use of both prescription stimulants and methamphetamine. The prescription stimulant with the highest prevalence of nonmedical use (used interchangeably with illicit use throughout the text) among adolescents is methylphenidate (i.e., Ritalin). Methylphenidate is prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects about 4–5% of the population. Medical use of methylphenidate and other stimulants indicated for ADHD has increased steadily over the past 10 years, particularly for adolescents. (Baskin-Sommersa, Sommers, 2006, p 16)

The level of the development of these researches is rather high, as the link between drug and alcohol use and unprotected sexual contacts. The fact is that the changes in behavior caused by alcohol or drug use are thoroughly studied, but the reasons why teenagers choose to try drugs are not clear, and are generally restricted by the following reasons:

  • The wish to look more adult
  • The wish not to split the company
  • The wish to get relaxed

The social mechanisms that make children use drugs are also clear. The only thing that is not defined – why do some adolescents cannot choose some other way to look more adult or relax. (Valois, Zullig, 2002, p 12)

High levels of alcohol and drug consumption by young people in Europe is leading to an increase in unsafe sexual practices and a consequent rise in sexually-transmitted disease infections, according to a recently published study by the European Institute of Studies on Prevention” as Science News state. (ScienceDaily, 2008) That generally makes the researchers look at the problem from a different angle, as the statistic reveals, that the rate of STDs infection is higher among those, who use drugs or alcohol. Originally, the risk of getting an STD is higher among adolescents, as many of them do not know about the safety means.

Methamphetamine use is closely linked with frequent adverse health outcomes. The study by Mindy A. Herman-Stahl (Herman-Stahl, 2005, p. 13) is aimed to research the pervasiveness and sharing of lifetime methamphetamine use as well as the junction between methamphetamine use and the sexual risk behaviors among the student of US high schools. The study reveals that crystal methamphetamine is the general form of methamphetamine that is used by adolescents. Users are drawn to its euphoric and stimulant effects, but crystal methamphetamine typically has higher purity and more potential for abuse. Typically smoked, it produces an immediate, intense sensation and has longer-acting physiological effects than powder. Adverse effects of methamphetamine use include mood disturbances, psychotic symptoms, cardiovascular problems, hyperthermia, and convulsions. Adverse consequences to communities and families include child abuse and neglect, morbidity from exposure to ‘meth’ laboratories, and emergency department and law enforcement burden. (Iritani, Hallfors and Bauer, 2007, p. 16)

This described effect clearly reveals the process that happens in the human consciousness after the use of methamphetamines, so, the behavior of the people, who carelessly perform unsafe sexual behavior, is explained by these changes in their consciousness.

Problem Statement

The key issue of the problem is the association between substance use and sexual contact between teenagers. It is necessary to mention, that teenagers are more subjected to the influence of their companionships, consequently, the mechanisms of influence should be studied along with the rates of methamphetamine and alcohol use, STDs among adolescents, the consequences of unsafe sex among teenagers, and how to avoid them.

Hypotheses

The expected findings of the current research would confirm that the use of drugs and alcohol is harmful to mental, bodily, and sexual health. The rate of adolescents, who use drugs and consume alcohol, is decreasing currently, but the researches reveal, that the rates of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV are higher among those who use drugs, in comparison to all the others. (Blanchard, Schafer, Fals-Stewart, 2004, p. 7)

The matter, that the qualification of the educators should be increased in the topics of sexual education and the harm of drug use. The fact is that the behavior of adolescents is highly dependent on education and breeding, as the teens that are from problem families are more subjected to early drug use and unsafe sexual contact.

References

Baskin-Sommersa, A. Sommers, I. (2006) “The co-occurrence of substance use and high-risk behaviors” Journal of adolescent health 38 (2006) 609–611.

Herman-Stahl, M. Krebs, C. (2006) “Risk and Protective Factors for Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants and Methamphetamine among Adolescents” RTI International, Research Triangle Park.

Howard, D. (2004) “The Relationship Between Substance Use and STD/HIV-Related Sexual Risk Behaviors Among U.S. Adolescents” Journal of HIV/AIDS Prevention in Children & Youth, Vol. 6(2) 2004.

Iritani, B. Hallfors, D. Bauer, D. (2007) “Crystal methamphetamine use among young adults in the USA” Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Journal compilation (2007) “Use of methamphetamine by young people: is there reason for concern?” Society for the Study of Addiction.

Kaiser, H. (2002) “Substance Use and Risky Sexual Behavior: Attitudes and Practices Among Adolescents and Young Adults” Kaiser Family Foundation, february 2002.

ScienceDaily (2008) “Drug Use By Europe’s Young People Leads To Risky Sexual Behaviour” Science News.

Schafer, J. Blanchard, L. Fals-Stewart, W. (2004) “Drug Use and Risky Sexual Behavior” Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 1994, Vol. 8, No. 1, 3-7.

Springer, A. Peters, R. Shegog, B. (2007) “Methamphetamine Use and Sexual Risk Behaviors in U.S. High School Students: Findings from a National Risk Behavior Survey” Society of Prevention Research.

Valois, R. Zullig, R. (2002) “Association Between Life Satisfaction and Sexual Risk-Taking Behaviors Among Adolescents” Journal of Child and Family Studies, Vol. 11, No. 4.