Research indicates that young people are misusing drugs and alcohol at increasing rates and at younger ages too. This is absolutely something to be concerned about. When young people misuse drugs and alcohol, they put themselves in harm’s way and invite much greater risk upon themselves than older adults do. This is not to say that older adults don’t experience risk when they misuse drugs and alcohol, but it is to say that young people put themselves at even greater risk when they partake in drug and alcohol misuse than any other age group or demographic.
Unfortunately, while young people are most likely to experience severe risk and danger when they misuse drugs and alcohol (as compared to older adults), people are also more likely to begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol when they are in their teens or early twenties. This presents a difficult situation, where Americans are putting themselves in harm’s way and putting themselves at considerable risk, all at a very young age. This problem has to be addressed.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has done a lot of research into the young adult substance abuse situation in the United States. The short story? It’s getting worse, and quickly too. According to NIDA research:
These are just some of the insights that NIDA has discovered in their quest to learn more about the factors and circumstances, risks and dangers of young adult substance abuse. All of the information points in one direction. It is absolutely crucial that young people abstain from drug and alcohol misuse.
Studies indicate that there are already at least two million American teenagers who meet the criteria for drug addiction or alcoholism. Records also indicate that there are another five million Americans in their early to mid-twenties who meet these same criteria. This amounts to about eight million addicts from the age range of twelve years old to about twenty-seven years old. These are eight million addicts who need help, who need rehabilitation services, and who need assistance in overcoming their addiction struggles.
There are essentially two ways for reducing a drug problem, two approaches for creating a sober society of young adults and teens:
By increasing our efforts in both of the above areas, we should be able to make some real progress with helping young people overcome addiction. It might take some effort, it might several years, but if we all do our best to help prevent young people from becoming addicted and help rehabilitate those who are currently addicted, we can reduce and eventually remove this problem for good.