Drug Abuse Doesn’t Happen to Just Bad People By Jessica Groves Does doing drugs automatically make you a “bad” person? Of course there are those out there who become bad people as a result of being addicted to certain drugs. Drugs are pretty easy to come by, and even easier to become addicted to. Especially in today’s economy, many people have a variety of problems, from peer pressure to past traumas to mental illness. Many people addicted to drugs are just trying to deal with their personal issues and problems. Peer pressure is a big issue for all teenagers in our society.
Many teens start doing drugs to be part of the group, and never expect to become an addict. Slightly more than 25% of adolescents, ages 14 to 17, have used illegal drugs (Huebeck). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health states that 8% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, which is over 2 million, in the United States meet diagnostic criteria for abuse or dependence on illicit drugs. Some studies show that the most susceptible teenagers are those in the “popular” group, because they pay attention to what their peers value.
While other studies show that the teenagers who socially are not accepted have a higher likelihood of using, and becoming addicted to, drugs. Mental illness is another major reason why adolescents and adults start using drugs and eventually become dependent. Chronic drug abuse may occur in concurrence with any mental illness identified in the American Psychiatric Association (DSMIV). Some common serious mental disorders associated with chronic drug abuse include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, manic depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and generalized anxiety disorder (National Drug Intelligence Center).
Some people may use drugs on a regular basis as a way to self medicate themselves if they are dealing with any of these mental illnesses (Crotts). Co-occurring disorders are very common. In 2002 an estimated 4 million adults met the criteria for both serious mental illness and substance dependence or abuse (National Drug Intelligence Center). The most common reason people start using drugs is to cope with a childhood trauma. This can include neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, medical neglect or abandonment.
It is common for multiple forms of abuse to happen at the same time, according to Child Protective Services (National Exchange Club Foundation). When a child is sexually or mentally abused growing up, the chemistry and the architecture of his or her brain is altered. This leaves the child at a greater risk to drug abuse. Studies have found abuse and neglected children to be at least 25% more likely to experience drug abuse, sometimes as a result of developing a mental illness (National Exchange Club Foundation).
From these examples, you can see that many teenagers and adults use drugs and become addicted to drugs. We know that using illegal drugs to deal with problems is not the healthiest or most responsible way to get by. But for some of them, it may be the only medication that helps to heal the pain. You can see that peer pressure, mental illnesses, and childhood traumas are closely related and make up the majority of reasons why drug abuse is so popular. It is true that there are those out there who, as a result of being addicted, resort to violence and criminal activities.
But most of them are trying to self medicate and are focused on getting through life with the least amount of pain and conflict. Works Cited Crotts, Cristine. Drug Abuse and Mental Illness: iSnare. com. 19 May 2010 . Huebeck, Elizabeth. WebMD. 10 June 2009. 15 May 2010 . Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence. 2005. 19 May 2010 . National Drug Intelligence Center. Drug Abuse and Mental Illness Fast Facts. 1 January 2006. 19 May 2010 . National Exchange Club Foundation. 19 May 2010 . National Institute on Drug Abuse. 19 May 2010. 19 May 2010 .