Methamphetamine use has reached a national pandemic. Neighborhoods across the country witness substance abuse. Everyday society is negatively affected by drug use. Drug addiction affects national crime and the amount of people processed through the judicial system. Drugs also equal theft, robbery, prostitution, violence, abuse, overdose, and death. Crystal meth is a drug of choice for many people around the country. The population hit the hardest by crystal meth is White teens. The drug has no preference for economic status, name, class, or neighborhood. All white teens are hit with this epidemic. This is including people from affluent gated communities to trailer parks, farms, suburban areas. “Earlier this year, other researchers reported that crystal meth is more widely used among young adults in the U.S than previously thought”, (Hitti, 2006). Teens are making life changing decisions. Many do not know or care about the end result. Crystal meth is a life and mind altering drug called many different things by teens. It is often called, “ice, crank, speed, chalk, white cross, fire, and glass”, (Hitti, 2006). A drug that has many different names, it also can be taken-in in many different ways. Some of the ways to get high on crystal meth are hazardous. It can also be dangerous to one’s life. The drug can be “injected, snorted, or taken as a pill”, (Hitti, 2006). Injecting the drug is the most dangerous. It can cause bruising, infection, legions, and teens can catch different diseases. This includes HIV and hepatitis. Some teens claim they started using meth at 12 years old. This is frightening. Society must do what it can to reduce teen meth use. Teen meth use can lead to further abuse or even death. Teens have a difficult time going through the problems of school, home, and their peers. Teen meth users have risky behaviors that puts them endanger of disease, addiction, mental illness, and death.
“Meth is one of the most addictive banned substances currently available”, (Agresti, 2012). It is the most addictive and also the most abused. Teens especially, abuse crystal meth. Over the years the amount of teens on meth has slowly decreased. However this does not reduce the danger. It has not stopped the epidemic. Teen meth use has caused alarm for parents and American society. Scholars think that teens are using meth for a reason. These reasons are not for fun and excitement. Some teens have problems and use meth because they think it might help them. Some of the reasons a teen may use meth is because of:
- Low self-esteem
- Lonesomeness/ fear of rejection
- Intense Stress or Peer Pressure, (Agresti, 2012)
Society has an influence on teen meth use. More importantly, meth use is also influenced by culture. This includes, “racial identity, ethnic identity, culturally specific values, and acculturation—play in shaping the world view, personality, coping style, and life choices of individuals” (Embry et, al., 2009). Of all races, whites are the most “acculturated”. Europeans founded America and are the forefathers of the American nation. Therefore, Whites often set the tone of social norm in American society. White culture cannot be dismissed. It is television, media, and American government is based off an English ideals. In this way culture and society play a large role in drug use. American culture set the environment of teenage drug abuse. This means crystal meth is a social problem. All people in society are affected by drugs. They are affected by the people who become addicted to drugs and the crime that comes with it. People would be surprised to find out that drugs can be found in every community. Drugs are available to the rich, poor, and in between. So, teens of different backgrounds can easily get these drugs. “Most notable are the sales of drugs in area-level disadvantage neighborhoods, but actual drug consumption is seen quite evenly throughout all types of regions and populations”, (Embry et, al., 2009).
A research study was done on different high schools in the country. In it they found that “illicit drug” use averaged 35%. This is more than a quarter of students surveyed. Teens that use methamphetamine scored second highest. Marijuana use came first. The teens who admit to using meth came in second with 9%, in a pool of 12th graders around the U.S, (Embry, et, al. 2009). There are many different reasons why a teen may choose to use crystal meth. One reason is the problems that teens go through. White America is a culture of individuality, success, and achievement. Many parents allow their teens to figure out life and cope on their own. Other parents are very relaxed with their children. Some parents are very strict and put pressure on them. The culture of today is about image and individuality. The relationship that teens have with their parents might also change. Some see that “experiences aren’t sorted out properly by the parents in a teenager’s life or are brushed off to be unimportant”, (Agresti, 2011). Parents forget what it was like to be a teenager. What is a small thing to an adult can be a big deal to a teen. In these years, middle and high school is also stressful. Teens have to fit the molds and standards of their peers and society. Some do not know how to fit in or need a break from school and family life. Instead of going to their parents White teens turn to methamphetamines. Thus, “meth has become the drug of choice for a lot of youngsters”, (Agresti, 2011).
In a teen’s eyes, marijuana is the drug of the past and meth is trendy. Teens like meth and even think of it as a good drug because of the feeling that it brings them. The high is described as “intense” that last longer and cost cheaper than other abusive drugs. Researchers and people who have done meth say that it is not a drug that a teen would use to have fun. But it is a social drug and teens use it at parties and social events. When on meth, teens feel invincible, under control, more aware of their surroundings. Teens enjoy these feelings and have convenienced themselves it is not harmful. Not educated on the effects of meth, teens abuse, misuse, and encourage their peers to use the drug. Therefore, “meth is more readily accessible to young people than older people think or would like to consider. This is generally what has served to create the outbreak of Meth misuse among young people in the United States”, (Rome, 2006).
Meth is a dangerous drug for teens and society. Teens that abuse meth and do not stop will ultimately die as a result. People who use meth for a long period of time suffer from many problems. These problems can change the life of a teen forever. It is harmful to the body. When misused it can damage the body and alter the sanity and state of mind. Long term meth use can cause chronic sleep loss, anxiety, paranoia and serious breathing problems, (Agresti, 2011). To make matters worse, meth treatment for addicts are not effective. Teenagers that start using meth and will eventually learn they cannot stop. The longer teens use meth the more likely they are to suffer from the consequences of long term use. Like said before, some effects of long term meth use are irreversible. Society, parents, and the government must do what they can to help teenagers stay away from harmful, dangerous, and highly addictive drugs. With these facts known, “meth addiction is almost assuredly a death sentence”, (Hitti, 2006).
Society must combat the issue of drugs. Drugs have continued to shape and change society and the problems that people, families, and communities face. Death is a very possible and real outcome for White teens. Death does not discriminate when it comes to race or socio-economic status. But death does discriminate against drug use. Keeping teens off drugs will keep them healthy and safe. They will have an equal opportunity at a future and success. With drugs infiltrating communities throughout the country, society must step in and keep these threats at bay. There are real risks to teen meth abuse and they are to be taken seriously. Educating students is one way that this problem can be helped. The government has intervened again when it comes to drug prevention. In 2007 a campaign was developed targeting teens at risk of drug abuse, (whitehouse.gov 2012). The campaign will educate and advertise in areas of the country that are most effected by meth use. The campaign will provide information for parents and teens as well that will help them find treatment and stay away from hazardous drugs.
There are serious and long-term effects of crystal meth use. This can be especially harmful for teens. During the teenage years, children are still growing. They have not reached the final stages of puberty, growth, and thinking. Teenagers using drugs can be very harmful on the body and the mental state. Symptoms of abuse are many. Some symptoms can be observed in many teens in the country. This includes, “excessive weight loss, serious dental problems (known as meth mouth), nervousness, bewilderment, mood fluctuations and violent behavior”, (Rome, 2001). People who use crystal meth over time will begin to lose their mind. Meth users will have symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. This can be scary for individuals and family members. These symptoms include, “signs of psychosis, such as auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoia and delusions”, (Rome, 2001). Addicted long time meth users will have social disadvantages if they act in this way. This can often lead to homelessness. Homelessness is a problem that directly affects society. Drugs have begun to influence society. To change this, society must address crystal meth use in American teenagers.
Teenagers are harmed by crystal meth use in other ways. Injecting crystal meth can lead to diseases. People sharing needles also share blood. This exposes needle users to diseases. This includes HIV and hepatitis B and C. Teenagers can also catch these diseases through unprotected sex. “This results when teens engage in unhealthy sexual behaviors due to the influence of crystal meth, which can impact inhibition and judgment”, (McGuiness, 2006). It does not matter how a teenager will use crystal meth, they can still catch diseases. AIDS is a disease that has no cure. This is why it is important society address drugs like crystal meth. Teens are catching diseases that will change their life forever. Also they may help spread the disease if they are infected.
“Crystal meth addiction is extremely dangerous”, (McGuiness, 2006). Viewing the dangers and threats of disease this statement is clear. Every day, the country spends thousands on teens and their families who use drugs. This includes the money spent on resources including the criminal justice system, mental health services, health-care, special education, and treatment intervention. One study done by McDaniel and Embry say that American meth use cost the country $1.5 million a year, (2001). This is money that could be used to improve the things like the education system. It shows how important it is to change how drugs influence American society. Instead of changing for the worse, society should change for the better. Society can make programs to help teenagers stay off drugs, like after school programs, mentorship, drug treatment, and providing general education. This way society and the government can benefit. The government can save money in the systems affected by meth use.
Using recent studies organizations can find target groups. Research provides useful information on teens that are most likely to abuse drugs. This can keep these teenagers from being affected. Many of this research include other information about behaviors. Teenagers that use drugs do things that help people and society understand why they use. This way we can see who is likely to use crystal meth. For instance, one study says that teens that use meth probably use other drugs too. Also teenagers that have mental health issues probably use crystal meth. Research says that, “females reporting low religiosity, binge drinking, and selling drugs were more likely to use methamphetamine than were males or individuals who did not report these attitudes or behaviors”, (Embry et, al., 2009). This lets us know that teenagers that take part in this behavior will probably use methamphetamines. It is also behavior that can lead teens to juvenile detention. When society and government step in to address the problem, it can trickle down and help other areas. Helping teenagers stay off drugs can help teens and also the criminal justice system keeping teenagers in school and off the streets.
Teenagers that use crystal meth show a lot of different behaviors. One scholar names one behavior that is found most in teenage meth users. This is teenagers that have antisocial behavior, are depressed, or/and promiscuous, (Embry et, al., 2009). Changing these behaviors in teenagers will keep them from using drugs. It also gives parents something to look for in teenagers. Teenagers that act this way will not say no to drugs. They are easily influenced by others. They want to feel better about themselves and these feelings can push teenagers to use methamphetamines. Keeping teenagers off drugs is something that would help society. To be able to do this, everyone should become involved. It is up to parents, the community, and the society. It will take a lot but it can be done. Scholars said that to do this, “the value of preventing the entire range of problems experienced by youth…requires that we focus on how we can change adolescents’ environments”, (Embry et, al., 2009).
In conclusion, teenage drug abuse is pandemic in American society. 47% of 12th graders and 31% of 9th grade have used drugs, (Hitti, 2007). This is a lot of teenagers doing a lot of drugs. Teenagers that use drugs such as methamphetamines do not know about the harmful effects. They want to fit in with their friends or want to do something fun. They do not know that they are using a drug that is highly addictive. Teenagers will begin using the drug as something recreational and can quickly turn into an addiction. Consequently, teenage drug use will continue to affect American society. To change this, the community should come together and provide resources and information to teens at risk of drug abuse.
Agresti, M. (2012). The rising trouble of meth addiction among teens. Retrieved from: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/the-rising-trouble-of-meth-addiction-among-teens
Embry, D., Hankins, M., Biglan, A., & Boles, S. (2009). Behavioral and social correlates of methamphetamine use in population based sample of early and later adolescents. Addictive Behaviors, 34(4), 343-351. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2710245/
Hitti, M. (2007, September 19). 1 in 33 teens admit trying meth. CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500368_162-3274335.html
McGuinness, T. (2006). Methamphetamine abuse.American journal of Nursing, 106(12), 54-59. Retrieved from http://vanilla47.com/Methamphetamine Pharmacology/Methamphetamine Abuse By Teena McGuinness, PhD, APRN,BC.pdf
Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2012).Methamphetamine (meth). Retrieved from: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/meth-intro
Rome, E. (2001). It’s a rave new world: Rave culture and illicit drug use in the young. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 68(6), 541-550. Retrieved from http://ccjm.org/content/68/6/541.full.pdf