Substance misuse is a growing problem in and around the youth demographic of this generation. With the increased accessibility and appeal of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, a portion of adolescents have misused and abused these substances. Some of the most common substances that are often abused by youth are marijuana and alcohol. These substances can have slight benefits when used appropriately and within legal boundaries. However, when it is not, the effects can be profoundly harmful. Not only does substance abuse affect the user in a negative way, it also affects the people surrounding them as well. Being properly educated and aware of the dangers of substances is one the the many ways to protect against the risk of substance abuse.

Alcohol is one the the most common and readily available drugs, in which almost anyone can gain access to it. It is also a major legal recreational drug, alongside caffeine and tobacco (nicotine). Unlike caffeine however, abusing and misusing alcohol can lead to much more harm, in both the short term and long run. Drinking alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant, in which it slows down the body system and causes reduced consciousness. When alcohol is consumed, it will enter and begin to circulate in the circulatory system and increase the alcohol level in the blood, which effects the body respectively. In small amounts, alcohol can assist in the calming of the mind, and aiding the user into relaxation. However, consuming an excessive amount of this substance in a short period would be considered abuse. In addition, constant and regular use can also lead to the abuse of the substance, and result in many unfavourable effects. The immediate effect of alcohol abuse include a range of symptoms similar to being sick, such as vomiting, dizziness and addition erratic mood changes. Early social effects of alcohol abuse include depression, lack of motivation, a deterioration in health, as well as becoming more introverted and unsociable. It can also cause a drop in school grades and early career opportunities for youth. Lasting effects of alcohol abuse are more detrimental and difficult to reverse. Long-term and ongoing effects include health issues, depression, a loss in social connections, and also becoming more easily aggravated. Alcohol abuse can also cause alcohol dependancy, or addiction to alcohol, which worsens the case.

Another substance that is commonly abused, and is becoming more common within the youth population, is cannabis, or marijuana. Marijuana is not openly legal to the majority of the public, and must be used in controlled legal limits and with permits. Nonetheless, it can still be abused, and is commonly. Cannabis affects the human body by giving the user an increased sense of euphoria and put them into a calm state of mind, altering their mood. Side effects of using cannabis include dryness in the mouth and throat, short term memory loss and increased anxiety. In addition, it can cause short term social issues as well, such as seclusion, financial issues and legal disorder. Long-term health effects include respiratory and cardiovascular issues, as well as a loss in memory and mental issues. These effects are more deadly towards youths and adolescents who are still developing. The persisting social effects resulted from cannabis abuse are also very harmful. The most obvious harmful effects of marijuana abuse would be financial issues, and psychological addiction: which can damage relationships and create a negative self-image. Lastly, marijuana use is also illegal in the majority of cases, thus cannabis abuse risks breaching the law.

Substance abuse is not always directly attributed to the user alone, and often their judgement is swayed and altered by outside influences. First, by surrounding oneself with people who constantly use substances can manipulate one judgement and persuade them to use such substances. In addition, media content that contains misguiding information can have the same effect. On the other hand, having supportive peers and family who are positive influences will help one deter from substance use. In other cases, when an individual is already abusing a certain substance, peers as well as family who are supportive and mannerly on the subject can help in correcting the user in his ways. The media too can be a proper, positive influence. The right sources and content can educate and inform an individual about the risks of substance abuse. Thus, by following positive examples and being-well informed by media, peers and family will lead to appropriate and safe choices.

Being an adolescent myself, and having the possibility of encountering these issues gave me reason to formulate strategies and methods to prevent myself from substance abuse. First, as stated before, surrounding myself with good influences and avoiding negative impressions is one method to avert from substances. It is always best to begin with a prevention method, and protect from the issue before it becomes one. Substance abuse is especially hard to recover from, thus to prevent it is of first priority. Another strategy for averting from substance abuse is to be educated and capable of making correct decisions in situations. Even with the most prevention measure taken, there are still be times where decisions regarding substances will arise. Then, it will be important to be sensible and make the right decisions, and not be swayed into making bad decisions by pressure. Lastly, a definite strategy to preventing substance abuse is simply being well educated and informed about it. As I’ve mentioned, with the spreading publicity and controversy on drugs and substances, it is almost impossible to not be impacted by the information. However, with correct judgement supported by proper knowledge one can decide appropriately to these influences, and be safe from the dangers.

In conclusion, the best defence against substance abuse is being well educated and informed about the risks, effects, and consequences involved. By doing so, one can stay safe and make the right decisions towards these situations, and create a positive impact on their own future.




Government of Canada: Alcohol Abuse

Teen Challenge: Alcohol Abuse Facts

Psychology Today: Alcohol Abuse

NHS: Alcohol Misuse

Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse: Marijuana Marijuana Abuse

Healthline: Marijuana Abuse and Addiction

Narconon: Effects of Weed

Wikipedia: Alcoholic Beverage

Wikipedia: Cannabis (Drug)

Wikipedia: Recreational Drug Use

Wikipedia: Substance Abuse