Population at Risk
This research paper will address and discuss the sensitive topic of substance use and abuse within the adolescent population in America. When one thinks of a sensitive population, there are very few populations that are as sensitive as children. Children and adolescents are extremely impressionable, and when substance abuse is added to the equation, the result becomes a mental health and legal issue involving a minor. While being extremely impressionable, peer-pressure among adolescents cannot be thought of as the only reason adolescents use and abuse substances. There are biological and genetic issues that need to be considered as well as exposure to substances at a young age, including prenatal substance use. When a pregnant mother smokes a cigarette, she is not only introducing the chemicals to herself, she is also introducing the chemicals to the child in her womb. This exposure has been found to be associated with an increased probability of adolescent substance use (Lotfipoour, 2014). Not only does the adolescent have this working against them, had they been exposed in-utero, but adolescents also have puberty working against them. Adolescents that feel they have arrived at puberty before their peers have a higher likelihood of using substances, especially within the female population (Cance, 2013).
While it may seem that the blame falls upon the adolescent’s genetics and biology solely, it would be senseless to ignore the environment that the child is growing up in. Not just the environment created by the child’s peers, but the environment of their immediate family. It has been found that children who are raised in families with weak emotional bonds, rigid power structures, and higher situational stress have a significantly greater chance of substance use (Tafa, 2009). Furthermore, children raised with their fathers present have a significantly lessened chance of abusing drugs, if...