Examples of excessive drug use permeate our current culture. There are headlines about football players using marijuana, baseball players using steroids, states voting to make recreational use of pot legal for adults over the age of 21, and accidental drug overdose deaths. The culture is soaked in drug and alcohol usage and our teens are not immune to the trends.
A recent example of this cultural phenomenon is the arrest of four ex-Louisiana State University football players on marijuana charges. One was Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu, who leased the apartment where the men and the pot were found. Police say Mathieu, and fellow teammates Jordan Jefferson and Karnell Hatcher were booked on charges of marijuana possession while Derrick Bryant faces a charge of possession with intent to distribute.
Other news stories portray the major league baseball players who had been engaging in taking performance-enhancing steroids for more than a decade. An article published in the New York Times in August of 2012 describes "the steroid era was more likely to be a permanent state of affairs than an ugly chapter that can be closed." An example was given of one of the young players, Ryan Braun who was voted the MVP of the National League, but who tested positive for elevated testosterone levels last fall. And just one week before the article was published, Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games from the sport due to a positive testosterone test.
Messages like These May Imply Drugs are Acceptable
The message that teenagers receive from the media and from many other teens is that drugs are safe. They are prescribed abundently enough, and they "must be safe" if people can get them from their doctor. If one watches even five minutes of television programming, it's very likely that there will be an ad for some prescription drug to deal with anything bothersome.
According to the latest Monitoring the Future study, more kids are now smoking marijuana than cigarettes. In fact, the last survey results completed among high school students in 2011 demonstrated that there is a strong relationship between the teens perceptions of risk related to use of drugs and their actual use of those drugs. When teens perceived pot to be less harmful, they also used it more often and vice-versa. The perceived risk of taking marijuana has most likely been lowered due to the number of states (now 17) who have legalized the substance for medical purposes. In the last election, two states - Washington and Colorado - made marijuana legal for adult recreational use. This sends a clear message to youth that adults do not think the drug is dangerous. So if it is safe for adults, some youths think it must also be safe for them.
Additional trends that have shown up in this study related to a long-term decline in overall alcohol use and a rebound in ecstasy use, primarily among older teens.
Narconon Offers Many Resources for Effective Drug Education
What is lacking is adequate and effective drug education. Students need to be learning the true effects of drugs at a younger age, so that by the time they are in eighth grade, they do not fall into the trap of drug use.
Narconon offers several resources to teach kids the truth about drugs so that they can make accurately informed decisions not to take them.
There are several drug education resources available through Narconon including:
- Free downloads of the Narconon High School Curriculum outline,
- Free copies of the drug education booklet, "Ten Things Your Friends May Not Know about Drugs," and
- A complete educator's kit, including a series of six sessions that raise awareness about the dangers of drug use.
To find out more about the full range of resources available from Narconon, visit www.Narconon.org.
- Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2012). Monitoring the Future: national results on adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2011. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.