Health Risk Behaviors Drug and Alcohol Use dissertation

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Health Risk Behaviors

Drug and Alcohol use

Drug and Alcohol Use among Teenagers and Adults between the ages of 18-25

The Issue of Drug Abuse in Youth

Parental Role and Drug Abuse in Adolescents

Adolescent age 7

Parental denial

Suggestion to reduce Drug Abuse in Teenagers

Drug and Alcohol Use among Teenagers and Adults between the ages of 18-25

Although there have been many significant achievements in drug abuse prevention over the past few decades, drug use among youth continues to be a leading health risk. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use have had an extraordinary impact on morbidity and mortality of youth. The cost of negative outcomes attributed to adolescent drug use affects nearly half a million individuals annually (Peterson, 2010). Economic costs of the use of alcohol tobacco and other drugs by youth were estimated to reach $484 billion in 2004 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2004). In the current essay the author will discuss problem of drug and alcohol use among teenagers and youth of 18-25 years old. The author has reviewed twelve research studies on the drug and alcohol use among the teenagers and adults between the ages of 18-25. After reviewing these researches the author has described the deficiencies of reviewed literatures and need for further study. The main research studies included in this review show the provenance of the drug and alcohol use among youth; the causes and effects of the substance and alcohol use; the role of parents and other social connections and help seeking behaviors have been focused as a factor to reduce drug abuse among teenagers.

Focus on prevalence of Drug Abuse among Youth

Peterson (2010) conducted a research on qualitative comparison of parent and adolescent views regarding substance use and found that substance abuse and dependence are clearly among the most severe problems in our society faced by individuals, their families, communities, and social support systems. The use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs is common among American youth and may be perceived as a rite of passage to adulthood. Substance use by teenagers is a prevalent health concern in the United States. Adolescents initiating early use of substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs have a greater risk for later substance abuse (Peterson, 2010).

Same has been found from the research report of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010, December) with the title; "Healthy Youth! Coordinated School health." The report shows that youth continues to initiate substance use at younger ages and by the ninth grade 38% of youth have tried cigarettes and nearly 20% have become a regular smoker. Nationwide,24% of students (9-12 grade) have reported having five or more drinks in a row (binge drinking) and 46% of twelfth grade student report having used marijuana in their lifetime (CDC, 2010).

O'Connor & Stewart reported that in the United States, over 9% of individuals aged over 12 years old meet the DSM-IV criteria for substance abuse or dependence in the last year. Additionally, it has been reported by O'Connor and Stewart that 23% of the adult U.S. population engages in heavy episodic binge drinking at least once a month.

Myrick and Wright (2008) also conducted a research study on the prevalence of drug abuse and their effect and claimed that 100,000 Americans deaths annually have been reported because of diseases related to alcohol or injury, and that at least 15% of health care expenditures amounting to more than $185 billion a year in medical costs, loss of property and life, and reduced productivity can be traced to alcohol dependence.

Furthermore, Ibanez, Ruiperez, Villa, Moya, and Ortet (2008) reported that high alcohol and drug consumption is related to many diseases, such as hypertension and stroke, liver disease, and many different types of cancer.

Focus on social connections and their association with drug use among teenagers and adults

The authors additionally showed that early alcohol use in adolescence is often associated with antisocial behavior, use of other drugs, poor school performance, violence, engaging in unprotected sex, and drunk driving (about half the drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 who die in car crashes have been found to have measurable alcohol in their blood).

Kalaydjian reported that alcohol- and drug abuse and dependence are associated with "male sex, young age, non-Hispanic White race/ethnicity, low education, student status, and never having been married" (Kalaydjian, 2009)

Despite the high prevalence rates of alcohol and substance abuse and dependence, engagement in help-seeking behaviors by substance users is not the norm. Caldeira (2009) reported that initiation of help seeking by substance users is only 8.8%.

Grella, Karno, Warda, Moore, and Niv (2009) additionally reported that, of those who have been diagnosed with substance dependence over the last year, 77% perceived no need for help or received no help during that period. The authors claimed that factors that increased help-seeking behavior include older age, longer time since the onset of dependence, and co-occurring mood disorder.

Alternately, Freyer reported that persons who intend to get help are 8.7 times more possibly will use resources as compared to those who do not intend to seek help. It seems that, according to the authors, intention is the key factor behind using alcohol and substance abuse and dependence help.

Focus on exploring Causes of Drug Abuse

Macaulay, Griffin, Gronewold, Willians, & Botivin, (2005) conducted a study on parenting practices and adolescent drug-related knowledge, attitudes, norms and behavior. The study reveals that in many ways there seems to be a "disconnect" between teens and adults in our society. Family meals and face-to-face communication have been replaced by fast food and technology Teenagers are spending more time with friends, afterschool activities, computers, video games, and other technologies. Parents are also busier today in our society which puts such an emphasis on working harder and longer hours. With all this time spent apart parent-child communication has dwindled. Parents spend less time monitoring and use less effective methods of monitoring (Macaulay, Griffin, Gronewold, Willians, & Botivin, 2005).

O'Donnell (2008) conducted research on parenting practices and their connection to their daughter' alcohol and sexual behaviors and found that lack of time spent together combined with lack of communication has a major impact on parents ability to monitor their child and remain aware of possible risk behaviors their child may be involved in. Parents who more closely monitor their child, rest rules, and communicate disapproval have children who are less likely to engage in alcohol use or disapproved conduct. (O'Donnell., 2008).

Macaulay, (2005) also found that lack of monitoring or poor parental monitoring has association with higher rates of substance use, particularly in terms of early initiation of use. Poor parent-child communication along with poor parental knowledge is frequently associated with greater youth substance use. Infrequent communication between parent and child and fewer hours of time spent together have been found to be associated with higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use onset in middle school students (Macaulay, 2005).

Padilla-Walker, Nelson, Madsen, & McNamara Barry, (2008) concluded that substance use tends to decrease with an increase in parental knowledge, indicating that adolescents may perceive parental knowledge as a sign of involvement and a positive parent-child relationship.

Focus on Parental Role and its association with drug abuse in adolescents

Many researchers have been conducted on parents' role and its link to substance use among adolescents. Frequently underestimate their children's involvement in health risk behaviors, especially as related to substance use. O'Donnell and colleagues (2008) conducted a survey with more than 700 sixth-grade girls and their parents during a two-year period. The sample was recruited from seven public schools in New York City serving economically disadvantaged African-American and Latino families. Over 700 girls and their parents participated in the study. About 22% of girls reported using alcohol one or more times and approximately eight percent reported being drunk once or more. However, less than one percent of parents thought their child had used alcohol. Similarly, adolescent reports were dramatically higher than parent perceptions of their children staying out late, attending unsupervised parties, going to places where alcohol was served, and drinking while going out. The differences between reality and parent perception consistently points to parent underestimation of substance use. (O'Donnell et al., 2008)

They also found that parents are much more likely to underestimate than overestimate their child's substance use. In this study, almost 42% of parents underestimated their child's use of tobacco while less than three percent overestimated. Similarly for alcohol use, 37% of parent's underestimated their child's use while only three percent overestimated their child's use. When they analyzed only students who report alcohol use underestimation rises to 96% with no overestimates.

Adolescents' Age

Parents of younger teens seem to be much more unaware of their adolescent's substance use and activities surrounding use. Parents of preteens underestimate their child's substance use more than parents of older teenagers. Masche (2010) found parental knowledge of adolescents' spare time activities was found to decrease by one tenth of a standard deviation each year. Masche…[continue]

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