Cohesive Narrative on Robert Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Cohesive Narrative Using a Fictional or Real Character to Build Story

Nineteen-year-old Robert was a perfectly 'normal' child for the majority of his life; he anticipated zoo outings with his mother and he was a part of his school's swim team. With three older siblings, Robert was the youngest in the family, and was good friends with his high school classmates. He enjoyed French and art classes. He never faced any problems with alcohol or drugs; he neither drank nor smoked pot, or anything of that sort. But his girlfriend was a different case entirely. Addicted to heroin, Robert's girlfriend tempted him to have a go at it; unfortunately however, Robert didn't resist. She injected him with heroin in 2009. Robert later began to find himself craving the drug, and before long, he became a quasi-addict as well, consuming the drug once every two weeks.

It is said that 'peer pressure' plays a persuasive role in initiating teens into drug use. Whether to fit into their peer group, to appear 'cool' or simply to assuage their curiosity, teenagers are more prone to drug-use if they find their friends using or showing favorable attitudes to drug-use. Teenagers whose friends consume marijuana and other drugs are themselves at nearly three times the probability of consuming marijuana on a regular basis, as discovered in research conducted by experts from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Cardiff University (Sack, 2012). Robert progressively became more frequent in his drug-use, beginning to consume it on a daily basis.

His parents were both active addicts anyway, so his mother egged him on. Acting like a teen herself, Robert's mom was more of a pal than a responsible parent, giving him his first drug pills. Back then, Robert was residing with her, and he began to consistently use drugs - downing pills, drinking excessively, and smoking weed (marijuana). His main obsession was pills - Vicodin, Percocet, and many other downers. He began struggling with depression, which when added to his parents' verbal and physical abuse made him increasingly unhappy. Thus, Robert began abusing himself - using excessive drugs, being anorexic and bulimia, 'cutting', and having a string of girls passing through his life.

Robert began acting like the 'typical' teen drug - addict, sneaking out at nights and stealing, hoping for attention from his parents. This was all, however, pointless, since his mother was always high and never noticed. Robert informed his parents of his substance abuse, and tried his best to quit. He could not, however, and by March 2009, he went back to daily drug-consumption. Together with one of his acquaintances, Robert brought needles and drugs, planning a three-day long 'senior retreat'. However, the school staff found out their plans; Robert's parents were summoned to the school and asked to take him away. Robert found himself expelled from high school, only two months short of graduating.

Risks and protective factors associated with drug abuse

Factors for risk and protection can influence teenagers during different life stages. At every stage, risks arise that, through timely prevention and/or intervention, could be altered. Risks in early childhood, such as aggressive actions, can be controlled or prevented through intervention by family, educational institutions and community. These interventions focus on aiding teenagers to develop appropriate positive behaviors. Negative behaviors, if not properly addressed (and addressed in a timely manner), can result in greater risks. These greater risks include social difficulties and academic failure, both of which put children at a further risk for drug abuse in later life.

There are several ways in which risk factors contribute to drug abuse. It is known that the more often children are exposed to risks; the more likely they are to resort to substance abuse. Certain risk factors are stronger than others in particular life stages, such as peer pressure in the teenage stage. Similarly, certain protective factors, such as a strong bond between parent and child, can greatly enhance risk reduction during a child's early years. A crucial preventive goal is to change the balance between protective and risk factors, such that the former outweighs the latter.

One among the many risk factors most consistently responsible for teenage drinking is perceived parental approval (Donovan, 2004). The reported perception of maternal care was significantly lower among those who consumed alcohol and multiple drugs. Association with peers, who use drugs, as well as rejection by peers, possibly creates problem behavior and shapes norms and attitudes related to substance abuse. Being exposed to problem behavior from peer groups is linked to increased consumption of alcohol and drugs. As well, teenagers who testify to low levels of parental monitoring significantly prove to be more liable to substance use. Close parental monitoring and positive parenting styles are established factors that protect against teenage alcohol and drug use (Shillington et al., 2005; Stewart, 2002).

Drug abuse risks greatly increase during stages of transition. For adults, divorces or job losses can potentially cause drug abuse; likewise, for teenagers, risky phases include moving or changing of schools. In the early adolescence stage, when children move from elementary to middle school, new and challenging academic and social situations are to be met. Often, at this stage, children are, for the very first time, exposed to cigarettes, alcohol and other 'abusable' substances. On entering high school, teenagers may find greater access to drugs, substance use by senior students, and social activities wherein drug-use is seen. Concurrently, several behaviors that are normal aspects of development, like the yearning to take more risks and try out new things, may increase the tendency of teenagers to try out drugs. Some teenagers may yield to the encouragement provided by their drug-using peers to share in the experience, while others may (wrongly) perceive that drug-use (such as steroids) will enhance their athletic performance or their appearance, or that substances like MDMA ("Molly" or ecstasy) or alcohol will alleviate anxiety when it comes to social situations. A large number of teenagers abuse prescription ADHD drugs such as Adderall to assist them with losing weight or studying (NIDA, 2014).

After expulsion from school, to keep him occupied, Robert was hired into his father's business; in the meantime, his parents searched for ways by which they could help him out of his condition. In their search, they came across Hope Academy, which is a high-school for recovery at Fairbanks. Robert once again quit drug-use, and was optimistic about being enrolled at Hope Academy, immediately 'clicking' with the school staff. However, the expectations here were different than what Robert was accustomed to. Focus was not just on his academic performance (i.e. grades), but on his sobriety as well. Robert continued struggling with drug-addiction and relapsed in the year. The academy's staff convinced Robert to taking a tour of the Fairbanks Treatment Center, and he stayed there, in the adolescent section, for the following six weeks.

Prevention programs

Robert participated in two targeted prevention programs while at the Hope Academy School, Project TND and Project SUCCESS. Project SUCCESS (Schools Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Students) is a targeted interference, designed specifically for youth with high-risk factors. This program employs specialized experts in schools to provide a series of early intervention and substance abuse prevention services. The program claims both prevention and reduction of substance abuse in multi-problem, high-risk high-school children. The program operates by forging partnerships between prevention agencies and alternative schools. Trained individuals, specialized in counseling substance-use teenagers are employed in alternative schools in the form of Project SUCCESS Counselors (PSCs). These individuals offer early intervention and prevention services to reduce risk factors, while at the same time, boost protective factors concerning substance abuse. The program works effectively for both adolescent boys and girls, across 9th to 12th graders, and students belonging to different ethnic groups (National Crime Prevention Centre, 2009).

Another interactive targeted intervention program is the Project Toward No Drug Abuse (TND), aimed at helping youths in high schools (14- to 19-years-old) to resist substance abuse. A school-based technique, this program involves a dozen lessons of duration 40-50 minutes (including social skills education, decision-making elements, and motivational activities) delivered by means of role-playing activities, games, group discussions, student worksheets, and videos over a period of four weeks. Originally intended to assist high-risk adolescents in alternative schools, this program was made up of 9 lessons, developed by means of a motivation-skills -- decision-making model. Topics such as active listening and efficient communicative skills, coping skills, self-control, tobacco-stopping techniques, and stress management are addressed in order to counter drug-use risk factors for older teenagers. The program has been carefully evaluated, with results proving that significant alcohol-and-drug abuse reductions were successfully achieved by TND. Carried out on typical high-school youth, this study also depicted a significant decrease in alcohol and hard drug use in intervention students, during follow-up after a year (National Crime Prevention Centre, 2009).

In the course of his stay at Hope Academy and Fairbanks, Robert went through multiple relapses, with the worst taking place over Christmas…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Adventist Healthcare. (n.d.). Partial Hospital Program. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://www.adventisthealthcare.com/locations/adventist-behavioral-health/services/partial-hospital-program/

Donovan, J.E. (2004). Adolescent Alcohol Initiation: A Review of Psychosocial Risk Factors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 35(6), 529.

Louise. (n.d.). Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://recovergateway.org/drug-treatment/substance-abuse-treatment/outpatient/

National Crime Prevention Centre (2009). School-based Drug Abuse Prevention: Promising and Successful Programs

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