Substance Use in Adolescents

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The teen years can lead to some memorable years, some positive experiences and some negative. Driving, dating, freedom, and independence are all things that are typically looked forward to in the adolescent years. However, new experiences can come with steep consequences. Substance abuse and addiction dung the adolescent stage poses serious threats to healthy neurological development of the brain. With alarming percentages of adolescents in the United States admitting to substance use in recent years, multiple types of damage has been done to the still developing brains of this population, but active involvement in religion and spirituality is key to the prevention of substance use in this age range.
Every day the United States has seen a massive amount of substance use amongst the nation’s adolescent population. The National Institute for Drug Abuse (2012) defined substance abuse as “any illicit use of a substance as drug abuse; this includes the nonmedical use of prescription drugs” and substance addiction as “a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences as well as neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain” (n.p.). Doweiko (2012) stated that when discussing substance use amongst teens, those terms are actually often used interchangeably. He went on to include the figures from the 2009 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which detailed the rates of adolescent abuse and addiction. The agency reported 9.3% of teens surveyed are currently abusing some type of substance (SAMHSA, 2009 as cited in Doweiko, 2012). Breaking down the statistics further, Johnson, O’Mally, Bachman, and Schulenberg (2009) stated that a...

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