There is no doubt kids understand and believe that drugs and alcohol are dangerous and that you should say no to both. Somehow, from the time they are really young – under 11 or so, as they change, their willingness to experiment with alcohol and other drugs comes alive.
The experimentation can begin earlier but the primary ages are 13-17. Then from the ages of 18 to 25, substance abuse occurs. This is due in part because of a period of freedom and lack of concrete obligations. As reported in www.dukechronicle.com.
If we have them set with concrete obligations – like athletics, politics, employment or social services do you think this would help?
The period between the ages of 18 to 29 is commonly referred to as emerging adulthood. Psychologists have determined that five things can distinguish and dictate the decisions a person makes about substance use. These include identity exploration, instability, self-focusing, feeling in-between and anticipating the possibilities that will determine the outcome of the rest of life.
Partly it is to have stories to tell friends about “extreme” behavior. From risky sports to drugs. Partly it is to fit in with their friends who are doing drugs.
Binge drinking peaks from the ages of 18 to 22, but this age group also shows a tendency to abuse drugs too. At that age, people tend to focus on developing themselves and experimenting with their identity before becoming responsible for others.
Despite their use and abuse of alcohol and drugs, especially prescription meds, it is crazy that an amazing 89% of this surveyed in a recent poll, believe they will get everything they want out of life. Is that youthful optimism or the drugs talking? Maybe it is low expectations.
I would like to see our public school system mandate drug education classes for all middle school and high school students. If we can keep them from experimenting with drugs and alcohol, maybe 89% will be able to get everything they want in life.