Substance Abuse : A Public Health Problem Among American Children And Adolescents

1561 Words Nov 11th, 2014 7 Pages
Substance use and abuse is a definitely a public health problem among American children and adolescents. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, substance abuse is the excessive use of a drug or the use of a drug without medical justification. There are various different substances that adolescents are abusing. Alcohol is the most abused in adolescence with four in ten high school seniors consuming some type of alcoholic beverage in the past month and more than one in five engaging in binge drinking in the past two weeks. Tobacco is not much of an issue as it was in the past with the rates declining. Only one in ten adolescents have reported smoking in the past month. Illicit drug use is a growing problem in the US. By the twelfth grade, nearly half of all students have tried illicit drugs with marijuana being the most used but also include prescription drug use and aerosols (The Office of Adolescent Health, 2014)
The use and abuse of substances can have a big impact on children and adolescents. It comes with various negative health affects. The use of alcohol and other drugs can affect the development of adolescents’ brains in ways like decreased performance in cognitive tasks like memory, attention and spatial skills as well as compromised quality of white matter in the brain. Using alcohol and other substances that alter the brain function can result in an increased risk of serious drug use later on in life, failure in school, and poor judgments that can result in…
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