Sociology Essay Sample: Why Teenagers Use Drugs?

Paper Type: 
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1438 Words
Date:  2021-03-23

The teenage years are considered the most difficult of an individuals life. These years are marked by vulnerabilities as teenagers try navigating through the perilous bridge or transition between childhood and adulthood. One of the most challenging decisions any teenager faces is whether to start partaking drugs or alcohol. On the other hand, this period is characterized by much self-exploration. Much of the teenagers are quick to enjoy new experiences and things which includes drugs (Friedman 1448). However, due to the innocence and naivety associated with this age, many of the adolescents are not well-prepared to grapple with the consequences that come with such habits. This paper will thus be keen on pinpointing the reasons that motivate teenagers to use drugs.

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The first reason that motivates of the young individuals to experiment with drugs is curiosity. As aforementioned, the puberty period is characterized by the desire for self-awareness. This coupled by the newly acquired autonomy that many young people enjoy as compared to when they were children. As teenagers, they are less supervised and expected to act rationally in the face of the new challenges in their immediate environment such as drugs, alcohol et cetera. The curiosity if unchecked can lead to habitual use of drugs which turn becomes a horrible addiction that can impair the positive progression of a teenager (Botvin 884). Many teenagers further are in self-discovery stage where they want to test a number of new experiences in order to understand or acknowledge their personal limits as individuals.

Many teenagers emulate older family members. This means if their elder siblings or parents abuse drugs, they become more inclined to do so too. Many teenagers use their elders as templates or rather models to emulate. It is much understandable that with the early exposure to drug abuse, teenagers may pick up the habit and eventually turn to drug addicts. In this case scenario, the family members greatly share in the blame (Friedman 1448). However, studies have shown that drug abuse by a family member may work to the effect of creating a strong aversion towards drugs on the part of teenager. A teenager may hate drugs for destroying the lives of those he or she cares about.

Another reason why teenagers abuse drugs is boredom. Many teenagers have too much energy and free time which if not put to good use may create room for vices. It is prudent to note that this factor covers only the teenagers that cant put up with being alone and have trouble keeping themselves engaged or desire excitement (Botvin 885). These are the prime candidates for drug abuse. Not only do the drugs keep them occupied, but the substances aid in filling a void internally. Additionally, the drugs provide a platform to engage with other individuals that are in the same situation.

Rebellion is the next factor that encourages drug abuse among the young people. Personalities come into play when drug abuse is involved as it influences the types of drugs that are abused. In many instances, alcohol is chosen by youths as it frees them to act out aggressively. Marijuana, on the other hand, is perceived as an avoidance drug that reduces aggression. Cigarette smoking is perceived as an external form of rebellion which allows a youth flaunt his or her rebellion or independence. In scenarios where the youth feel burdened by overprotective or strict families, they may use drugs as they know this will cause anger or embarrassment.

The next motivation for teenage drug use is the popular media. Much of the drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are advertised in a very alluring manner which may create an impression that partaking in such drugs is cool or hip (Compton and Volkow 6). Many commercials that run on TV are often linked to sexual, sporting and social success. With the vulnerabilities associated with the teen age, these advertisements condition the youth to focus on the successful illusions rather than the negative implications that come with drug abuse. It is prudent to note that much of these advertisements are run on times when the teenagers are likely to be watching television. Many movies, dramas, and programs run on the media use alcohol or other drugs as part of social interaction. In other cases, drugs are depicted as okay by characters that may drink or consume them with the intent of calming their nerves or containing awkward situations. It is more often than not that in many shows run on TV the main characters consume alcohol regularly (Friedman 1450). It is prudent to note, that many internet sites that are youth oriented such as free downloads, games, music and video sites incorporate sale of drugs such as alcohol. Additionally, alcohol companies sponsor many events such as sports which are televised on national broadcast making much of their products visible to the impressionable youth. Magazines use colorful imagery to advertise socially acceptable drugs such as alcohol and tobacco which most appeal to the youth. A study shows that many forty seven percent of the youth believe that TV shows and movies make drugs seem okay to use. The study further pinpoints that many 13-17 year olds that have watched an R-rated movie or film on a monthly basis are six times likely to smoke marijuana, seven times likely to smoke cigarettes, and five times more likely to drink alcohol, compared to those who had not watched the same R-rated films (Compton and Volkow 7).

Peer pressure also encourages the youth to abuse drugs. Many teenagers like to be accepted within their social circles and hence will try to fit in by using drugs just because their friends are using them. These insecurities make it very hard for many young people to turn down offers extended by their age mates. In most cases, saying no may have precarious implications such as being bullying, humiliation, teasing and rejection. It is every teenagers desire to feel accepted or part of the group. Another fundamental fact is that peers tend to misinform each other on a number of issues (Friedman 1449). Peer pressure trivializes a number of things such as sex and drugs. The drugs are seen part and parcel of the teenage thrills. They also become reliable in scenarios where a teenager lacks strong mentors and elders that he or she can look up to for guidance on a number of issues including drug abuse.

Many teenagers lack confidence and may use alcohol or drugs to counter their fears. Many report that they are more confident after abusing drugs doing things they could not do when sober. This is one of the major appeals of drugs even for teenagers that are moderately self-confident. The drugs loosen ones inhibitions and counter social anxiety. Drugs are also seen as an avenue that many youthful individual can use to escape their unhappy lives. Use of drugs produces endorphins that are feel good hormones. It is these hormones that create blissful and energetic feelings in one. It is important to note that the transition period from childhood to adulthood may be rough from some teenagers even leading to depression. Ultimately, this means that an avenue to lighten these troubles may easily be embraced by a young person.


In conclusion, teen age is a very tumultuous period in ones life marked by a number of emotional and physical changes. How an individual handles himself or herself during this time impacts the rest of his or her life positively or negatively. Without proper mentorship and guidance, many youthful individuals may fall in the pitfalls associated with this age. Most of the teenagers do not escalate experimentation with drugs to a substance disorder or abuse. However, even the slightest experimentation is a problem in itself. It may present a window for other unsafe vices such as drunk driving, unsafe sex or other dangerous, unsupervised activities. A repeated pattern or drug addiction may precipitate other serious health and social risks. This include school failure, impaired memory, strained relationships, mental health problems, an increased risk of contracting infectious disease and the risk of death caused by an overdose. It is thus the prerogative of various stakeholders ranging from the schools, parents, religious leaders, government and the youth to take a proactive role in combatting teenage drug abuse.

Works Cited

Botvin, Gilbert J. "Preventing drug abuse in schools." Addictive Behaviors, vol. 25, no. 6, 2000, pp. 887-897.

Compton, Wilson M., and Nora D. Volkow. "Abuse of prescription drugs and the risk of addiction." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol. 83, 2006, pp. S4-S7.

Friedman, Richard A. "The Changing Face of Teenage Drug Abuse The Trend toward Prescription Drugs." New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 354, no. 14, 2006, pp. 1448-1450.

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