Drugs and Alcohol in the Adolescent Years
The years of adolescence are a very important time for both young girls and boys to make decisions that will essentially have the power to shape their lives. In life there are conflicts to be overcome from both the “evil” social world and also a young girl’s vulnerability can cause problems. Both have a huge impact on decisions she will make. Drugs and alcohol are both issues that almost any young person in today’s society is going to come into contact with. Then there is the issues of making decisions about how these substances will affect their life. It is interesting to study and compare the drug use among different ethnic groups as well as how the culture that one is brought up in has a big part in how they will respond to the same issues. This leads right into my paper topic which is girls growing up on the border. This is a completely different lifestyle as well as upbringing for these girls that are living so close to the Mexico.
Drugs and alcohol are everywhere and are most likely intertwined into each of our lives in some way. For this reason it is apparent how likely it is that adolescents are exposed to these substances very often if not daily. Recent surveys that have been done, in particular the Ontario Health Survey, 1990, shows that initiation to drugs begins as early as 12 years old in an adolescents life. Twelve years old is considered the risk period for alcohol and tobacco and this phase does not end until about age 22. A sample of 4,364 people from this same study was on people from the ages of 15 to 35. Results showed that the major risk age for initiating with either alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco is over by age 22. Once again it is shown that during the adolescent years is when we see the experimenting being done and decisions of whether or not to associate with drugs are made. Even more interesting is a sample taken that showed that those adolescents who start drugs and alcohol at a younger age like 15, are more likely to keep up the habit as opposed to someone who starts using at an older age. (Dewitt, Offord, pg. 7.) Drug and alcohol use also increases when young people leave for college. (Dewitt, Offord, pg.7.) All these results show how imperative it is for a young adolescent to have parental guidance and love during their life.
Now that I have established the patterns of drug use occurring in young boys and girls it is important to figure out why this is the way that it is. Many people have pondered and studied the concept of ethnicity and it’s affects on drug use in young children. Focusing on border life on the American-Mexico border and mainly alcohol consumption among Mexican American woman, the results are very interesting. A recent survey was done on the alcohol consumption of white women and Mexican women along the U.S. Mexican border. It was found that very little data exists on alcohol consumption among women in...