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Illicit Drugs: Bringin Down Our Youth.

910 words - 4 pages

Illicit Drugs: Bringing Down Our YouthIllegal drug use among adolescents has steadily increased over the last few decades. The United States has only four percent of the world's population, yet we consume sixty-five percent of the hard drugs (USA Today, 2002). Every year more young people are exposed to and are using drugs. These drugs seemed like harmless fun in the 60's and 70's, but thanks to new research and technology we now have scientific proof of the short and long-term side effects of these drugs. The drugs I will briefly touch on are marijuana, one of the easiest drugs to obtain, ecstasy, a drug growing in popularity among high school students, and the non-medical use of prescription drugs.Marijuana, known by it's street names of "weed", "reefer", and "Mary Jane" is the most widely used drug and the number one cash crop in the United States (USA Today, 2002). The youth of today should be more educated as to the side effects of smoking, but it is not stopping the sharp increase of teens smoking today. The medical side effects are numerous and include, but are not limited to: (a) Premature cancer (b) Physical and Psychological addiction (c) Mental disorders, here is our proof that it is not a harmless "high" Advocates say Marijuana should be taken off the banned substance list and made legal, but there are over 10,000 scientific studies that prove it is a harmful and addictive substance (DEA Report, 2003). Marijuana has been referred to as the "gateway drug", meaning it opens the user up to harder drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, and LSD. We have no scientific evidence to support this theory, but statistics say 12 to 17 year olds who smoke marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine. Numbers do speak louder than words.Ecstasy, known by its street names as "Adam", "Bean", "X", "XTC", and "Lover's Speed" is gaining tremendous popularity in our high schools, and is becoming a life or death threat to our young people. Originating in the late 1980's, ecstasy did not gain popularity until the mid 1990's. The "rave" scene helped to move ecstasy from "the margins to the mainstream of teenage culture" (Sigel, 2002, p.47). Ecstasy is cheap to produce and most is imported from Europe where it is used for medicinal purposes. One problem is that most users do not know what the pill is actually mixed with. Some pills contain no ecstasy, but rather poisonous chemicals they think is drug. Ecstasy is readily available to youth of all ages. 50% of high school students say they can easily obtain ecstasy, and 61% of seniors say the drug is very easy to obtain (Sigel, 2002, p. 53). There are also numerous side effects of ecstasy, many of which often prove to be fatal. Teeth clenching and extreme sweating are two common side effects. Often you will see users...

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