There are many major social issues in the world today. These social issues vary from teen depression and suicide to world-wide poverty. A significant social issue seen today is teenager drug abuse. Drug abuse has become a very big problem in most, if not all, societies. Every day in the United States, an average of two thousand teenagers able prescription drugs by using them without a doctor’s guidance. Prescription drugs aren’t the only concern, marijuana use by teenagers, specifically twelve graders, has also increased. Every day, 6.5 percent of twelve graders used marijuana up from 5.1 percent in 2007. Sociologists apply particular sociological perspectives to social issues. To better understand teenager drug abuse, functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interaction are going to be applied using a sociological perspective.
Functionalism, or functionalist perspective, had its origins with the works of Emile Durkheim. Functionalist theories see crime and deviance resulting from structural tensions and a lack of moral regulation within society. (pg. 172) Durkheim saw functionalism as inevitable and a necessary element of any modern society. In today’s age, people have more freedom than they had in traditional societies. This being said, there is more individuality leading to nonconformity. Durkheim said that deviance is necessary for society because it brings about social change. Drug abuse can be defined as being deviant.
Functionalism and teenage drug abuse go hand in hand. Teenage drug abuse has risen as modern societies have continued to develop. Durkheim said that crime and deviance was inevitable; teenage drug abuse is an inevitable activity. This activity causes social change such as new laws legalizing marijuana. This can also cause law enforcement to crack down on teenager drug abuse. Drug abuse can be a result of legalizing marijuana protests or depression in the teenager’s life. Teenager drug abuse can also be applied to conflict theory.
Conflict theory was brought about by and drawn on the ideas of Marxism. Conflict theory argues that deviance is deliberate and most often political. Conflict theorists argue that people often chose to be involved in deviant behavior to respond to inequalities in the capitalist system.
Conflict theory says that deviance is often deliberate. Teenage drug abuse is usually a deliberate activity. According to conflict theory, people often become involved in deviant behavior to respond to inequalities. A reason why teenagers abuse drug can be because they want to have a higher social position, or to get into the “norm”. Teenage drug abuse is quickly becoming a society norm. This new norm can be caused by political conflicts such as legalizing marijuana or other drugs. Teenagers could also think that they are gaining power by abusing drugs. They are showing their social group or the law enforcement that they are above them in terms of power.