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The Issue Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse And What Servants Of God Can Do To Help

1792 words - 8 pages

On August 4, 1986, United States first lady Nancy Reagan released a statement that said, “Drug and alcohol abuse touches all Americans in one form or another, but it is our children who are most vulnerable to its influence. As parents and teachers, we need to educate ourselves about the dangers of drugs so that we can then teach our children. And we must go further still by convincing them that drugs are morally wrong.” (US Dept of Ed 2013) Although written 28 years ago, her statement is still applicable today. According to the 2013 National Institute on Drug Abuse, illicit drug use among teenagers remains high. Using Nancy Reagan’s statement as a guide, we will explore the issue of drug and alcohol abuse and what we as servants of God must do to save our children from their destructive forces.
“Drug and alcohol abuse touches all Americans in one form or another, but it is our children who are most vulnerable to its influence.” According to national survey conducted in 2009, 72.5% of 12th grade students had tried at least on alcoholic drink. In 2013, 22.7% of 12th graders had used marijuana in the past month. This reflected an increase of 3.3% from 2008. These statistics alone confirm the idea that drug and alcohol abuse affects us all “in one form or another”. It also confirms the statement that our children are most vulnerable. But why? Several factors contribute to the abuse by our children. One factor has to do with family and home dynamics. Children who grow up in a household where drug and alcohol use is commonplace may consider this type of behavior natural and fail to see any real danger in such practices. (Black 2001) Family instability such as divorce, physical and emotional abuse, neglect and financial stress can often cause adolescents to turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to cope with the negative atmosphere at home. In addition, family structure can also lead to greater risks for abuse. Many single-parent homes or homes where both parents must work can sometimes leave children to fend for themselves and often assume the role of a parent for younger siblings. Maintaining these responsibilities while keeping up with school work can cause tremendous stress for an adolescent potentially leading to drug use as a means of escape. Although there are no guarantees that positive changes in family environment will prevent the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, there is conclusive evidence to show that preventive measures greatly reduce the likelihood of a young person falling into the traps of substance abuse.
A second factor could be culture. Different cultures throughout the world have different social and legal norms. For example, in Europe the accepted drinking age is as low as age 16 compared to age 21 in the United States. In Switzerland, heroin is a legally regulated drug used to treat addicts. Medical marijuana is legal in 21 states and several countries. These differences in what is acceptable to various...

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