Madeline / C. Massachusetts

Juvenile Drug Abuse

In the US drug abuse is a major problem among juveniles. Drug abuse effects unemployment, crime, and the amount of deaths in the US negatively. We need create a program to help improve this situation before it's too late.

Dear Next President:

Drug abuse is overwhelming the juvenile population. A law that would prevent juveniles from being arrested for finding help may greatly improve this situation. It would encourage them to seek assistance for their drug abuse. A program that effectively prevents juveniles from coming in contact with drugs would also help. We need to stop this epidemic before it ruins the next generation.

There is already a program called DARE, but it is ineffective and may be making this problem worse. As David J. Hanson says in the article “DARE Doesn’t Work”, “Scientific evaluation studies have consistently shown that DARE is ineffective in reducing the use of alcohol and drugs and is sometimes even counterproductive—worse than doing nothing.” This program was a great idea that may have just gotten off it’s original path. If we had a program informing juveniles of the horrible effects drugs have, the likelyhood of them using the drugs would greatly decrease. “Among youths who reported having had such conversations with their parents, rates of current alcohol and cigarette use and past-year and lifetime use of alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs were lower than among youths who did not report such conversations.”, says Pamela Willwerth Aue in “Teen Drug Abuse Is Decreasing”. People who use drugs usually are just misinformed, bored juveniles. We need to reach out to these children and inform them of the effects drugs have, before the drug traffickers do.

Drugs impair juveniles’ abilities to think rationally and fight off dangerous infections because their brains are still developing. People take drugs to decrease their stress and anxiety, and in, “Overview - Juvenile Drug abuse” they said that a“study reported that teens under high amounts of stress are twice as likely as others to smoke, abuse alcohol, and abuse drugs. Likewise, teens who are bored are 50 percent likelier to engage in these behaviors”. Even after taking drugs people’s anxiety often increases causing them to either seek more drugs or worse. In, “Substance Abuse Is a Factor in Many Suicides” David Lester says that “the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs is frequently a contributing factor to suicides. Alcohol and drugs...ease fears of death...and are frequently used as a means of committing suicide.” Children’s brains are still developing until they are at least twenty years old. When someone within this age group intakes drugs, it hampers their brain development, and makes them more vulnerable to risky behavior and sickness, both of which can lead to death. It is unimaginable as to why this topic hasn’t been given more attention before, as it is slowly eroding away our future.

Not only are drugs changing the future, but they also have a great effect on the present. The federal government focuses a lot on unemployment and crime. However, both of these problems are partly caused by drugs abuse. People who are addicted to drugs are far less likely to be hired by employers. And as The University of Applied Sciences say in, “Unemployment and substance use: a review of the literature (1990-2010).” “Problematic substance use increases the likelihood of unemployment and decreases the chance of finding and holding down a job.” Someone may also become addicted to a drug while having a job, then lose it because their employer finds out that they are using drugs. Abusers who don’t have an income, often become homeless because they are spending all their money on drugs. While focusing on unemployment, the federal government also focuses a lot on crime rates. Drug abuse has a large effect on crime rates as it is explained in, “Overview - Juvenile Drug Abuse”, “heavy drug users are more likely than nonusers to commit other crimes, including burglary and serious assaults.” Drugs tamper with the decision making part of the brain, increasing likelihood of risky behaviors, especially in teens. Areas with many ways to access drugs, usually experience very high crime rates. “In Los Angeles, police report that areas surrounding cannabis clubs have experienced a 200 percent increase in robberies, a 52.2 percent increase in burglaries, a 57.1 percent increase in aggravated assault, and a 130.8 percent increase in burglaries from automobiles.” says Charles D. Stimson in “Marijuana Trafficking and Use Are Linked with Crime” People who take drugs often do so, because they are under large amounts of stress or anger. This combined with the drugs’ effects, can result in a very violent and rash person. If we were to find and help these people overcome their problems, then we would see a dramatic decrease in crime in metropolises and unemployment.

Some people think that drugs such as marijuana should be legalized. In the article “The Marijuana Plant Should Not be Legalized For Medical Use”, Noel Merino says that “Marijuana does, however, contain at least one compound, and possibly more, that are supported by science as being medicinal.” Many say that marijuana is medicinal, so it should be allowed to be used. This would be unrealistic because while it is possible that marijuana and other addictive drugs would be a good medicine, testing this theory is not worth the extreme side effects and complicated purification process. As Noel Merino says in the same article, “There is no way to standardize or purify the compounds in marijuana. In fact, no one knows what the exact THC-CBD ratio is, and the labs that purport to ‘test’ these products are not FDA or DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] registered.” Marijuana and other addictive drugs should not be legalized for medical use unless they have been approved and tested by the FDA or the DEA before being publicized.

The US, in order to remedy this problem, must spend more time and money to stop juvenile drug abuse. A program in schools informing kids of the effects of drugs would help prevent juvenile contact with drugs. Also, a law illegalizing arrests on people trying to find help for their problems would allow many to more easily find help. We think that everyone in the USA wants a good future for their kids, and we want you to work towards that. The US is a great country, but everything in it has flaws. We have a very big future ahead of us, so please make it something worth being in.

With gratitude and respect,

Charlotte and Madeline 

Glenbrook Middle School

Grade 7 English Language Arts

The seventh grade students have researched, discussed, and thought carefully about a variety of issues that challenge our nation and the next president. Here are their thoughts about what the next president must do to improve our country and all of our lives.

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