The problem of drug and alcohol abuse among youngsters has become a major social and health concern that merits closer attention and demands significant thrust and efforts by parents, teachers and government. This problem of drug and alcohol abuse takes especially severe implications in case of youngsters due to their greater vulnerability in becoming confirmed addicts of these substances ( Langfield, MacIntyre and Turner, 2006).
Statistics from Office of national drug control policy point out that over half the students in USA over half the students in USA try out at least one illegal drug before passing out high school, and around two third of them have at least drunk once (Fact Sheets). It’s also reported that use of illicit drugs and alcohol among American youngsters is highest in the industrialized world (Haier, Maddi and Wadhwa, 1996).
Three years before, taking cognizance of the disturbing trends rise in drug abuse among youngsters where more than 50 percent 12th graders use at least one banned drug before graduation, the President set a goal of reducing drug abuse by 10 years in the next two years. Although it was a difficult goal that required wide scale policy measures and containment methods, the determination and commitment achieved this enormously challenging goal in the set time frame. This successful achievement of a difficult target has further inspired the government to set a new target of reducing drug abuse in youngsters by 25 percent in next 5 years.
National Priorities President’s national drug control strategy is founded on following three national priorities for reduction and containment of drugs among youngsters 1. Stopping the drug use before it starts: A large number of teenagers are initiated to drug by their peers or friends, public trends, and general acceptance of limited drug use that is considered social and normal. Behind all these false impression there is hand of organized drug mafia whose business depends on increasing the size of their spread by popularizing the concept that drug use is common and therefore ok.
It is one of the first responsibility of the mission to prevent youngsters from being initiated into the drug use. The second important step in this effort is to identify the youngsters who have already used/abused drug once and ensuring that they are not led to further abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. In this regard, federal student drug testing program is a major step that aims to make students aware of their own drug abusing habits without exposing them or embarrassing them before their friends and family members.
The mission also aims to spread awareness against performance enhancement drugs in sports academies and sporting teams, as these drugs encourage students to take illegal drugs at later stages. This priority also focuses on making younger people aware of better health options, educating them on full range of dangers associated with drug abuse, the permanent debilitating effect of drugs like cocaine, marijuana and heroine on their family relation, health, career and entire life.
Youngsters are indeed under great pressure to use drugs due to pressure from their immediate social interaction, and because drug use is seen as sign of growing up. However, reports and surveys have strongly indicated that once youngsters understand the dangers associated with drug abuse, there is a significant reduction in drug abuse among them. Therefore this part of program also aims at launching a comprehensive media program to educate them on all the aspects of drug abuse.
The program also aims to include help from families, schools, sports coaches, teachers and community leaders in to reinforce the message that drug use is extremely harmful, dangerous and leads to irreparable loss. 2. Providing treatment to drug users: The President has allotted $200 millions for providing treatment to drug treatment programs noting the importance of treating youngsters for persistent drug and alcohol abuse. More than 19. 7 million youngsters use drugs at least once every month, and there were 26000 thousands deaths in 2002 alone from causes directly related to drugs.
Many youngsters turn to drug abuse feeling they are invincible before drugs and thereby get entrapped in the vicious circles of alcohol and drug addiction. Generally youngsters are initiated in the drug cycle with a relatively less dangerous but highly addictive drug marijuana. Later on they are motivated to use more dangerous and potentially life threatening drugs such as crack, cocaine, and heroine, making them completely depended on drug.
Heavy drug abuse leads to permanent damage to brain tissues, cause lasting depression, irritability, mood swings, inability to take decisions, reduction in cognitive and intellectual abilities, isolation from family and friends, increase in suicidal tendency, coma and even death. In response the policy aims to use public health infrastructure to intervene in the initial period of drug abuse. The policy further aims to use medical institutions as a screening procedure and providing treatment to every one, whether they can afford institutional treatment or not.
The program also includes patients risk assessment by physicians to estimate their potential of drug abuse. 3. Attacking economic basis of drug trade: The final priority in President’s program is to attack the well structured and deeply rooted drug trade by targetting foundation of drug business, such as agricultural production of many drugs, their transportation and distribution network, its organizational and hierarchical system and its transportation system. This strategy has brought impressive results with certain elimination of eight major drug cartels.
The federal and state law enforcement agencies have targeted the cocaine trade and made significant progress in bringing down the size of organized drug market. In this regard United Sates is committed to closely interact with international community to share information and collectively act against the drug trade. Conclusion The success of first phase of President National Policy, where drug abuse among youngsters has been brought down by 10 percent over a period of two years has shown the potential strength of this approach.
This policy is a significant step in the long campaign in creating a drug free, healthy and positive America which is only possible when the younger generation and adolescents are completely aware of the pernicious effects of drugs abuse, the dangers involved with them, and the need to assist each other in thwarting any attempt by organized drug cartel to influence them or their family member, siblings, friends and peer on drug abuse. The policy also aims to provide complete medical checkup and wherever necessary treatment facilities to young drug addicts.
Further the policy aims to expose the secret web of drug business, and eliminate the threat of organized drug syndicates for lasting future security. Reference Haier, R. J. Maddi. S. R. Wadhwa. S. R. 1996. Relationship of Hardiness to Alcohol and Drug Use in Adolescents. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Volume: 22. Issue: 2. The President’s National Drug Control Strategy. March, 2004. Office of National Drug Control Policy. http://www. whitehousedrugpolicy. gov/publications/policy/ndcs04/disrupt_mkt. html