Drug use is one the most frequent leisure activities that people like to indulge themselves in especially students in universities and colleges. A survey among 12th graders by the Monitoring the Future agency highlighted that over hundred schools across the United States continue to observe prevalent trends in drug use of their students. Illicit drugs such a marijuana have been popular among students since the past twenty years. Statistically speaking, around 21.6% 12th graders indulge in marijuana while 13.1% 8th graders indulge themselves in other illicit drugs as well.
The illicit drugs that are popular among students are Ecstasy, amphetamines, heroin, alcohol, methamphetamines as well as sedatives and LSD. Five year trends outlines that high school seniors still use LSD despite the disadvantages, but the total percentage is still less compared to the peak that it had back in 1996 (Olfson, 2010). It is important to understand that the perceived risk of these type of drugs is declining as time goes by, which is why the number of users is actually increasing than decreasing. However, for 8th graders the amount of over the counter cold medication and sedative usage is actually lesser compared to the past decade.
In order to understand the trends for drug use it is imperative one understand the reasons for it as well. Drug use for people is not always recreational, sometimes people, especially students turn towards drug usage to cope with stress or other negative emotions. Athletes tend to use drugs in order to increase their physical functioning capabilities. A number of people who struggle through depression do not get diagnosed for their problem, and instead try to self-medicate in order to struggle with their emotional problems. This leads them to increase or begin the usage of illicit drugs such as marijuana, alcohol, as well as cocaine. Perhaps the most common reason for people to induce drugs is peer pressure. A number of teenagers begin using drugs because they want to fit in with the rest of the crowd. It doesn’t take long for them to get addicted to the drugs because they do not understand the negative impact that it has on their cognitive processes.
What some drug users do not realize is that drugs such as heroin, and alcohol, can have a slow numbing effect which can slow down the body and mind functioning. Drowsiness is one of the factors of using these types of drugs. Ecstasy, and amphetamines on the other hand stimulate a rush of energy, which helps people become more alert. A number of students prefer taking these drugs before a big test. However, LSD, acid, and mushrooms can have an intense hallucinating effect on the user which is by the far the most dangerous (Izzo, 2001). Drugs like these can change the way a person sees, smells, tastes, and even hears.
Most recreational drugs wash out of the system within a couple of hours, but LSD and its effects tend to stay with the user for a very long period of time. Fatal overdose and death by this very factor is common in a lot of high school students around the world. Sedative drugs and alcohol are one of the major cause of death by overdosing. Withdrawal symptoms and physical dependence are one of the implications as well.
The danger of the drug depends on the type of drug, the amount that it is taken in, as well as the condition of the user. Some people have a higher tolerance level than others, while some are easily perceptible to its effects. This makes it dangerous for them to use these drugs, as it can lead them to do something that is life threatening, or even permanently harmful.
Even though there is a rise in trends of adults using drugs such as opioids, as well as dying due to drug overdose, there has been a decline in school students misusing narcotics such as heroin. The most significant statistic was of the decline in Vicodin usage, as it dropped by a full 51%. Another factor for the increase in general drug use is that a number of users used to think that drugs are something that are not easily available to them. However, students in 2017 pointed out that access to drugs is very easy, which was a very different answer from those who thought that it wasn’t back in 2010.
10th graders show a decline in the overall usage of marijuana, while an increase is highlighted for the usage in 12th graders. Around 6% of 12th graders claim that they use marijuana on a daily basis which means that at least one in every twenty high school student uses marijuana on a regular basis. Even though there is high number of awareness in educational institutions, work places, as well as all over the internet, statistics show a decline in disapproval of marijuana.
However, there is a small percentage of young students who feel that regular use of marijuana is harmful, while even fewer disprove of marijuana entirely. 29% of high school students perceive marijuana as a risk, while a large chunk of 64% reports that they disapprove the usage of marijuana by adults. 2018 surveys about drug and cigarette usage highlights that the daily usage of drugs exceeds the daily usage of cigarettes among students. On the other hand, alcohol usage in parties and other recreational activities also declined from 2012 to 2017 (MTF, 2018).
Izzo, A. A. (2001). Interactions with hallucinogen drugs. Drugs, 61(15), 2163-2175.
MTF. (2018, March 29). Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trends. Retrieved from NIDA: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/monitoring-future-survey-high-school-youth-trends
Olfson, M. C. (2010). Trends in antipsychotic drug use by very young, privately insured children. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 13-23.