Examining Teen Attitudes Toward Drugs

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Examining Teen Attitudes Toward DrugsIn a study conducted by New York University for the journal Prevention Science, it was found that high school seniors who frown upon the use of drugs are most likely to be female, non-smoking, and highly religious. The study was conducted in response to the growing cultural and legal tolerance of marijuana throughout the nation. Young people in particular are using marijuana more than ever.


Teen Attitudes Toward Drugs

Survey data among 29 thousand high schools, both public and private, revealed what most people already assume: teens who have used drugs themselves are consistently less critical of others’ drug use. However, that may be an oversimplification. For example, marijuana users were open to LSD and ecstasy but had less desirable attitudes toward, or even qualms against, cocaine and heroin use.  The socio-economics are even more surprising. Turns out, privileged students are no less tolerant of drug use than their lower-class peers.


The Race Factor

Some of the data appears to reflect racial factors as well. Black students were more open to powder cocaine and ecstasy, which are known to be abused primarily by whites. It has also been suggested that the music industry, which tends to glorify these two drugs in particular, has something to do with this cultural attitude. 

It may be difficult to prevent use of substances like alcohol or marijuana among young people, but at the end of the day, prevention efforts should be directed towards young people becoming users of multiple substances. To achieve this, changes in public health spheres, as well as policy, will be necessary.


The Stigma Factor

One of the greatest challenges youth face in seeking recovery isn’t availability, but the stigma against them. Many adolescents are embarrassed about what their peers might think or how their futures may be effected. In reality, when it comes to life successes–both career and relationship–it’s clear that active addiction is far more damaging than whatever stereotypes an addict may face for attending treatment.


There is nothing weak about seeking help when you need it. Here at Sustain, we provide young addicts with the tools and guidance they need to put the brakes on the addiction cycle. To learn about addiction treatment and adolescent aftercare programs, give us a call at 949-637-5499.

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