Illegal Drug Abuse Essay, Research Paper
Illegal Drug Abuse
On the bus ride to school little Joey has to make a choice. Yesterday, on the bus Joey was offered a cigarette, not sure of what to say, he told the boys “maybe tomorrow.” Well, it is tomorrow now and the boys are approaching him. What to do now?
Many children and also adults are faced with choices like these every day. Illegal and also legal substances are everywhere you look. The hardest thing is trying to avoid them. Everyone learns when they are young to “Just Say No,” but not everyone remembers that in a pressured situation that could change their life forever.
As early as 500b.c. civilizations in Greece and Rome drunk alcohol. Still now in1998, alcohol is “Americas Most Abused Drug”(Ball 43). Even though alcohol is a legal drug, it can kill.
Some drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and aspirin are legal in today’s modern society, but they are still abused. Many people die each year from smoking. There are many complications that come along with smoking, it causes: cancers, bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, blood clots and can form tar on the smokers’ lungs.
Alcoholism among young people is still increasing. This is very true; young people are not permitted to legally drink alcohol until they reach the age of 21. Even though this drug is legal, many teenagers abuse it. More than “3,600″ teens die a year from drinking and driving, and “85,000″ are hurt. Many teens think that it is cool to drink, well, it’s not. So, why do they drink? Do they not know better? Are they depressed? Or did they give in to peer pressure? I really don’t know why they want to put their bodies through the pain. I guess that it just for fun or out of boredom. At the rate that most teenagers are drinking, they should be getting cirrhosis of the liver, cancer of the throat, mouth or stomach, or have damage to the kidneys. When you are young and immature you never think of the future. I guess that it a good thing because they don’t have much to look forward to but a life of pain and suffering.
Drugs are abused throughout the United States. Everywhere you go drug deals are happening. You may not see them but they are there. Not just adults are dealing drugs. Many young people are also getting involved in these illegal activities.
Even in our restrooms at school, kids are smoking as well as dealing drugs. Many laws and rules have been enforced in the United States regarding the usage of drugs. Not many people pay attention to these laws, it is hard for them, they are addicted to drugs. Over 30 million people have used drugs in the past year.
Addiction to drugs leads to many other offenses in our country. Out of all the types of additions in federal prisons, drug offenses top off the list at 59.6%. Other junkies could be going through a period of time called withdrawal. Withdrawal is the process that your body goes through when you stop using drugs. There are symptoms like; headaches, stomach pains, muscle cramps and sweating that occur withdrawal.
The longer that a person is hooked on a drug the longer and more drawled out of the withdrawal period. During this, the user could also become very violent.
Many things have been done in the past to try to get rid of the usage of illegal drugs. In the1980’s law makers of the United States tried to stop drug abuse and the violence that is associated with it. They did this by creating the Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP). Also in 1988 the National Drug Abuse policy was established. It is to over see the other drug related department in our government.
As a result of these offices, the parents and citizens also had begun to get involved in many of these programs. They formed many groups that informed the youth about drug problems in their local area. After these programs were in full swing, the use of drugs by teens decreased. That just proves that when teens are more educated about drugs, the side effects and the consequences, they are less likely to use them.
In 1983 a great educational program was created. It is called D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Educational program. Daryl Gates, the Los Angeles police Chief at the time, is the creator of this program. D.A.R.E. has reached all of the 50 states of America and 13 foreign counties.
The original goals of this program were to provide education to students about the pressures of being faced with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Another goal of this program is to get the students familiar and comfortable around police officers.
Most of the uniformed D.A.R.E. officers enter 5th grade classrooms one hour a week for seventeen weeks. During this period of time the students are required to learn about peer pressure, resisting drugs and how to “Just Say No!”
At the beginning of the program all the students are required to sign a pledge that they will “keep their body free from drugs.”(A Different Look at D.A.R.E. section 1). After the program is completed a ceremony is held and the students will receive a D.A.R.E. t – shirt, a certificate, a pin and a wallet size card that identifies them to be a D.A.R.E member.
There have been many surveys about the effectiveness of D.A.R.E.. 98% of the students surveyed believed that the program was very effective. In another survey, 88.3% students responded that they would know how to respond if someone was to offer them drugs. 100% of the teachers believe that the program is very positive and helps the kids be more comfortable around policemen.
As students get older and mature, they have many difficult decisions to face. A lot of their friends are smoking cigarettes or maybe even pot or drinking alcohol. Many students that go through the D.A.R.E. program are at a lower risk of doing illegal drugs. This could be because they remember what the program had taught them in the past, or are smart enough to know that it is bad for them.
Close friends can influence other friends in to doing things that they do not want to do. This is peer pressure. One of the main focuses in the D.A.R.E. program is peer pressure, because every child, teenager and adult has to deal with it. Most peer pressure is negative, encouraging others to do something bad.
As many students make the transition from Middle School to High School the pressure gets more intense. There is more homework and more demanded out of you. Some kids can’t take the pressure and resort to drugs. Alcohol, tobacco and marijuana are the most commonly abused drugs among High School students. 25% of the High School seniors surveyed, reported monthly use of marijuana.
Some people ask, “What is D.A.R.E. teaching our children?” Well, the D.A.R.E. officers saw a problem and are treating it best to their ability. They give the students workbooks and encourage them not to take drugs from anyone. They also tell the kids the consequences of their choices. Everything is there own choice and responsibility. Hopefully they will make the right choice.
When we went to Frazyesburg Intermediate School, the kids were just finishing up with the whole D.A.R.E. program. All the students got up and read an essay that they had wrote about “What they did and did not like about D.A.R.E.” It was really interesting to hear the kids’ thoughts about D.A.R.E.. Each essay was different, whether they were things that made fun of Dan’s bald head or reasons why they will never do drugs, they were all great. When their was a down time in between collecting their workbooks and telling the winner of the best essay, we had made a activity that said, “D.A.R.E. Just Say No,” for them to color. As their D.A.R.E. classes come to an end, the whole class will graduate in January. Dan said that he has to “Go out in the community to ask for donations to pay for the gifts that they will receive.”
The Muskingum County Sheriff’s office has only had the D.A.R.E. program for about two years. “Once Bob took office as Sheriff, he wanted to have a D.A.R.E program.” Because of this Marks applied for the position over two years ago. He got the full time position as the Muskingum County D.A.R.E. officer. He has one other assistant. He one works with the program one day a week and the other days he is on the street as a cop.
After participating in the D.A.R.E. program I really think that the kids are learning what he is teaching. Listening to their essay proved this to me. It takes a lot for a man to teach children the right thing to do. That goes for any career.
There are also other programs offered that deal with drugs. I interviewed Jody Hall from the Muskingum Behavior Health center. At this center they deal with women’s issues, anger related to abuse, alcohol abuse, criminal repeated offenders and they deal with people that have court and school referrals. The juvenile offenders of an illegal crime that are still in school are sent to a class called “Pathways.” These classes last for 2 weeks, 5 days a week and 2 hours a day. During that time the students are suspended from school. Many of the teens that are “Sent here once, and they will properly be back again.” Says Hall.
My partner and I made a survey and distributed them though out some of the classes here an M.H.S. Out of 60 total student, 20 of them were never offered drugs, and the other 40 students were offered drugs. 58 student, at one point and time, participated in the D.A.R.E. program. 31 people stated that they were offered marijuana, but only 9 were offered alcohol. More than half of the students surveyed stated that they drink beer regularly. When you sit down and really look at the results, they do not make sense. 31 people drink alcohol, but only 9 of them were offered it? My conclusion to this question would be that teenagers do not consider alcohol or tobacco, only 2 offered, a drug. In all reality, these two drugs are among the top killers of people today.
Teens abuse many things, from themselves to their own possessions. It seems that a lot of people just don’t care, but then the one’s that do, aren’t heard. The main focus of my report is to open someone’s eyes. If you help only one person, it is all worth while. Never forget that they D.A.R.E. officers, teachers, councilors and friends are all there to help. The more support and compassion that someone receives, the more they will care about themselves. By caring about your self, you will live a happy, healthy and drug free life.
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Hall, Jody. Personal interview. 14 December 1998.
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Marks, Dan. Personal interview. 16 December 1998.
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