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YOUTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE OPPRESSION

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Steph Rathy

on 1 February 2013

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Transcript of YOUTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE OPPRESSION

BECOMING AN ALLY Many of our youth have a difficult time coping with change and many other things that come along with adolescence. During this period in time many teens experience disconnect, some have trouble identifying or finding where they belong. So many turn to drug and alcohol use as a way to connect with their peers on a deeper level. Certain young people are experiencing personal issues, possibly different untreated psychological problems and they use drugs in an attempt to self-medicate. “Emerging research exploring the reasons for this higher risk suggests that some teens may be self-medicating to cope with toxic environments, untreated trauma, and underlying psychological conditions.” (Substance Abuse in Canada: Youth in Focus, September 2007). MICRO LEVEL Once a teen starts abusing drugs all areas in their life soon become affected. School becomes more difficult for them to maintain the same grades. It is very often that they will begin to lie and family relationships will become strained. Drug use can lead to various types of delinquency which can damage trust with the ones surrounding them. Youth who abuse drugs generally don’t obtain jobs for long periods of times so they often steal to substitute the income. Some may even decide to sell drugs to make money. It can be difficult for a younger individual to acquire a job in the first place, because there is a stigma attached to being a younger worker that you are unreliable. Youth who abuse heavy narcotics such as cocaine, crack, and now becoming more frequent, opiates are at a much higher risk of death. Adults look down on youth who abuse drugs and there is a constructed fear of substance abusing youth. Many people have an intolerance attitude problem and they think that the problem lies with the individual. A lot of the times people who have parents who abuse substances find it rather challenging to step out of their footsteps and end up succumbing to addiction. MICRO LEVEL CONTINUED MEZZO LEVEL Certain social agencies don’t recognize substance abuse as an illness and don’t address the root causes which lead to further drug use. Some social agencies operate using a conservative ideology which ultimately means that youth choose to abuse substances made a decision and should be forced to deal with the consequences on their own. Workplaces discriminate against youth and substance abuse by demanding frequent drug screening tests and many times they are for jobs like warehouses and factories which young men tend to work at. Part-time jobs don’t cover leave for rehabilitation and so there is no incentive for a young drug user to seek help on their own accord. Many youth know that they would not be returning to a job afterward. Youth are encouraged to utilize social programs to discuss their addiction and are treated in a condescending manner. After being titled a drug user and demeaned the teen could very well meet other teens with addictions and use the social program as a rendez-vous place. High school is a common time for youth to become interested in drugs and when a lot of our adolescence begin experimenting. Schools add to the problem by allowing students so much freedom such as long lunch breaks and classes are taught by different teachers allowing for the opportunity to engage in deviant behaviors and drug use. Drug awareness programs such as D.A.R.E and ADAPT are introduced fairly early in a child's life and I believe that in some cases this may peak their interested as well teach them about different terminology so forth. MACRO LEVEL Substance abuse is viewed by many as a sign of weakness and loss of self-control. The truth of the matter is that there are so many contributing factors. Some factors include isolation, strenuous family relationships, loss of identity, lack of affection or discipline, grief stricken, and difficulties with social interaction. Over the last few years, marijuana has become increasingly decriminalized by our younger generations, and even by law enforcement. However, shows like intervention, Breaking Bad, Trailer Park Boys, and D.E.A shape the public's opinion on substance abuse and make it look as if any drug user is incompetent, lazy, desperate and uneducated. I would attend a Cultural Competency, Diversity, Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression in Mental Health and Addiction Two-Day workshop to obtain a greater understanding of the forms of oppression our youth is currently facing. I think educating people on realities that they don’t comprehend or have never experienced is always a good place to start when trying to advocate change. Youth develop addictions as a result of negligence or lack of attention and then when they become addicts they are given negative attention. Many of our youth become addicts because they are suffering from various forms of oppression such as racism, classism, ageism and then they become oppressed as a result. All oppression is interconnected in one way or another. In my opinion, the best way to become an ally is by learning first hand from people who have suffered from addictions and raise my awareness and become more conscious of their oppression. Only then can i truly become an ally and begin to advocate change. Ultimately I will become an activist and I will undergo the process of critical consciousness-raising. By : Stephanie Rathy AGEISM &
ADDICTION REFERENCES Substance Abuse in Canada: Youth in Focus, September 2007
Blyth, D.A., & Leffert, N. (1995). Communities as contexts for adolescen development: An empirical analysis. Journal of Adolescent
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Botvin, G. J., & Griffin, K. W. (2006). Preventing youth violence and delinquency through a universal school-based prevention
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Canadian Network of Substance Abuse and Allied Professionals. (www.cnsaap.ca)
Poulin, C. (2007). From attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder to medical stimulant use to the diversion of prescribed stimulants to
non-medical stimulant use: Connecting the dots. Addiction, 102, 740–751.
Whitlock, H. L., & Hamilton, S. F. (2003). The role of youth surveys in community youth development initiatives. Applied Development Science, 7, 39–51.
All images retrieved from Google Images.
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