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Drug Use Teens Essay

2518 words - 11 pages

Adolesce is defined as the life stage between childhood and adulthood and is a period often characterized by an amplified capability for behaviours that have potentially dangerous outcomes. Drug use and the misuse of substances have been strongly linked to patterns of risk taking or harmful behaviour within various youth cultures spanning to present day. Ecstasy and various other ‘party drugs’ that have spread in popularity from the mid 1980s onwards from a drug attached to an enclosed subculture to the mainstream, today these drugs are recognized as being the most popular with today’s generation of adolescence. The greatest threat concerning the popularity of such drugs is the dramatic ...view middle of the document...

What is of particular concern today for authorities is the rise and normalization of drug use around mainstream adolescent culture, particularly as Hunt suggests within a affluent white middle-class demographic, this for authorities Hunt suggests is where a great deal of fear has come from leading to harder and harder measures of intrusion into today’s generation of youths social lives exterior to the home (Hunt, 2010, p78).

In this sense modern research has shown that the prevalence of adolescent drug use has been on an upward curve since the late 1970s, focusing during the 1980s on solvent and heroin use. The difference to earlier periods being that such drugs like heroin were generally regarded as a marginal activity linked closely to “urban deprivation and social dislocation, and undertaken by those stereotypically labelled by the media at least as mad, bad or sad” (South, 2000, p17), what we have seen therefore since the 1980s is a significant broadening of the drug using constituency encompassing a much wider range of substances taken by ever larger groups of young people, for a “significant minority who could consider themselves otherwise ‘ordinary’ members of the community, drug taking as become an unremarkable part of the lifestyle kit” (Hirst and McCamely-Finney, 1995, p89).

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA or ecstasy as it is commonly known was developed and marketed in the united states during the mid 1970s as a therapeutic drug, useful because of its capacity to induce empathy and social attachment, it was prescribed to a range of people including couples facing marital problems, however soon after in 1985 it had become a controlled substance, in spite of which by the 1990s had become one of the most popular drugs of choice among the current dance/rave youth culture in various western countries including the united states, Australia and Europe (HIZLER, 2002, p134).

Today ecstasy use continues to be widespread and has spread beyond the club and rave scene into other areas of party culture, and from large cities to the suburbs and across middle-class, working-class and low income neighbourhoods (Singer, 2005, p10). The popularity of the drug is related to the properties of the drug which are uniquely suited to today’s youth culture. Useful for enduring long periods of dancing and all night activities, MDMA is said to enhance physical sensations, induce an immediate sense of intimacy and connectedness between people. The drug is appealing in this sense to adolesce who at times feel ill at ease with social settings; who wish to make new friends and acquaintances; or are seeking new sexual partners or experiences. Moreover, ecstasy users view the drug as having a broad based benefit and being low risk (Parker, Aldridge and Measham, 1998, p76). In contrast to this government officials and the medical community see ecstasy as a significant public health problem, due to research demonstrating both short-term and long-term health...

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