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Youth & Drugs – A Challenge of Today

The youth of any generation are the clay of which future adults emerge. The youth today are the special ones who have the world literally in the palm of their hands. There is so much information bombardment. The minds that are already highly impressionable are spoilt for choice. There is also an excessive experimentation, use, abuse and addiction to drugs and alcohol seen amongst them.

The youth culture today across the world from age 14 to about 30 is into drinking alcohol, using weed and all other illicit drugs like cocaine, LSD, hash, M-kat, DMT, Mushrooms etc. The legalization of weed in several American states and European countries has made it into a justified excuse to use it.

Addiction & Social Media

The world is today available in the palm of our hands and young people are even more connected today with each other through Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook etc., they live in a virtual world playing games online, partying, chatting, the personal connect has shifted to a virtual connect . Kids and young adults who use or are addicted, post pictures of guzzling down liquors or smoking joints or using drugs very openly on all these social media sites. Youngsters who do not drink and use drugs in the age group of 18-30 are a rarity. Drinking to get drunk, chugging drinks, mixing drinks and mixing substances with drinks are the fad of the day. Then bragging about it on social media is a trend.

Young people suffering from addiction or in recovery after treatment actually have no place to socialize in or people to socialize with who do not drink or use drugs. Constant bombardment of the social media and the glorifying of these substances by other users make it a difficult journey requiring a lot of support, care, love and compassion.

The incidences of dependency and addiction to substance amongst them are increasing by leaps and bounds. In India the legal age for drinking hard liquor is on an average 21-25 years. But we see drinking beginning at as young an age as 14-15years.

Probable reasons for use

  • Peers Pressure or Fun – Young kids begin drinking with the intention of doing something taboo, and then they discover it lowers their inhibitions and it seems to be more fun. Many times seeing their parents drinking and getting intoxicated on a regular basis makes them think this is as a norm. Family history of addictions, dysfunctional families, childhood abuse, emotional traumas, a need to “fit in” may incline them towards using.
  • Emotional Disabilities – Young kids going abroad are suddenly uprooted from an environment where they have been pampered, loved and provided for and protected without having to lift a finger to do stuff, to an environment where they have to fend for themselves. If they are not emotionally strong, then they fall for the easy way out, being lured into apparent emotional stability through using substances. Parents of young users also find it very difficult to accept that their children can be addicted to drugs/alcohol. They need as much help and support as the youngster who is addicted.

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Effects on the Brain and Risks involved:

The brain of a human being develops till age 21years. Adolescents tend to binge drink to begin with i.e. having large quantities of alcohol in a short span of time. This results in affections of thinking, learning and memory as the hippocampus [the region that is responsible for this] gets damaged. The pre-frontal lobe of the brain gets damaged affecting the abilities of planning, reasoning, decision making and impulse control.

Risk behaviors increase in the form of being promiscuous and have unsafe , unprotected sex, fights, violent crimes, homicides, suicides, accidents due to DUI etc. Sexual assaults and date rapes increase. Grades are affected.

Nature of Substance Abuse

The patterns of drug consumption have also changed. Alcohol intake is not to savor the taste but to get completely “wasted”. Marijuana today is no longer just “an herb” but comes in very potent forms and adulterated with chemicals too. There have too many cases, where young people with addiction to only marijuana and have their lives wasted by dropping off studies and being nonproductive.

Marijuana gets one acquainted with dealers and users who deal in other drugs, thus it becomes a “gateway” for further use. A naturally curious adolescent and young mind craving for new experiences does not even realize before it is engaged and engulfed in usage of drugs that are addictive even on single use.

Today heroin is laced with fentanyl, NBOme is sold as LSD, mefedrone as cocaine etc. and these are extremely addictive and potentially fatal.

Treatment for Addicted Youth

Treatment is in a residential rehabilitation center in a loving, accepting and compassionate environment where there is freedom with responsibility of self. Counseling, meditation and introspective writing enables one to deal with one’s emotions realistically. Young people require engaging occupations like trekking, gymming and physically engaging games which also need to be provided at the facility. Developing other constructive pursuits and one self to the extent of not finding the need to use is the goal of treatment.

The young of today are thus looking for answers in drugs/alcohol, fanaticism etc. the world has become more virtual and real time communication with family diminishes. Grounding within themselves is lost. This intelligence, curiosity and drive if it can be channelized through meditative practices inwards, then there can be tremendous progress in every sphere in life, physical, mental and spiritual and the world can progress. Else it is going to be a zombie world where a substance is taken for everything from waking up (coffee), to work, to stay alert [adderal or energy drinks], to stay calm[alprazolam] or even to sleep [alcohol, valium] and would be apocalyptic.

In today’s world it is very essential for parents to educate themselves about the various drugs in the market, the perils of experimentation and drug/alcohol addiction and their effects.. They need to be aware of how to identify if their children are using. This can be done by observing sudden behavioral changes from calmness to aggression to anxiety to restlessness, from the friends kept, the music heard, the timings kept, the academic performance, paraphernalia of drug usage like bongs, joints, filters; etc. Seek professional help from people who are in the field of treating addictions. Speak and care front the child in the morning when the person has just woken up. The person will be more receptive then.

Being aware of the problem and the solution to the problem is more important. As awareness is the cornerstone for better lives and ultimately a better, addiction-free world.

Meditation & Yoga for Healing

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If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, seek help now. By the help of a trained counselors and expert healthcare specialist, you can develop an individualized plan for empowerment to overcome addiction and live a sober and profound life – free from the tangles of drug. Fill up the form today to get more information about addiction treatment and recovery.

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