Different strategies are used to address teenage drug use. They include source control, reliance on treatment, national education efforts, community-level enforcement, and harm reduction measures. The best policy to reduce adolescent drug use is national education efforts and below is why.
The policy educates teenagers about substance use and its adverse impact on a person, family, and community. The approach promotes information dissemination, allowing youths to acquire the knowledge required to change negative attitudes or destructive behaviors.
National education programs equip young people with social and personal skills. Social skills allow teenagers to become responsible and socially conscious, promoting health and well-being among such a high-risk population. On the other hand, personal skills empower youths to refuse and resist any temptations to use drugs.
Moreover, education programs teach vital life skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and stress management. Empowering teenagers to communicate freely allows them to share problems with peers, parents, or teachers and prevent resulting in drugs as a getaway. Conflict resolution skills enable individuals to solve disputes and prevent escalations. For example, conflict resolution skills enable undisciplined students to listen to their parents or teachers and prevent a situation where they are sent away from home or suspended from school. Such reduces substance use and addiction among young people.
The policy is more effective at reducing drug use among teenagers because it addresses the root cause of the problem. Education programs on drug use help individuals discover internal pressures that drive them to drugs. Such forces include peer pressure, family problems, advertising, stress and anxiety, and poverty. Helping teenagers recognize the root causes makes it easy to address and solve the drug problem.
National education efforts are less costly compared to other programs or policies. The approach exploits the existing system where courses, counselors, or teachers are introduced to identify and reform high-risk youths. The cost-advantage makes the policy effective in reducing teenage drug use. Through this policy, the government and other stakeholders can impact a broad region without incurring high costs.
Young people engage in illicit behaviors such as drug use because they believe their peers or age mates are doing it. They try to imitate others by drinking alcohol, snorting cocaine, injecting heroin, or smoking weed. Such behaviors are exciting to many teenagers, especially those in colleges. Implementing national education policies on drugs plays a vital role in changing how students view drug use. Education programs help students understand that substance use is not a norm and only a small percentage of young people buy and use drugs. The approach presents a clear picture of the drug phenomenon, dispelling the assumption that using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco is the norm.
National education efforts are also the best policy to address drug use among teenagers because it incorporates critical prevention elements. Education programs on drugs prioritize prevention over control. They include sessions aimed at preventing young people from experimenting with drugs. Such efforts minimize the number of teenagers seeking to try drugs, smoke weed, or drink alcohol.
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