“I don’t know why I did it, I don’t know why I enjoyed it and I don’t know why I’ll do it again.” Bart Simpson
Adolescence Adolescence is one of the most significant times of developmental change. For some young people it can be a time of Excitement and adventure. Others, A confusing and challenging time.
Adolescence ‘not quite’ stage: not quite adult, not quite child, not quite sure! (Spooner et al, 2001)
Adolescence The main normal developmental tasks of adolescence are: Adjusting to physical changes Taking responsibility for sexuality Working towards independence from caregivers Developing a sense of personal identity Developing social and working relationships Choosing and making plans for a career.
Adolescence “The young have always had the same problem – how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.” (Fuller, 2002)
Adolescence Typical adolescent behaviours include : Being adventurous and experimental Needing acceptance with peers Increased risk taking Unpredictable moods and behaviour Needing to rebel
As with all groups, amongst adolescents the most commonly used substances are Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, Analgesics.
Factors influencing first use of any illicit drug
Factor% Curiosity77.0 Peer pressure54.5 To do something exciting20.7 To enhance an experience12.0 To take a risk9.3 To feel better5.9 Family, relationship, work or school problems 5.4 Traumatic experience 2.5 To lose weight 1.2 Other3.3
Why? Reasons for use include: Internal factors Curiosity, personal beliefs, confidence and mood. External factors Culture, law, role models, peer approval and family.
Personal attitudes (Clark et al, 2003 Non-usersLight usersHeavy users Tend to be more inward looking Cocooned rejectors Largely fearful about drug use and anxious to avoid trouble with drugs. Risk controllers Enjoy drug use but very conscious of keeping it under control Reality swappers Like the drug experience more than ordinary life and need drugs for relief from problems. Tend to be more outward looking Considered rejectors Made an independent decision that they didn’t need or want drugs. Ambivalent neutrals Not really for or against drug use. Will use when they want to. Thrill seekers Enjoy the excitement and risk of drug use despite knowledge of its dangers.
Risk factors for problematic drug use IndividualFamilyLocal environment Macro environment Commitment to education/academic problems Ineffective parental family management techniques Traumatic experiences (e.g. war, child abuse) Legislation Personality: lack of Social bonding, alienation, high tolerance for deviance, resistance to authority Negative communication patterns Socioeconomic statusLaw enforcement Coping skillsParental role modelling Peer influencesSocial messages about use (e.g. via the media) Early age of first use
Enhancing resilience In adolescence the family and school environment primarily play a vital role in preventing and managing drug misuse.
Enhancing resilience Being caring and supportive Know your child Setting and communicating realistic and achievable expectations Providing opportunities for meaningful participation e.g. sport. Drug education and information for parents or caregivers reinforces what their child/children are learning about the harmful effects of drugs and opens opportunities for family discussions about the abuse of legal and illegal substances Parental monitoring and supervision are critical for drug misuse/ abuse prevention. Setting clear and consistent boundaries
Enhancing resilience Prevention programs for secondary school students should increase academic and social competence with the following skills : Study habits and academic support; Communication; Peer relationships; Self-efficacy and assertiveness; Drug resistance skills; Reinforcement of antidrug attitudes; and Strengthening of personal commitments against drug abuse.