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Drug abuse by today's teens -- can it be stopped?

By Matt Appleby
I. J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland


The truth of the matter is that there are more and more teens smoking and abusing drugs than ever, and more join every day than those who quit.

According to the National Population Health Survey, done by Health Canada, 15 out of every 25 teens are now smoking. Thirty per cent of all teenage females smoke, and 28% of all teenage males smoke. However, even though there are more teenage girls that smoke, males smoke more cigarettes every day than females.

Everyone knows that every day, there are teens using and abusing drugs. But does anybody really know the intensity of this problem? Sure, every now and then on a corner you can see a group of teens smoking, but does it end with cigarettes? Oh no. Marijuana, cocaine, hashish, and heroin are all common drugs and are commonly used and abused by young people in today's messed-up world. The problem with these drugs, aside from the obvious, is that they are becoming more and more common.

In late September, there was a raid on a home in St. John's, Newfoundland. Police bust into a man's home and found eighty-one marijuana plants and watering and ventilation systems. The net worth of that much marijuana would be about 250,000 dollars. A great deal of those drugs may have been sold to or found their way into the hands of teenagers.

Today's youth don't seem to know the health hazards of these drugs. Three drops of pure nicotine, a key ingredient in cigarettes and many other drugs, has enough strength to kill a full-grown man. These teens may be aware of the fact that they are putting themselves in danger but what they don't know is the real and almost fatal danger that they put themselves in.

A prime example of this is rock cocaine. About two sniffs of this, one of the most dangerous of drugs, has enough strength to kill almost anyone. It is amazing that any heavy drug abusers survive their smoking, sniffing and injections, abusing these powerful drugs.

More emphasis is put into youth anti-smoking campaigns than any adult anti-smoking campaign, and with good reason. Getting teens and youths off drugs now may save them in the future. The battle for the cleansing youths of drugs has been an uphill one, that is, if the anti-smokers are even winning.

The scandals involving baseball player Mark McGwire and many other famous sports stars may possibly encourage many more teenagers to start doing drugs. McGwire used performance-enhancing drugs and wound up breaking a record for the most home-runs in a season.

There are more youths and teens smoking and using drugs now than ever before and hopefully this piece of writing will actually attract some attention to the problem.


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