In Oakland, one of the top social barricades in the community is the massive influence that drugs have in the this city, drugs are a burden to have in a city or even a small community because it reeks havoc wherever they are found or end up. The people who use them most likely have some unsolved conflicts with themselves or within their close family or friends.
Peer Pressure is one of the reasons that drugs have such a substantial amount of influence in the communities of Oakland and living or growing up with drugs around your environment is not uncommon. Most children are curious and early exposure to drugs increases the chances of them wanting to use drugs in the future. Some information that was given to me was of Kareem when he was a teen and that his first personal experience with drugs, which he said was when he was just 12 years old. When Coach Kareem from Life Academy was asked about his childhood and how drugs played a role, his response was, “My first personal experience with drugs was under a bridge with a group of friends to smoke some weed and we thought we knew what we were doing…I was trying to be cool… (Kareem). The interview was very deep and detailed to the point in which it gives great evidence and provides requisite that supports my claim. Further examination of what was said in the interview, it is clear that due to his early exposure to drugs he was ‘peer pressured’ to smoke weed with his friends at the time. In theory you are more likely to take drugs or be pressured into taking them because of the influences around you. Some more evidence that supports my argument is that addiction in youth is affected by the influences the parents place onto their children. For example “children enjoy playing in and exploring their natural world – backyard, park and beach. At the same time they are learning about their built world around them – roads, houses, shops, schools. They will learn from you if you tell them why you do things for example: when you recycle, mow, weed or paint the house.”
This information is highly important in relation to the topic of this paragraph because it is widely known that children learn from experience and at the youngest ages where they don’t know what is right and wrong so they learn most from their parents before they are able to learn on their own which means if the child is to see their parents using drugs constantly then they will decide drugs are ok for them to take. Overall, it is clearly noticeable that one of the most popular reasons that a child is subjected to take drugs at such a young age is the undoubted fact that he or she has experienced drugs in their past and was compelled to fit in or felt peer pressured too because of the wild and rampant use of them in their general vicinity.
Another very important reason that drugs are used is to try and counteract his or her broken family which can lead distress which makes youth naturally need some sort of comforting mechanism. This usually makes teens turn to negative things like drugs or alcohol because it’s easier than having to talk to someone who listens to you and slowly helps you build your courage and patience up. One of the interviews I had gave me a good amount of evidence to backup this second claim which I had with Ms.Christensen. She is my advisor and someone who had worked for a lengthy amount of time as a social worker for children who mostly had drugs involved in their lives one way or another, have it be directly or indirectly they are still connected in some way. Ms.Christensen told me a story about a young child who had temper problems, most likely due to the fact that his mother was an abuser, she told me the context of the event “I had to visit this kids who hated me the first time I visited him….by the time I had my last meeting with him he told me “do you remember the first time you came to seem me and how I threw rocks at your car?…well i’m gonna kinda miss you now.”(Christensen). This quote is very important because it shows that with time and patience you can change a child’s opinion on people and how not to fall victim to drugs as a buffer to their bad emotions. She helped that kid not fall into a deep and dark life of abuse and probably helped them become aware and careful of their decisions when involved with drugs. To further push my argument, there is a book named “Heads Up Psychology” which details a plethora of information of the human mind. The book detailed that “Australian psychologist Dorothy Rowe, who argued that unhappiness becomes depression when people feel guilty and blame themselves for the bad things that happen in their lives and their resulting misery.”(99). Another piece of evidence that is needed to understand the connection is, “Other psychologists suggested that it is not just the way parents, teachers, and other caregivers reward or punish us that shapes our behavior. Albert Bandura believed that we learn our behavior by example.”(27). These quotes are of high importance to have because definitely helps argue with scientific backing that children rely on parental influences to make decisions and reflect on the behaviors and habits of their role models. If there was to be an opposing role model to the unfit ones then maybe it will influence the child even more than the negative influences which will in a way rehabilitate them to become positive and not abuse drugs to cope with their emotions.
Others may argue that if drugs were harder to obtain or put more laws against drugs then maybe there will be less drug abusers. They may say that illegal drugs have no purpose and have to be stripped from the run down communities like Oakland to fix it and its people. My rebuttal to such a poorly devised plan is that since I’ve seen how laws have helped in a similar department so well before. Laws for guns did not work because of the fact that it’s impossible to only source gun distribution from one place and same goes for drugs, you cannot try to weed out all of the dealers they will keep sprouting out and will not stop no matter how much laws are placed against both. It’s better to just aid the addicts or drug abusers by providing drug rehab support for people who apply or even as a every 6 months check up and to have people self test every week and send the information to their doctor or therapist. It would take forever for the problem to fully disperse but even if we did do something like this for a plan to combat drug abuse in the states, how would it stop all the “private” drug dealers who can appear and disappear from society as quickly as the came. In conclusion, even if we wanted to combat drug abuse and tightened laws and restrictions on them it would still be nearly impossible for drug dealers and their sources to be fully weeded out.
Overall, the main reason why drugs are so highly used by youth is because of the accessibility of them, the perception that they are ok and that they are quick and relieve your emotions quickly. It was also stated that people use drugs because of peer pressure and because it helps relieve the youth of their problems even if they don’t know the side effects.
Websites used for info:https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/drugs/understanding-addiction
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