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decorative star graphic  Adolescence:
Biosocial Development
- Health & Hazards -

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Sexual Abuse: Special Vulnerability in Adolescence

    Ψ  Childhood sexual abuse is broadly defined as any erotic activity that arouses and excites an adult and excites, shames, or confuses a young person - whether or not the victim protests and whether or not genital contact is involved. Under this definition sexual abuse is very common.
    Ψ  Childhood sexual abuse is narrowly defined as "forced to touch an adult or older child or forcibly touched by an older adult or older child in a sexual way". Under this definition; 30% of females & 9% of boys (Gallup poll 1995) had been abused.

Alcohol, Tobacco, & other Drugs

Ψ  Drug abuse - alcohol
•  Alcohol advertising is especially directed toward the 12-19 age group
 •  There are 8 million alcohol addicts in the U. S.
  •  A few studies show a genetic susceptibility to alcohol

Ψ  Tobacco
•  Recent studies and prosecution have shown that the tobacco companies were especially trying to entice the young.
•  Multiple studies have shown tobacco to be associated with cancer and heart disease

Ψ  Marijuana
•  Repeated use of this drug produces a "mellowness" characterized by a general lack of motivation & indifference to the future.

Ψ  Other types of drug abuse

Ψ  The trend since 1978 has been for fewer young people to experiment with drugs, but still over ten percent of them do.

Ψ  Risks:
•  accident, injury
 •  unintended provocation of peace officer or citizen
  •  motor vehicle accident
   •  psychological dependence
    •  physical dependence
     •  resorting to theft to feed one’s habit
      •  loss of career opportunities

Ψ  Gateway Drugs:

•  Tobacco
 •  Alcohol
  •  Marijuana

FYI:  The gateway drug theory proposes that the habitual use of less deleterious drugs may lead to a a future risk of using more dangerous hard drugs & crime. Some research suggests that some serious drug abusers have used other drugs before using cannabis or alcohol. Individual drug-abuse histories show that "hard drug" users do progress from one drug to another, but the research is not clear enough to confirm the gateway theory.

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Curbing Adolescent Drug Use

Ψ  As least partly effective measures follow.
•  Education
 •  Harsher punishments for venders who sell tobacco & alcohol to minors
  •  Higher prices for tobacco & alcohol
   •  Drunk driving laws that are strictly enforced
    •  Better parent - child communication about drugs
Ψ  Generational forgetting does not help.

Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
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