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Substance Abuse

Definition and Introduction:
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines ‘substance use’ as ‘self-administration of a psychoactive substance (alcohol or drug)’.
This term differs to the notion of ‘substance misuse’, which tends to be used to describe more illicit and/or problematic use of substances.
The term ‘substance misuse’ can often be used contextually in the sense of the broader social perspective, whereas the more objective term ‘substance use’ tends to be used in surveys. For the purposes of this report, the term ‘substance use’ is used throughout, and refers to the use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. It is used for any form of use from ‘experimental use’ through to ‘problem/illicit use’.

Substance abuse among teens:
Since puberty/adolescence is the period where an individual is most susceptible to peer pressure, there is a great change in how they talk, behave, interact, appear, stylize, forms ideologies, values etc. Influence from peers is highest during this phase and thus it is a hallmark of adolescent experience.

  • There are episodes of trying new experiences, risk taking, rebel attitudes in order to gain conformity and affiliation from fellow peers.
  • The company of peer seems more important than everything else.
  • Research shows that social acceptance (being in the popular crowd) may increase the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviour, depending on the norms in the group.
  • Children show a propensity to increase risky, drug related and delinquent behaviour when this behaviour was likely to receive approval in their groups.
  • Girls report significantly on how their clothing choices or speech patterns took turn. There were additional changes where the whole value system amongst adolescents transformed due to peer pressure.

There are generally two types of drug usage:

  • Substance abuse- as in regular usage of drugs leading to addiction.
  • Recreational drug use- used occasionally or over weekends or so for recreational purposes (leisure, fun, music, art etc.)

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