The rebellious youth James Dean inspired the phrase “live fast, die young” and it seems that young people all over the country are taking this concept to heart—and with the use of alcohol and drugs. The University of Pittsburgh recently performed a study regarding teenagers and drug addiction, after which they published their findings in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The results revealed a dark discovery—that teenagers who are abusing drugs and alcohol will likely die as young adults.
When a star burns out
The findings from the research are devastating. According to Duncan B. Clark, M.D., Ph.D., who directs the Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center, the data’s gravity increases even more because these deaths are predictable and could have been avoided. The study showed that substance abuse disorder in an adolescent is already a strong indication of an early death—whether in his teenage years or as a young adult. This is because chemical dependency among young people is clearly related to other dangerous acts, such as drug trafficking and drunk driving.
In a recent study, 870 adolescent boys were monitored within a period of eight years. By the end of this time, 21 deaths have been reported. Out of these 21 deceased youths, 14 had severe addiction problems.
The devil in drugs
So what explains the relation between drug addiction and an early death? If you are familiar with the habits and behavior of a chemically dependent person, then you would easily find the connection. Regardless of age, dependency on drugs and alcohol is closely related to other hazardous acts such as unsafe sex, violence, drunk driving, suicide, overdose, and criminal acts. Even adults who are more psychologically developed resort to these acts when under the influence, what more an individual who was recently a child?
A teenager who is suffering from alcohol and drug abuse is more likely to die in a vehicle collision, engage in violent fights with others or die from overdose or suicide. An earlier research shows that these adolescents are not entirely clueless about the path they are taking. The survey showed that many chemically dependent teenagers were expecting to die within a couple of years.
What can be done?
The solution to this problem cannot be focused on one aspect of the child’s life alone. A survey showed that 60% of adolescents obtained drugs within or around their school while 63% claimed that they can access alcohol in their own houses or in the houses of their friends.
This means that monitoring must extend from the home to the school your child goes to and the peers he or she hangs out with. For more information on chemical dependency, contact rehabilation ceters such as Miramar Laguna Beach.