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Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Sample Answer 

Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Drug Abuse, Addiction, and Substance Use Disorders among Adolescents


Admittedly, adolescents and teenagers are the most vulnerable populations in the United States and globally because they face a myriad of mental, physiological, physical, and behavioral changes. Teens are highly vulnerable because their brain is still growing, their physiques are adjusting, and they are financially unstable. This could be the reason most encounter stress-related mental disorders. One primary and highly documented issue that is affecting adolescents on a significantly extensive scale is drug abuse and addiction. This paper, therefore, primarily aims to explore the problem of drug abuse among adolescents and the external stressors associated with it, the assessment strategies used in screening patients, ethical concerns, and the support options available for the victims.

Drug Abuse among Adolescents and the External Stressors

Substance or drug abuse is a term used to mean the excessive and harmful use of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and so on, or wrongful or disproportionate use of prescription drugs, such as opioids. Drug addiction, on the other hand, is the dependence on drugs for survival, with addicts demonstrating a compulsive drug-seeking habit. Substance abuse disorders are mental diseases associated with drug use and abuse, such as addiction. According to Das et al. (2016), one in every five boys and 1 in every 10 girls aged between 13 and 15 years use tobacco globally. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (n.d.) states that 20 percent of high school students will have abused prescription drugs by the time they reach their senior year, about 70% will have attempted alcohol, and roughly 50% will have tried an illegal substance. Several external stressors or risk factors have been associated with the high prevalence rates of adolescent drug users and abusers. They include adverse and traumatic experiences in early life (such as exposure to physical and emotional abuse), inherited genetic predispositions, and poor parenting (National Institute on Drug Abuse, n.d.).

Assessment Strategies to Screen for Drug Abuse and External Stressors among Adolescent Patients

With the increasingly overwhelming impacts of substance abuse among teens being felt in the community, such as higher incidences of prostitution, school dropout, mental diseases, and crimes, researchers have proposed different tools to assist in diagnosing addiction and other substance abuse disorders. One of the commonly administered tools is the T-ASI (Teen Addiction Severity Index), which is a semi-structured, interview-based model that contains seven critical areas, psychiatric status, peer-social relations, legal status, family relationships, employment-support status, school status, and chemical use (Winters & Kaminer, 2009).

Additional Assessment Questions and Ethical Parameters

Besides the seven elements mentioned above, Winter & Kaminer (2009) argue that the process of screening an adolescent with suspected drug use, substance abuse disorder, or addiction should incorporate the following questions. Is there any psychosocial risk? What is drug abuse severity? Are there response distortion tendencies? Is there a suicidal potential? Are there eating disorders? And is there a family history of substance abuse? However, just like any health treatment or research involving human subjects, there are certainly ethical considerations that must be taken when dealing with adolescent abusers or patients, especially to fulfill the principles of autonomy, confidentiality, and respect. This means that some information can be shared with the parents of adolescents, while some information should be kept confidential. For example, whereas the results of the diagnosis, especially if they are worrying and might need treatment, should be shared with the parents/guardians, other information like where the drugs are sourced from should be kept a secret.

Support Options for Adolescents Encountering External Stressors

Different support systems can help counter the external stressors or risk factors propelling adolescents to use or abuse drugs. For example, voluntary after-school programs can help to keep teenagers busy as well as educate them on the benefits of staying safe. Sports, for example, can help keep teenagers engaged and active, thus, reducing the chances of engaging and abusing drugs. Providing programs that can support vulnerable kids, especially those from impoverished families, both socially and financially, can help reduce their chances of indulging in drugs. This should also include providing food aid, paying their school fees, and counseling. Engaging and counseling parents on better ways to avert the risk of their children engaging in drug abuse early in their lives can help.


Das, J. K., et al. (2016). Interventions for adolescent substance abuse: An overview of systematic reviews. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(4), 61-75. Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Principles of adolescent substance use disorder treatment: A research-based guide. Retrieved from

Winters, K. C., & Kaminer, Y. (2009). Screening and assessing adolescent substance use disorders in clinical populations. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(7), 740-744.


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Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Research the range of contemporary issues teenagers face today. In a 500-750-word paper, choose one issue (besides teen pregnancy) and discuss its effect on adolescent behavior and overall well-being. Include the following in your submission:

Describe the contemporary issue and explain what external stressors are associated with this issue.
Outline assessment strategies to screen for this issue and external stressors during an assessment for an adolescent patient. Describe what additional assessment questions you would need to ask and define the ethical parameters regarding what you can and cannot share with the parent or guardian.
Discuss support options for adolescents encountering external stressors. Include specific support options for the contemporary issue you presented.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

Adolescence- Contemporary Issues and Resources

Adolescence- Contemporary Issues and Resources

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