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In most of the institutions and curricula, the dangers of alcohol use and abuse are expounded on such that the children grow up with the idea of what the indulgence in alcohol will lead to. The teachings on the dangers of alcohol are rife and real hence there should be no instances of children adolescents or young adults engaging in premature drug use and alcohol abuse. One may think that this is the case (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). However, the contrary is true. The most exposed and enlightened members of the society are the worst hit by the issues of drug addiction. Ironically, doctors and medical professional that have more knowledge on the entomology of the disease arising from excessive consumption of alcohol are the worst affected by the addictions.
Therefore, two hypotheses can be stated. On one hand, it is possible that the doctors and the rest of the professional in the medical field do not believe in what they feed to the society (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). On the other hand, it is possible that the doctors are also victims of a trend in the society that has made the alcohol intake more acceptable and accommodated to the extent of spanning out of control. These hypothesis are both true. The paper will focus on the issues that have led to the acceptance of alcohol and drug use in the scotia with the focus being on the adolescents and college-going students.
The society’s acceptance of alcohol and drug abuse manifests in the peer pressure. Peer pressure is not evident in the youths only on the contrary; even the older members of the society always do what their peers are doing (Johnson & Grant, 2005). Peer pressure can be positive or negative. Negative peer pressure leads to the adoption of the rebellious behavior (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). Negative peer pressure is the most evident from of peer pressure in the society. Peer pressure manifest itself mostly in the younger members of the society.
Peer pressure is the most cited reason for the development of excessive alcohol use and abuse in the society. However, peer pressure is combination of three aspects (Kirke, 2006). One of the three distinct aspects that influence a person is the explicit offer of alcohol to the teenagers by their peers (Johnson & Grant, 2005). Overt offers of alcohol and other drugs create a compelling reason for the peer group member to take them in order to please his or her age mates. Offers to take more are accepted leading to addiction and continued use.
Overt offers are designed unconsciously to make the offered more willing to take it since there are usually free with the continued use of the drugs leading to the addiction (Kirke, 2006). The induction period is the best period for the drug and alcohol addicts since every member of the peer group seems to be warming up towards the member (Healey, 2007). The feeling of acceptance makes the member feel more inclined to act like and belong to the group.
When the stage advances to that level, there is a guarantee that he or she will end up being hooked on the drugs or alcohol (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). Ironically, after a person is hooked, there are no motivations for the peer group members to accommodate him even when he is in need of their assistance in procuring the drugs. Therefore, the overt offers from the peer group members increase the susceptibility of a person to substance abuse (Kirke, 2006). The overt officers of alcohol differ with most of them ranging from polite and mindful offer to commands or goading of the members (Healey, 2007).
The second way through which alcohol use and abuse manifests is the modelling. Modelling is the process of creating false images about something with the main of them manifesting as gross misstatements of the reality. In each of the peer groups in the society, there are models that the teenagers look up to (Healey, 2007). Some of the models could be real or characters in the mainstream media. In the case of real life modeling, the models could be part of the peer group. In most of the cases, the models are older (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000).
For the college students, the model for drug and alcohol use could be the senior students. The models always have a way of life that is extolled in the peer group such that every member of the peer group wishes to be like the model (Prinstein & Dodge, 2008). Continued reliance on the image of what is right portrayed by the models eventually leads to a situation whereby the modeled image of what is right and wrong becomes the real image of the tow issues. In this case, the admirers of the model end up being hooked on the drugs and addicted to alcohol.
Models on what is right and wrong could also be the characters in the movies and other media. in the movies, the teenagers and college life is depicted in wrong light whereby most of the movies and song popularize the ideal that college is a place where one goes to do all the things that are prohibited in the society (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). The adoption of this notion leads to the development of drug and alcohol use since according to the modelled image; it is the acceptable thing to do in order for one to belong.
Finally, the final component of the peer pressure that leads to the drug and alcohol abuse is the social norms (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). The society has placed some characteristics that have become norms over the years. For instance, it is almost a rule that when one is out watching a baseball game, he or she must be drinking (Johnson & Grant, 2005). This norm is extended to the college and adolescent life. Therefore, the main source of the peer pressure is the society.
Garfield, T., Ball, J., & Kissin, W. (2000). Drug abuse warning network annual medical examiner data, 1999. Rockville, Md.: Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies.
Healey, J. (2007). Peer pressure. Thirroul, N.S.W.: Spinney Press.
Johnson, J., & Grant, G. (2005). Substance abuse. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
Kirke, D. (2006). Teenagers and substance use. Basingstoke [England]: Palgrave Macmillan.
Prinstein, M., & Dodge, K. (2008). Understanding peer influence in children and adolescents. New York: Guilford Press.
Debate on the ethics of giving teenagers contraceptives ranges on in various circles. Some of the people perceive the act of giving teenagers contraceptives as an encouragement for sexual impropriety. Others see the issuance of contraceptive as an informed decision seeking to educate the teenagers on the risks of unprotected sex. However, the reasons cited for denying them access to contraceptives are ill informed and baseless. The paper posits that giving teenagers contraceptives should be lauded since it protect them from social problems associated with early pregnancy.
Keywords: teenagers, contraceptives, ethical
There are various points of view surrounding the issue of giving teenagers contraceptives. Giving teenagers contraceptives is not refuted on medical grounds rather on moral grounds. Most of the parents find it difficult to talk about the issue of contraceptives with their teenage children until they have attained the majority age ('Teenagers and contraception.’ 1983). Talking about contraceptives appears to be endorsement of uncontrolled sexual behavior. Due to this perception, parents are more comfortable talking about the abstinence from sexual activity than use of contraceptives. However, the abstinence talks often fail since there are an ever-rising number of teenagers that engage in sexual activity. With the large number of teenagers engaging in sexual activity, the widespread education and enhancement of access to the contraceptives is one of the most effective means of dealing with the issue of unwanted pregnancies and in some cases contracting sexually transmitted diseases (Darroch, Singh & Frost, 2001). Allowing pharmacists to dispense the contraceptives is an effective way of dealing with the issue of unwanted pregnancies and contracting of sexually transmitted infections. This paper will give evidence of the need of giving the teenagers unrestricted access to contraceptives.
The term teenager refers to a 15-19 year old. There are more classifications of the teenagers such as youngest teens, which is representative of the teenagers between the ages of 10-14. Younger teenagers are aged between 15-17 years and the older teenagers are aged between 18-19. The distinction of the ages is important since the sexual dynamics affecting the teens vary according to the teenagers that are in question (Scherer, 2009). Sexual activity can be accurately determined by the age. The sexual activity is less frequent among the younger teens. Pregnancies are also rare in this class of teenagers. 13% and 15% of teen is females and males respectively have had sex while in their younger teen years. This is a lower number compared to the 70% females and 65% males that have had sex before the attainment of the age of 19. The demographic indicate that younger teens are more sexually active hence more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections and early pregnancies. In the event that young teens become pregnant, there are more risks associated with the pregnancy such as low birth weight. In addition to the medical effects, there are socioeconomic consequences of preterm pregnancies that will affect the younger teens more than any other classification of teens. Dependence on the public assistance is eminent in the event that the teenagers have children at the tender ages. To curb this precedent, it is imperative that the government ought to make contraceptives more accessible to the teenagers of all classes.
Teenagers are less informed about the available means of preventing unwanted pregnancies. More than a third of the male and female students in their teens indicate that they did not get any formalized education on the ways of birth control. Male teenagers do not talk to their parent s about the emergency contraceptive means. Females talk to the parent but a third of them find the topic uncomfortable (Scherer, 2009). The sexually active teenagers do not use methods of contraceptives and whenever they use them, they prefer the inexpensive and often less effective birth control means. The first time that the teenagers have sex, they do not use protection of any form. Condoms are the most effective means of controlling unwanted pregnancies. However, teens do not always use condoms whenever they have sexual contact. This results to high levels of unprotected sex (Darroch, Singh & Frost, 2001). Improving the knowledge that the teens have on the spectrum of contraceptives is the only effective way of ensuring that teenagers use safer methods of birth control.
Emergency contraceptives have been cited as the best options for the teens. The drugs are safer than the majority of the drugs in the market whenever used by the teenagers. The medication is safer and well tolerated in the teenager bodies according to the pharmacokinetics. The drug can be used by the teens since there is little effect on the body system. The common side effects of the drugs include nausea, and menstrual disturbances. The side effects are by large transient and can be experienced by the adults (Darroch, Singh & Frost, 2001). The ability of the teens to follow the emergency contraceptive depends on the advance provision of the drug. This means that there is no need of medical supervision of the teenagers whenever they take the drug. It is important to note that in as much as there are differences between the children and adult body functions, the teens that become sexually active display high levels of biological maturity (Bonell, 2004). The teens have the capability of functioning like adults and the pharmacokinetics of the majority of the contraceptives will be similar to those of the adults. Therefore, the argument that the use of contraceptives affects the biological functionality of the teens is unfounded.
The other argument proposer for not allowing the teens to access contraceptives is that the access to contraceptives makes teens more promiscuous ('Contraceptives for teenagers a worthwhile investment', 1993). However, studies indicate that there is no association between the knowledge and access of contraceptives on the sexual behaviors indicated by the teens. For instance, the younger teens that learn about the emergency contraceptives are not going to be sexually active than their peers that lack any knowledge about the contraceptives (Abma & Sonenstein, 2001). This study also applies to other forms of contraceptives. Furthermore, the teenagers that have used the pill before do not have a higher risk exposer to than the ones that have never used it ('Teenagers and contraception.', 1983). Therefore, the argument that contraceptives increase the level of carefree sexual activity does not hold. It is just a sentimental argument based on notion and not scientific evidence. The knowledge just provides the teens with information on the options that the teens have and how the options compare to teach other.
More significantly, studies have found out that the advance provision of emergency contraceptives to teens does not increase their level of sexual activity. Specifically, providing the teens with advance provision of contraceptives does not affect the frequency of unprotected sex. The advance provision of contraceptives to the teenagers does not increase the number of sexual partners. There is no relationship between provisions of contraceptives with the risk of sexually transmitted infections (Bonell, 2004). The contraceptives are more or less sources of contingency plans. If the teenager is used to having sex using the condoms, he or she will not change her approach since there are contraceptives involved. In the case of emergency contraceptives, the teens that have advance provision always use them within the 12 hours when their effectiveness is at its peak.
Despite the fact that the contraceptives have minimal side effect and no influence on the sexual activity among the teens, their availability is controlled by numerous polices (Falk, 2010). One of the major barriers is the fact that the pediatricians are not as informed about the contraceptives. They have no inclination to understand the contraceptives since they assume that their patients are not sexually active ('Contraceptives for teenagers a worthwhile investment', 1993). This aspect is a setback since the majority of the teens depend on advice from their doctors and teachers to choose the best contraceptive method to use. Lack of involvement from the two classes of professionals places the teenagers at a high risk of pregnancy. The school based medical professionals often refrain from teaching the teenagers about the array of contraceptives available since they purport that any information that they offer will be used to continue the wrong teenage behavior. Provision of the information on the contraceptives from an early age is important more so if it comes from the schools and pediatrician since it create the notion that the contraceptives are mandatory in any sexual encounters.
Additionally, some programs and policies such as abstinence and requirement for the parental consent intentionally inhibit the teenagers from accessing the required information on the contraceptives (Falk, 2010). The programs and policies are specifically designed to constrain the access to contraceptives information. The programs seek to instill the ideal that virginity is the most important virtue among the adolescents. However, studies indicate that the member of the purity clubs often engage in sex before marriage. Moreover, the members of the purity clubs often engage in unprotected sex. This makes them more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections that the nonmembers.
Teenagers indicate that they do not use contraceptives since they have to obtain the consent from their parents. This means that the teenagers that fear seeking the parental consent always use less effective means such as the withdrawal system. Other indicates that they would resort to the less effective means of birth control such as over the counter medication. The medication is more effective than the withdrawal system but less effective than the established hormonal birth control. Lack of information on the functioning of the contraceptives led to a trend whereby the women would obtain the contraceptives over the counter (where acceptable to all women) but would not use them (Herceg-Baron et al., 1986). Thy adopted a wait and see method to confirm whether they were pregnant. This approach could be associated to the little information that majority of the women have about the effective window of the contraceptive methods. The level of misinformation leads to the adoption of the less effective and often ridiculous methods of birth control.
The utilitarian argument about the wide availability of contraceptives indicates that the majority of the people consider the teenage pregnancies and abortion to be more immoral than early sexual behavior. The provision of the contraceptives to all teenagers will lead to the reduction of more repugnant moral issues touching on pregnancy and abortion than the other approaches (Abma & Sonenstein, 2001). Elimination of the barriers of access to contraceptives among the adolescents is the most effective way of controlling the abortion rates and teenage pregnancies. Other countries have adopted the wide distribution of contraceptives strategy as a way of reducing the spread of teenage pregnancies and abortions. Removal of barriers such as the need of parental consent and doctors prescriptions could seem erratic but they are means to a greater good whereby the rate of teenage pregnancies will reduce significantly. The rate of dependence on the government funding in the event that the teenagers have children at tender ages will also reduce significantly. Promotion of advance provision of contraceptives and emergency contraceptives ought to be adopted as one of the means of reducing the increasing levels of teenage pregnancies in the country.
The United States of America is faced by a challenge of the highest rate of teenage pregnancies. The rates could be attributed to the unacceptably high levels of bureaucracy that are in place when it comes to birth control. Teenagers are sexually active yet they have contained access to contraceptive education. The change of the perception on emergency contraceptives is important in order for the country to be at par with the rest of the developed nations. Increased dependence on contraceptives in the rest of the nations in the developed world has reduced teenage pregnancies. The other nations have managed to deal with the issue of unwanted pregnancies and abortions due to the changed stance on birth control. Removal of the barriers to access of information relating to birth control will be effective in controlling the high rate of teenage pregnancies (Scherer, 2009). The government ought to come up with public funded programs aimed at educating all classes of teenager about the contraceptive means. The government also has to change the regulations whereby the teenagers are restricted from accessing the contraceptives without the consent of the parents. Making some of the contraceptives readily available will increase the level of usage and reduce the reliance on ineffective birth control methods.
Abma, J., & Sonenstein, F. (2001). Sexual activity and contraceptive practices among teenagers in the United States, 1988 and 1995. Hyattsville, Md.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.
Bonell, C. (2004). Why is teenage pregnancy conceptualized as a social problem? A review of quantitative research from the USA and UK. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 6(3), 255-272. doi:10.1080/13691050310001643025
Contraceptives for teenagers a worthwhile investment. (1993). Inpharma Weekly, &NA;(875), 8. doi:10.2165/00128413-199308750-00016
Darroch, J., Singh, S., & Frost, J. (2001). Differences in Teenage Pregnancy Rates among Five Developed Countries: The Roles of Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use. Family Planning Perspectives, 33(6), 244. doi:10.2307/3030191
Falk, G. (2010). Teenagers' unintended pregnancies and contraception. Linköping: Linköping University.
Herceg-Baron, R., Furstenberg, F., Shea, J., & Harris, K. (1986). Supporting Teenagers' Use of Contraceptives: A Comparison of Clinic Services. Family Planning Perspectives, 18(2), 61. doi:10.2307/2135030
Scherer, L. (2009). Birth control. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Teenagers and contraception. (1983). BMJ, 287(6393), 687-688. doi:10.1136/bmj.287.6393.687
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