Adolescent drug abuse remains a big challenge in the world today. It is associated with high morbidity and mortality amongst young people. Also, drug abuse is costly to society. It is crucial to note that the factors behind adolescent alcohol and drug abuse are preventable.
Chakravarthy, Shah, and Lotfipour (2013) provide an analysis of awareness and prevention interventions that can be pursued to mitigate this ill among the youth. This essay provides a critique of an article written by these authors about adolescent drug abuse prevention interventions.
Adolescent drug abuse, awareness, and prevention
Chakravarthy, Shah, and Lotfipour (2013) use the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) strategies to analyze appropriate measures that can be taken to control adolescent drug addiction.
They also refer to recent studies that have utilized different models for reducing the prevalence of drug abuse among adolescents. Through their review, these authors hold an opinion that effective mitigation of alcohol and drug abuse among adolescents should involve all the stakeholders in the community (Chakravarthy, Shah, & Lotfipour, 2013).
They hold that modifiable risk factors such as exposure to drugs, bad parenting, socio-economic status, inherent predispositions, and peer group influence, need to be examined for successful mitigation of the adolescent drug abuse. Also, these three authors opine that families, communities, and primary care provider programs are adequate in the elimination of adolescent drug abuse.
They acknowledge that the lack of prevention programs is one of the reasons why the modifiable risk factors are prevalent. They also argue that preventive programs encourage family bonding, parental behavior change, and quality parental care, contribute significantly to reducing levels of drug abuse.
Furthermore, the introduction of community and school programs help identify personal characteristics of children at an early age. This enhances early management, and hence avoids indulgence in adolescent drug abuse. Finally, they also recognize that primary caregivers play a big role in helping adolescents overcome risk barriers.
This article can be critiqued from different points of view. Despite the interventions being sound, there are several gaps that arise. The intervention does not incorporate the adolescent resistance to the community and primary caregiver programs. It is critical to recognize that during such interventions, there is a likelihood of the adolescents’ resistance to the program activities.
One critical program is a family preventive intervention; the authors argue that adolescents should avoid drug abuse and change their behavior. However, change in behavior is not adequate in fighting the complex drug abuse enhancing factors.
Individual behaviors can only change if the relevant behavior influencing factors such as culture, religion, ethnic, and other environmental mechanism are understood. Therefore, while implementing community programs efficiently, practitioners should have a deep understanding of these factors.
Feedbacks from an intervention program are very useful. The preventive interventions discussed in the article are silent on the role of monitoring and evaluation of ineffective mitigation of the menace. Feedbacks are useful in providing essential information about the progress of the intervention so that important steps can be taken to strengthen it (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2006).
The article describes one of the most critical intervention platforms that should be utilized in modeling the behavior of the adolescents, as well as the entire community. Mass and social media have grown tremendously in the last decades. This provides a good explanation of how these programs are run (Wakefield, Loken & Hornik, 2010).
Through these media, adolescents can be taught specific skills on drug abuse. For instance, programs that incorporate components of how adolescents should resist peer pressure can be passed through mass media platforms.
The article provides relevant information on intervention programs that can be used to curb adolescent drug abuse. However, it does not enlighten us on how community and primary caregiver programs can be monitored for their improvement. Also, it is silent on how mass and social media can be utilized in the programs. In conclusion, if these factors are integrated into the programs, a remedy for adolescent drug abuse can be achieved.
Chakravarthy, B., Shah, S., & Lotfipour, S. (2013). Adolescent drug abuse-Awareness & prevention. The Indian Journal of Medical Research, 137(6), 1021-1023.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2006). Monitoring and Evaluating: Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Programs. WHO. Retrieved December 10, 2013 from http://www.unodc.org/pdf/youthnet/action/planning/m&e_E.pdf.
Wakefield, M. A., Loken, B., & Hornik, R. C. (2010). Use of mass media campaigns to change health behaviour. The Lancet, 376(9748), 1261-1271.