Addiction Among Teenagers

Chloe Shepherd, Staff Writer

In our cafeteria, there’s a wall full of celebrities. The purpose of this wall was to show celebrities that have or had battled with addiction, and how we should not be like these people. Some of the celebrities include Marilyn Monroe, Mac Miller, and Robert Downey Jr.. With a quick google search, you can find out all three of those people battled or continue to battle with mental health issues. Before we shame them, how about we look at the underlying cause of their substance abuse problems.

A lot of people turn towards alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with their problems. Substance abuse is an outlet that lets them escape those problems for a little bit. Of course, it’s always great to talk about methods to help people with addiction, but when we don’t talk about the why, then we’ll never end substance abuse problems. I respect Red Ribbon week, and I think it’s great to educate people on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. There’s a bigger problem though. When we don’t discuss why kids are going down the path with dangerous substances, then we’ll never truly be able to make a change.

If you look at people that struggle with substance abuse, you will also find a lot of them struggle with mental illness. Now, that’s not every case. There’s other reasons, as well. I’m focusing on mental health because I think the lack of education to the youth is leading to a lot of problems along with substance abuse. When we don’t teach people methods to help with mental illness, then we are leading them down the path of unhealthy methods. I strongly believe there is a connection to the increasing number of kids with substance abuse problems, erratic behavior, and school violence to the lack of education on mental health. We’re not teaching kids that there are methods to help with their mental illness because we are not talking about mental health at all.

The shaming of people who battle with addiction, and the shaming of the people who have lost their battle to mental illness will only make mental health in teenagers increasingly worse. The worsening of mental health in teens will only lead to more kids struggling with addiction. It’s time to have an open conversation in schools, politics, and our households about mental health.

Click here for resources: mental health assistance