This problem is very widespread all over the world, especially in the USA.

Many Americans begin their day with a drug; though most probably do not think of it as such: a cup of tee coffee, or cocoa. As the day goes on, other drugs may be added: a cigarette, a vitamin pill, a cola drink, or a martini.

The United States has been called the most drug oriented society in history, which an enormous variety of chemical substances available both legally and illegally. Drugs are a part of almost every medical treatment, and they are widely used to ease social occasions. People use drugs freely out of habit, or to give themselves a lift, or to help themselves relax, or to feel better or just because it is the thing to do.

When did drug use begin? This section presents a brief historical overview of the medical and non-medical uses of drugs, including herbals, alcohol, tobacco, opiates, marijuana, psychedelics, and stimulants.

Whereas most teenagers ones confined their drug use to alcohol, cigarettes, and an occasional dose of over-the-counter amphetamines to stay awake while studying for an exam, today’s adolescents have access to an abundance of substance that promise instant euphoria, release from anxiety, and acceptance by peers.

The sequence of involvement with drugs tends to be slightly different for young men and for young women, usually progressing in the following stages:


  • For men, alcohol precedes marijuana; alcohol and marijuana precede other illicit drugs; and alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana precede prescribed psychoactive drugs.
  • For women, alcohol or cigarettes precede marijuana; alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana precede other illicit drugs; alcohol and either cigarettes, and marijuana precede prescribed psychoactive drugs.


Ironically, the use of drugs to combat depression often has the opposite effect. Suicide, the third leading cause of death among young people aged fifteen to twenty-four, has increased sharply in recent years ”“ and researchers have found a link between adolescent drug use and suicidal behavior.

Marijuana is still the most widespread and frequently used illegal drug in the United States today. A 1985 national study conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for social Research revealed that the proportion of college students using marijuana declined from a high of 51% in 1980 to 41% in 1985. More importantly, daily marijuana use fell from 7.2% in 1980 to 3.1% in 1985. Methaqualone annual use dropped from 7.2% in 1980 to 1.3%, tranquilizers from 6.9% to 3.5%. Amphetamines dropped from a high in 1982 of 21 to 12% in 1985, and LSD from 6.2 to 2.2%.

Cocaine use, on the other hand, is high among college students even though most other drugs have substantially declined since 1980. By the senior year in a college about 30% of all students have tried cocaine. They were also more likely than their age peers not in college to drink five or more drinks at least once in the month prior to the study.

Most people in our society agree that psychoactive drugs, including alcohol, pose some dangers that should be dealt with by government. For example, there is substantial evidence that some drugs used even in moderate amount may impair the physical and psychological development of children and adolescents. State governments regulate beverage alcohol by specifying the minimum age for its legal purchase. Some people have suggested similar regulations for marijuana. Another widely recognized problem is the control of illegal drug distribution by organized crime. That control, particularly of heroin, has driven many drug dependent individuals to commit robberies, burglaries, and other crimes t5o obtain cash for the drugs they need. Many solutions to this extremely serious problem have been suggested, ranging from enforced drug withdrawal for those apprehended to free heroin for dependent individuals.

Most of the early organized efforts to treat abuse of psychoactive drugs focused primarily on the narcotic analgesics.

There is still no agreement on the ideal way to deal with people who are dependent on narcotics. Some experts feel that the dependent individual should simply be given the drug as often as he or she needs it. This approach would make it unnecessary for the drug-dependent individual to commit crimes to pay for increasing doses of the drugs.

Other advocate methadone treatment, in which methadone’s cross-tolerance with heroin is used to “wean” the dependent individual from heroin. This approach is based on the idea that methadone removes the desire for heroin, blocks its effects, and has no serious side effects at therapeutic doses; taken orally, methadone doesn’t produce euphoria.


Teenagers drink 20% alcohol in the USA. National Centre on Addition and Substance Abuse ”“ CASA had published the report, in which a damage of the abuse of alcohol drinks by Americans was enumerated more drinkable age group were determined.

In CASA the dates were consolidated and analyzed, received as a result of three investigations where on the whole took a part more than 217.000 people at the age of 12 and elder.

It made clear that in 1999 the minority at the age of 12-22 drunk 19.7% all the Americans alcohol. More than 30% fall to adults’ lot. But both groups spend on the strong drinks about 57 billion dollars in a year.

Alcohol is more terrible than wars and acts of terror

The excessive alcohol abuse stands in the line with the reasons of the death-rate of the population in the USA on the third place after smoking and irregular feeding. The alcohol abuse yearly brings 70.000 Americans to ruin.

As for the dates Centers for Disease and Prevention, just in 2001 in the USA died 34.833 from different diseases, connected with excessive abuse strong drinks. And 40.933 were victims of a road accident because one of the participants of the accident was in a state of intoxication.

Among the victims of the alcohol 72% are men, about 6% of this list were people younger 21 years old.

The powers of the USA make extra efforts as for the fight with alcohol abuse by drivers.

Ethyl alcohol is the common active ingredient in such varied beverages as wine, beer, hard liquors (gin, whiskey, brandy, rum), and cordials. It is prepared from a number of natural plant products, including fruits and grains. Some methods of making it were known before the beginning of recorded history.

The different forms of alcoholic beverages vary greatly in strength, as measured by the concentration of alcohol they contain. The most common alcoholic beverages ”“ beers, wines and distilled spirits ”“ are made by different processes.

  •  Beer and ale are derived from various grains by a brewing process; they generally contain from 3 to 6% alcohol.
  •  Wines are made by fermenting the juice of grapes or other fruits. Table wines, which are often served with meals, have a natural alcohol content ranging from 9 to 12%. Other varieties, such as cherry, port, and muscatel, are reinforced by the addition of distilled spirits to bring their alcohol content up to as much as 18 to 22%
  •  Distilled spirits ”“ the strongest alcoholic beverages, such as gin, whiskey, brandy, and rum ”“ are manufactured by distilling brewed or fermented products so that liquids containing from 35 to 50% alcohol are recovered. Ounce for ounce, the amount of pure alcohol in most distilled liquors is ten to twelve times as great as that in beer. But when a person has a beer, he or she drinks 12 ounces of beer (in contrast to the typical shot glass of whiskey, which contains about 1 ounce).

The term proof indicates the concentration of ethyl alcohol in a beverage. Proof can be converted to percent by dividing the proof number in half. Thus, 80-proof whiskey is 40% alcohol, and 100-proof whiskey is 50% alcohol.

Every ounce of 100-proof whiskey, then, contains one-half ounce of pure ethyl alcohol.


How alcohol works as a drug

Alcohol takes a rather direct route into an individual’s system. It travels to the stomach and small intestine, and from there it is directly absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body. Its absorption can be quite rapid, especially on an empty stomach. Since the stomach can absorb fully one-fourth of the total dose (the rest is absorbed in the small intestine), when a drink is taken on an empty stomach the maximum level of alcohol in the blood can be reached on as short a time as thirsty minutes.


Youth, Alcohol, and SADD

Alcohol poses a double threat to young people: they can become alcoholics more rapidly than adults, and they are more likely than people in other age groups to be involved in alcohol-related accidents.

Early in life, alcoholism often occurs after only two or three years of heavy drinking. Among teenagers, the process may take only three or four months. Later in life, it usually takes six to ten years of steady excessive drinking for alcohol dependence to develop. The reason for these differences is not known.

What is known is that drinking and driving can be a lethal combination, particularly if the driver is young and overconfident and has little alcohol tolerance. An organization called Students Against Drunk Driving ”“ SADD was formed in 1981 after two Wayland, Massachusetts, high-school athletes died in a drunk-driving crash. The movement has since become nationwide, involving millions of students in a crusade to keep alcohol-impaired drivers off the road. SADD also conducts schoolwide and community alcohol-awareness programs and it attempts to reach out to high-school students who have concerns about ”“ and problems with alcohol.

SADD members use positive peer pressure to realize their goals. For example, before an event like prom night ”“ which frequently results in alcohol-related driving fatalities ”“ SADD members tack up posters and distribute fliers containing slogans such as “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”.

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