The youth of any generation is the clay of which future adults emerge.
The youth today are the special ones who have the world literally in the palm of their hands. There is so much information bombardment. The minds that are already highly impressionable are spoilt for choice. There is also excessive experimentation, use, abuse, and addiction to drugs and alcohol seen amongst them.
The incidences of dependency and addiction to substance amongst them are increasing by leaps and bounds. In India, the legal age for drinking hard liquor is on an average 21-25 years... But we see drinking beginning at as young an age as 14-15years.
Probable reasons for use
Young kids begin drinking with the intention of doing something taboo, then they discover it lowers their inhibitions and it seems to be more fun. Many times seeing their parents drinking and getting intoxicated on a regular basis makes them think this is as a norm. Family history of addictions, dysfunctional families, childhood abuse, emotional traumas, a need to “fit in” may incline them towards using .
Effects on the Brain and Risks involved:
The brain of a human being develops until age 21years. Adolescents tend to binge drink, to begin with i.e. having large quantities of alcohol in a short span of time. This results in affections of thinking, learning, and memory as the hippocampus[ the region that is responsible for this] gets damaged... The pre-frontal lobe of the brain gets damaged affecting the abilities of planning, reasoning, decision making, and impulse control.
Risk behaviors increase in the form of being promiscuous and have unsafe, unprotected sex, fights, violent crimes, homicides, suicides, accidents due to DUI, etc. Sexual assaults and date rape increase. Grades are affected.
The patterns of drug consumption have also changed. Alcohol intake is not to savor the taste but to get completely “wasted”. Marijuana today is no longer just “ a herb” but comes in very potent forms and adulterated with chemicals too. We have treated too many young people with addiction to only marijuana and have their lives wasted by dropping off studies and being non-productive.
Marijuana gets one acquainted with dealers and users who deal in other drugs, thus it becomes a “gateway” for further use. A naturally curious adolescent and young mind craving for new experiences does not even realize before it is engaged and engulfed in the usage of drugs that are addictive even on single-use.
Today heroin is laced with fentanyl, NBOMe is sold as LSD, mephedrone as cocaine, etc and these are extremely addictive and potentially very fatal.
The young of today are thus looking for answers in drugs/alcohol, fanaticism, etc… the world gets more virtual and real-time communication with family diminishes. A grounding within themselves is lost. This intelligence, curiosity, and drive if it can be channelized through meditative practices inwards, then there can be tremendous progress in every sphere in life, physical, mental, and spiritual and the world can progress. Else it is going to be a zombie world where a substance is taken for everything from waking up[coffee], to work, to stay alert [adderal], to stay calm[alprazolam] to sleep [alcohol, valium] and would be apocalyptic.
We at AH look at helping our young clients to be self-sufficient pro-life individuals who do not find the need to use drugs/alcohol through our Alternate Life therapy program involving meditation, introspection, and counseling.