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Adolescence represents a sensitive stage of development posing a high risk for contacting dangerous addictive behaviors Drugs and alcohol abuse present as the single most serious problem within this population making them vulnerable for serious delinquent behavior Drug use is the increasing problem among teenagers in todays high schools Interestingly alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are not only adult problems -- they also affect a significant number of adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 20 even though drinking under the age of 21 is illegal Bauman Phongsavan 1999 183 Most drug use begins in the pre-teen and teenage years these years are most crucial in the development of a young persons life The average age when youth first try alcohol is 11 years for boys and 13 years for girls The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15 years old During these years teenagers are faced with tasks like discovering their self identity which results in a sense of independency and searching for goals that would give their lives meaning Drugs are readily available adolescents are curious and vulnerable and there is peer pressure that pushes them to experiment The use of drugs by teenagers is the result of a combination of factors such as peer pressure curiosity and availability Zanis 1999 235 One of the most important reasons of teenage drug usage is peer pressure Peer pressure represents social influences that effect adolescents it can have a positive or a negative effect depending on persons social group and one can follow one path of the other Zanis 1999 55-56 We are greatly influenced by the people around us In todays schools drugs are very common peer pressure usually is the reason for their usage If the people in your social group use drugs there will be pressure to use also a direct or indirect pressure from them In turn it is believed to be that
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