Youth, Crime, and Addiction

Published: 2021-06-29 07:11:39
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Category: Social Issues

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In Canada, the crime rate of youth is lower and not as serious of an issue, primarily because the crimes committed are minor ones in comparison to other countries. The Youth Criminal Justice Act is focused on forming criminal youth into more respectable individuals in society, instead of locking them up to reflect on what they might not even see as a misdemeanour. Rehabilitate and reintegrate has been the better way to deal with youth and crime, so that the underlying issues surrounding them are dealt with as well as serving the appropriate punishment (Winterdyk, J., 2012). Many of these adolescents have elaborated, problem filled backgrounds that lead them to these negative lifestyles and one of the more common ones is the problem of addiction. Addiction is the continued use of mood altering substance, or behaviour despite adverse dependency. It is a general topic that involves many different types of dependencies such as alcohol, drugs, or pornography. This addictive behaviour that takes place is maladaptive or counter-productive and is commonly found in social groups of youth. To build a strong addiction to something, there most likely is one or more of these reasons present: failure of willpower, psychological disease, psychosocial, or genetically carried (Winterdyk, J., 2012).The most popular addictive behaviour with youth, is substance abuse. This is the patterned use of drugs and alcohol, in which the user consumes in amounts or methods not approved by

medical professionals. More often than not these substances are illicit, however there is also an issue with licit substances being misused. The disorders that are substance related are intoxication, dependence, abuse, and substance withdrawal. Although these topics are easily represented by the adult population, it is also a youth problem that is quickly linked to crime in society.

Youth are easily influenced individuals and the idea to drink alcohol or abuse substances must come from somewhere. Whether it is from the streets and school life, or learned from role models at home, these illegal ideas start someplace. For an individual to go from experimentation to social recreational user, and then into the more concerning stages habituation, abuse, and addiction there more often than not is a reason behind the behaviour. Peers pressuring other peers to try a substance for experimentation and curiosity purposes, is one way that starts addictions. Some people are just born with addictive behaviour and with one single time trying it can leave them hooked. Life can be very strenuous, and pressures to be great citizens of society from teachers and parents, can often turn struggling youth to an escape and drugs and alcohol can be just the thing for them. This also ties into using these drugs illegally as coping mechanisms to get through tough times or difficult situations. Socially drugs and alcohol seem like an okay idea to relieve an awkward situation, to create a party atmosphere, or even to relieve the boredom of a group. All of these reasons and more can justify abusing alcohol, and both licit and illicit substances to youth who do not

always know better. Unfortunately, the more the use increases, or the stronger the want is addiction can arise at anytime. Statistically, grade eight students in their life time since 2006 have shown a decrease in the use of drugs from 20.9% to 19.0%, as well as in the past year alone from 14.8% of students to 13.2%. The top three most common substances were Vicodin, MDMA, and alcohol for teens, showing increases in usage for grade twelve users from 2004 to 2007. Since statistics show only a small portion of youth first time and frequent users with a 40.9% rate of grade ten alcohol abusers, the rate of addiction can only be assumed to be growing. The difference for Canadian youth is, that there are many programs and organizations willing to help them with their addictions and societal issues. Even if they are in delinquent centers or out, and because of that there is a chance that statistics will decrease (Canadian Center on Substance Abuse, 2008).

Although society may assume that there is an undeniable link between crime and addiction there is not ( Greenwood, P.W., 2006). Crime does not cause addiction, nor does addiction cause crime. There is however many reasons why they are related to each other, which sometimes may cause the misconceptions of addiction. Substance abuse impairs

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