Teeangers and Forbbiden Substances
Alcohol and drug use has a very impact on teenagers and the fact that they have tried a beer once, or they tried a cigarette or even pot is related to their ethnicity. A new study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says that educators should use different strategies to keep teenagers away from these things.
A survey made in Southern California, based on about 5,500 seventh- and eighth- graders, shows that about 22 percent of the kids had tried alcohol; 10 percent had tried cigarettes and about 7 percent had tried marijuana. From the surveyed kids, the Hispanic ones were more likely to have tried alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana, next come African-American kids and on the third place are the Caucasian kids. Asian-American kids were less likely to have tried any of the substances mentioned above. However, the focus of the survey was not about how much they drank or smoked, but why they did it. The researchers from RAND Corporation found that there are 2 reasons for which Hispanic kids drank, smoked or not. One – their power of saying no to things and the second thing is whether they expected bad consequences from using the substances, bad consequences like poor grades or poor sports performance.
Well, in the Asian-American kids group things are totally different. They are less likely to smoke or drink if their parents disapprove and they are also very strongly influenced by whether drinking and smoking has a positive effect on their popular life. For that matter, study authors Regina Shih and Elizabeth D’Amico say that “the findings suggest that educators should adapt their focus to the particular students they are trying to reach.”
If you are an educator and you have in your class Hispanic kids, for example, D’Amico says that you must focus on life skills. “Skills training is important with all teens, but we found it can be particularly important with Hispanics. ‘If I go to party this Friday and there might be alcohol there – how can I not drink, if I don’t want to?’ You get them to think it through, instead of just saying to themselves, ‘I’ll just say no.’”
Now, if you are teaching Asian-American kids, D’Amico says that educators should focus on making kids to talk to their families about drugs and alcohol. “Does alcohol really make you more popular? It’s important to understand what’s in your head, versus the real drug effect.”
However, even if the study authors made these suggestions in their study, they also say that “prevention programs that target these factors shouldn’t just be offered to students of certain racial/ethnic groups. We suggest that interventions that focus on factors such as providing skills training to resist peer pressure, and discussing beliefs about substance use, should be widely applied across all adolescents.”
The basic idea is that kids in the seventh and eighth grade are dealing with a lot of pressure and they should be taught about life’s real values and important things, but also taught about how alcohol and drugs can damage their lives.11