Drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem among many young people. However it is interesting that for fourteen years early in the twentieth century the consumption, manufacture, and distribution of alcohol was banned in the United States. This period was commonly known as prohibition. For many years after the ban was lifted alcohol still remained a taboo subject. The advertising and promotion of alcohol was heavily regulated for many years after prohibition was lifted.
Today attitudes toward alcohol consumption have certainly changed. It is commonplace to see many advertisements of alcoholic beverages. These advertisements are comical, interesting, technologically advanced, and appeal to the youthful viewer. Alcohol consumption has become an acceptable activity. Even attitudes regarding teenage drinking has changed. For example, it is not unusual to see parents charged and convicted of giving alcohol to underage drinkers. A number of years ago such an act would have been unthinkable.
The viewpoint toward drug use has changed as well. In times past most of the population had not even heard of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and many other illicit drugs that are bought, sold, and used illegally. Today many of these names are household words.
Without question society’s attitude has changed with regard to alcohol and drug use. However, does this mean that alcohol and drug abuse is a serious problem among young people? The evidence shows that there is a problem. For instance in recent years there has been an increase in government sponsored public service announcements. It is difficult to turn on the television without seeing public service announcements directed at teenagers warning about the danger of alcohol and drug abuse. Why are there so many of these announcements? It is because governmental authorities possess empirical data that seems to indicate that alcohol and drug abuse is on the rise among teenagers. In addition the mental health community can bear witness to the fact that there is a problem with drug abuse among teenagers. One only has to look at the large number of alcohol and drug treatment programs, facilities, and retreats dedicated to assisting teenagers who are addicted to alcohol and drugs. In view of the foregoing there can be no doubt that alcohol and drug abuse is a problem among teenagers.