Substance Abuse Psychological factors for Young Adults essay


Substance Abuse: Psychologicalfactors for Young Adults

Substance Abuse: Psychologicalfactors for Young Adults

Substance abuse is among the grimissues affecting young adults in the United States. It is estimatedthat about 22 million Americans were abusing drugs and alcohol by theyear 2005, where approximately 95 % of those with substance useproblems were unaware of their health conditions (health people2020). There are many young adults who believe that life isfrustrating, which creates a perception that transitioning intoadulthood is a very difficult task. These young adults use differentstrategies (including the drug abuse or committing suicide) to dealwith challenges that they face in life. Those who chose to use drugsas a way of addressing challenges are at a higher risk of sufferingfrom mental conditions. Unfortunately, this population of youngadults finds it difficult to seek for help, which increase the riskof committing suicide. The purpose of this paper is to discuss themenace of substance use among young adults in the U.S. The paper willfocus on the relationship between the project and the Healthy People2020, summary of three research articles, a discussion of theapplication of the three articles to inform the health promotionproject, and suitable strategies that will be used to educate theyoung adults who are at the risk of abusing substances.

Relationship between the topicand the target population

Researchers need to understandthe risk factors for drug abuse among young adults in order todevelop viable solutions. The term substance abuse is used to referto a set of related conditions that are associated with theconsumption of behavior- and mind-altering substances, which resultsin negative health and behavioral outcomes (Healthy People 2020).Young adults tend to use substances, such as alcohol, to alter theirstate of being. The transitional period of young adults, which is age18 to 25, is characterized by high vulnerability to the risk ofsubstance abuse. This is a period in which the young adults undergostressful situations and rely on substances to ease their stress andbring the sense of happiness.

The grieving situation that isattributed to the loss of parents or close friends increase the riskof substance abuse as the young adults try to cope with the pain. Inaddition, frustration that young adults experience when transitioningfrom high school to college increase the chances of substance abuse. Some of them find class work and assignments overwhelm. The fear offailing in exams increases stress among the students. Students chooseto go to college parties to relieve stress. Most of them engage inbinge drinking thinking that this will help them forget life andschool-related challenges, but it increases the risk of sufferingfrom mental conditions.

A study shows that about 15 %adults who use substances in the U.S. receive mental health careservices each year (Mason, Keyser-Marcus, Snipes &amp Sood, 2013).However, there are many of young adults (about 7.6 %) who need mentalcare services, but they cannot get them. Some young adults startexperimenting with drugs while still in high school. According toLener, Anderson &amp Ivanov (2014) about 2.0 % of the seniorstudents in high school experiment with cocaine before graduating.The goal of the Healthy People 2020 is to lower the prevalence ofdrug use, improve the safety, and the quality of life of youngadults. However, this can be achieved by helping the stakeholders inthe health care industry understand the risk factors for substanceuse among young adults and methods that can be used to increase theiraccess to treatment services. Therefore, the current project and theHealthy People 2020 seeks to achieve a common goal of helping theyoung adults overcome the risk of substance use and recover fromaddiction, in case they have already become dependent on drugs.

Summary of the articles

The article “Illegal stimulantabuse” was authored by Marc Lener, Sara Ann, and Iliyan Ivanov andpublished in the International Journal of Child and Adolescent Healthin 2014. The purpose of the article was to assess trends on the issueof stimulant abuse by young adults in the U.S. and the most effectivepreventive strategies. The authors identified that the young adultsstart with the consumption of alcohol at parties and end-up tryingnew drugs. This occurs between the age of 18 and 25 years. Duringthis period, many youths find joy in events with loud music, whichinclude clubs, bars, and parties. These events subject the youngadults to the risk of binge drinking as they compete with peers ortry to forget their personal issues. Most of these young adults donot perceive the high risk of addition that is associated with thedrugs (such as cocaine) that they share in the clubs or parties. Thefindings reported in the article will inform the process of designingthe health promotion strategy by replacing the high risk events withsafer ones. For example, young adults will be engaged in sportevents, instead of parties that subject them the risk of bingedrinking.

The article “Perceived mentalhealth treatment need and substance use correlates among youngadults” was written by Michael Mason, Lori Keyser-Marcus, EricBenotsch, Daniel Snipes, and Bela Sood and published in PsychiatricService in 2013. The purpose of this article was to determine theassociation between the perceived need for delivering mentaltreatment, substance use, and reasons for failure to receive mentalcare. The authors identified that treatment for mental disordersreduced the risk of substance abuse. The white males were 3.2 timesmore likely to use marijuana and smoke compared to Hispanic men whoare 2.6 times more likely to engage in the same risky behaviors.Unfortunately, over 7.6 % of these young adults could not accessmental health care services, which was attributed to the high cost oftreatment, lack of knowledge about the location of health facilities,and a false perception that one can handle the situation withoutassistance. These findings will inform the process of designing aneffective health promotion education program. For example, theeducation program will focus on showing the young adults thesignificance of seeking for professional assistance before addictiongets worse.

The article “Substance abuse”was authored and published by Office of Disease Prevention and HealthPromotion in 2014. The purpose of this article was to identifymeasures that could be used to reduce the menace of substance abusewith the objective of increasing health, equality of life, and safetyof the addicts, which is consistent with the goals of the HealthyPeople 2020. The article reported that about 22 million Americanshave been struggling with the issue of substance abuse. About 273,000of them make unsuccessful efforts to access treatment. The findingsreported in the article will be used to design a health promotionprogram that will increase accessibility of treatment services. Forexample, the health promotion program will require educators to offertreatment and education in settings (such as schools) where youngadults are likely to spend most of their time.

Health promotion

The analysis performed in thispaper indicates that the young adults lack the access to treatmentfor addiction due to several reasons, including a perception thatthey can deal with the issue on their own (Mason etal., 2013). This makesit appropriate to use a school-based health promotion approach, whichinvolves the organization of educational programs in the schoolsettings. The majority of the young adults are in high school orcolleges, which imply that implementing the health promotion programsin these institutions of learning, will address the issue ofinaccessibility. Moreover, it will be easier to convince addictedstudents that it is significant to look for a professional assistancein order to help them recover successfully.

The most effective lifestylechange strategy for the young adults would be the selection of thingsthat would replace the triggers of substance use behavior. From thisstudy, it is evident that many young adults experiment with drugswhile in clubs and parties (Lener, Anderson &amp Ivanov, 2014).These events can be replaced with sport events in order to help theyoung adults remain active, entertain themselves, and socializewithout the risk of engaging in substance abuse.


Substance use is a menace thataffects individuals of all age groups, but young adults are affectedthe most. This is because young adults are more likely to be found insocial gatherings (such as parties and clubs) where the accessibilityof substances is high. In addition, young adults are at adevelopmental stage that is characterized by high pressure fromacademic transition and workload that put them under pressure. Thisincreases the risk of abusing substances. The goal of the HealthyPeople 2020 is to reduce the prevalence of substance use and enhancethe quality of life of young adults. However, the achievement of thisgoal requires the formulation of effective health promotion programsand lifestyle strategies. Most of the young adults lack access totreatment for drug addiction due to high cost of health care servicesand a perception that the addicts can resolve the issue on their own.This implies that the health promotion strategies should be offeredin the school settings in order to reach the young adults in a placewhere they are most likely to be found.


Healthy People (2014). Substanceabuse. Healthy People.Retrieved May 31, 2016, from

Lener, M., Anderson, S. &ampIvanov, I. (2014). Illegal stimulant abuse. InternationalJournal of Child and Adolescent Health,7 (4), 339-353.

Mason, J., Keyser-Marcus, L.,Snipes, D. &amp Sood, B. (2013). Perceived mental health treatmentneed and substance use correlates among young adults. PsychiatricServices, 64 (9),871-877.