Adolescence refers to the age group from 14 to 26 years. Ten percent of this age group use party drugs (Bennett, 2003). According to Arnett (2004) , this period of development is distinguished by five characteristics: identity exploration, instability, self-focus, a feeling of in-between and possibilities (Arnett, 2004, pg. 14). It is against these five characteristics that the impact of party drugs on the youth culture will be assessed. This essay will explore how the characteristics of adolescence place teenagers at risk from drug experimentation and how the perception of policy makers will influence the community’s response to the problem.
The exploration of identity involves having a range of experiences that provides the
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Within party drug users there are the same segments that are feature of any drug user cross section. Some users abuse the drug and are at risk from overdose and dehydration. Others are more controlled and cautious in their use. This group is at risk from being unable to identify the ingredients of the drug that they are purchasing. One of the key problems with party drugs is the inability for the buyer to know the ingredients contained in the drug that they are purchasing (VAAD, 2003). Users of party drugs will tend to repeat their use on a regular basis. According to Baxter (2003) users are concerned that there is no means of determining the purity and reducing the level of risk.
Males tend to use party drugs more frequently than females. This tends to indicate that there is greater gender difference where males are less risk averse. This trend is declining as more and more females are using party drugs. This trend reflects the emancipation of women and a stronger sense of independence amongst adolescent women. The traditional delineation of the rite of passage for the male and the female have become blurred in modern society. Women will often use drugs to challenge the traditional perceptions of their role in society.
Within the community, there are people that see drug abuse as being criminal while others see it as a social and health problem. The criminal perspective adopts a punishment solution with rehabilitation. Such a