According to a recent report by the World Health Organization, the U.S. leads the world in substance abuse problems. Despite having a higher drinking age than a majority of other countries, and a strict enforcement of drug laws, substance abuse especially with drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol, among youths continues to climb, but why? The adolescent years are some of the most crucial and important years of a person’s life because it is during this time that people start to learn about self-preservation and who they are. Because of this, peer pressure can weigh very heavily on the decisions that an adolescent makes. A lot of the times adolescents will engage in drug or alcohol abuse while at a party because it makes them feel more acceptable among their peers. Another large reason for substance abuse among adolescents is because of pressure that comes from parents and loved ones. Often times parents have high expectations for their children that are just impossible to be reached and in order to deal with this pressure adolescents often turn to drugs and alcohol to escape a feeling of disappointment that has been caused. The influence of the media also has a large influence on the substance abuse of adolescents and adults alike in America. The images of Hollywood starlets, and A-list actors that everyday Americans witness on their televisions introduce an unrealistic view of self-esteem and image that most people have come to learn as “acceptable,” and these views are completely false. Many of these stars are pictured using drugs and alcohol while they are supposedly having fun and adolescents begin to develop the thought process that these types of behaviors are acceptable, when in reality they can become extremely life threatening and dangerous. Adolescents are very impressionable and in trying to achieve the “ideal” image that has been created by our media they often turn to abusing substances such as drugs and alcohol because that is what has been shown as the cool thing to do. So does it really come as a surprise that the U.S. leads the world in substance abuse? I’ll let you be the judge. If you know of an adolescent that is struggling with substance abuse of any kind, help is available to bring about the change that might save his or her life. For more information about drug and alcohol treatment, please visit The Right Step today!