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People abuse substances such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco for varied and complicated reasons, but it is clear that our society pays a significant cost.
The toll for this abuse can be seen through direct damage to health by substance abuse and its link to physical trauma. Jails and prisons tally daily the strong connection between crime and drug dependence and abuse. Although use of some drugs such as cocaine has declined, use of other drugs such as heroin and "club drugs" has increased.
Factors within a family that influence a child's early development have been shown to be related to increased risk of drug abuse.
- Chaotic home environment
- Ineffective parenting
- Lack of nurturing and parental attachment
Factors related to a child's socialization outside the family may also increase risk of drug abuse.
- Inappropriately aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom
- Poor social coping skills
- Poor school performance
- Association with a deviant peer group
Perception of approval of drug use behavior
Finding effective treatment for and prevention of substance abuse has been difficult. Through research, we now have a better understanding of the behavior. Studies have made it clear that drug education and prevention aimed at children and adolescents offers the best chance to curb abuse nationally.