Teen substance abuse is once again on the rise, according to a national study of adolescent drug and alcohol use released this week. The annual release of the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) showed an alarming increase in adolescent substance abuse since 2008.
According to the study (PDF), teen illicit drug use and prescription drug abuse have significantly increased in the past three years. Marijuana use among adolescents increased 22 percent from 2008 to 2010, with nearly 40 percent of teens using the drug within the past year. Ecstasy use is also on the rise, increasing from 6 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2010. Likewise, 25 percent of teens admit they’ve taken medication not prescribed by their doctor, and one in five has used a behind-the-counter pain reliever without the direction of a doctor. This new data is especially worrisome, as it suggests that teen drug use is climbing again after a relative decline over the past decade.
Unfortunately, adolescent substance abuse is not reserved to the halls of high schools or prom after-parties. The nationally projectable study found an increase in alcohol use among young teens and even pre-adolescents. Almost two in three teens who admit to drinking alcohol said they had consumed their first full drink at age 15. Shockingly, 25 percent of the same group said they had first imbibed at 12 years old or younger.
[…]Whether teens have regular contact with their parents, especially with their fathers, can have significant impact on illicit drug and alcohol use. For instance, a child growing up in a divorced family is four times more likely to try illicit drugs by the time he or she is 14 than the same child raised in an intact, married family. Children who live with both parents and have close relationships with their fathers are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, or use marijuana regardless of many other socioeconomic factors.
Religious practice also seems to have a positive effect on teens’ engagement in risky behavior. Adolescents who express personal religious beliefs and whose families regularly practice their faith are at lower risk for substance abuse. Fewer than one in 10 teens from an intact, religious family report ever using hard drugs, while more than one in five adolescents from non-intact, non-religious homes have abused illicit substances.
(I removed the links from the excerpt, but every assertion they make is linked to research)
I found this very interesting, especially since I was recently responding to a post that William Lane Craig posted on Facebook. Bill wanted to know why so many people seem to be incapable of considering both sides of a debate and judging who won the debate based on the arguments and evidence presented. This is relevant because in his two most recent debates, the atheists either presented no arguments or they did not attempt to refute his arguments or rebuttals. Bill’s question made me think of all the other factors that cause people to be unable to consider the case for Christianity on the merits, in a debate situation.
I replied to Bill that there were social forces that were breaking down children’s ability to consider both sides of questions so they could make their own decisions, instead of doing what their teachers and peers tell them to do, and this was especially bad as families break down and fathers are ejected from the home by women who chose to have sex with or marry men who are not qualified to be fathers, because they are not capable of being moral/spiritual leaders.
To answer Bill’s original question in the post, I think you have to point out what the public school system is doing to students. The public schools are not encouraging students to learn both sides of current issues so that they can debate them. They have a definite point of view that they are pushing, from the authority of the red pen.
For example, do you think that most public school teachers give equal time to proponents of vouchers or other school choice alternatives? Heck no. They have to be in favor of bigger government and higher taxes – that’s how they get paid. And you can see the same thing in debates about sexual ethics, moral relativism, moral equivalence, evolution, global warming, anti-capitalism, and so on.
They have an agenda. And when you have an agenda, you don’t present issues as having two sides that have to be judged on the merits. Instead, the public schools typically present one side with emotional stories or slogans, and the other side is derided with insults or made out to be a bogey-man. That’s the reason why the atheistic students cannot assess who won the debate. They have been trained in the schools to think one side is correct without ever have to assess the other side.
My favorite economist (Thomas Sowell) puts it well in this column:
I think it’s high time for Christian apologists to realize that it takes more than the kalam argument to defeat an atheist. You have to think of the dimension of family, and the schools, and even the laws and policies that incentivize certain behaviors that, one adopted into a lifestyle, make Christianity unpalatable because of its ethical demands.
Consider the impact on having a FATHER in the home on religious belief:
And further consider that fatherlessness is correlated with atheism:
Now – the question to ask is – what policies promote having a father in the home. Well, no-fault divorce and welfare programs certainly do not promote having a father in the home, for example. So the reason why so many people cannot judge a debate may not be as simple as saying “Bill Craig is a bad debater”. Bill Craig is an excellent debater. But if there are other circumstances at work due to bad policies that make children incapable of even considering the other side, then what can Bill Craig do? Well, Bill Craig could write about policy, I suppose, although we have other scholars for that. But we should all be thinking about it.
I’ve written before about how liberal women choose big government policies that will provide them with financial security regardless of who they choose to have sex with or marry. Liberal women like big government because it relieves of the responsibility to be prudent when choosing men. Tomorrow I am actually going to be explaining, with research, how liberal women actually resent the idea that they would have to conform to choice of sex partner/husband to any traditional male roles or to any courting rules. So long as liberal women continue to vote for big government and choose men based on superficialities like physical appearance, clothes, air of confidence and tone of voice, we are screwed as a society.
Men conform themselves to women’s expectations. If the ability to be a protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader are not the criteria that women use to choose men, then men will change into what women want. Women are the deciders. Men adapt to women’s expectations. That is why it is so important for women to put down the women’s magazines and pick up the research showing the importance of fathers, and specifically, the importance of fathers who have rationally-grounded, well-evidenced KNOWLEDGE about moral and spiritual matters. So long as women view men who have knowledge as “too strict” and “no fun”, children will be damaged.