Study Document

Drug Abuse Literature Review

Pages:8 (2545 words)



Topic:Drug Abuse

Document Type:Literature Review


Impact of Drug Abuse on School Children Aged 10 To 18 in Developed Countries (U.S., Canada, France, England, Germany, Italy, Russia, Australia, Japan and China): Narrative Literature Review


The problem addressed in this literature review is that in developed countries around the world, drug abuse among school children between the ages of 10 and 18 is on the rise (UN, 2018). School children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies and minds are still developing and when drugs are introduced to their systems, the impact can be devastating to them personally in physical and mental health terms (Stockings et al., 2016). Yet all around the developed world this is happening. Children are being brought into and exposed to drug culture because drug use, particularly marijuana use is on the rise through vaping, which was meant as a tool to wean tobacco smokers off cigarettes. Instead it is allowing young and younger adolescents to experiment with drugs (Audrain-McGovern, Stone, Barrington-Trimis, Unger & Leventhal, 2018). This is a serious problem and the impacts of this problem need to be better understood as they likely extend beyond the development effects and impact society as well. The population involved in this study is the young school age population—specifically children who are between ages 10 to 18—and the setting is in the following developed countries: U.S., Canada, France, England, Germany, Italy, Russia, Australia, Japan and China. With the opioid epidemic now raging in many parts of the world, it is also a timely study as it will help to address an issue that many nations in the developed world are struggling to face: youth abusing drugs (Murthy, 2016). The legalization of cannabis in many states in the U.S. and other parts of the world is another issue making drug culture more popular (Chu, 2015). For that reason the aim of this study is to assess the actual impact of drug abuse on young school children throughoug the developed world. The goal is to ultimately find a way to address this problem and reverse the drug culture that has brought it about. But before that can be done, the actual effects and impact need to be known. It is in fact a global problem and even impacts third world countries like Ethiopia, where school children abuse inhalants to get a high (Tsegaye, 2016). Obviously youths are attracted to drugs for the effect they produce. But what is the impact of those drugs on these nations? That is what needs to be explored in more detail. This narrative literature review identifies the methods and search strategies used as well as the selection criteria for the literature searches. It then discusses the findings of the literature review in thematic terms and presents a conclusion summarizing what has been learned.

Methods & Search Strategies

The databases utilized for this literature review were accessed through Google Scholar and included ProQuest, PubMed, Scopus, and Sage. These databases were primarily used because they contained all the scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles published on this subject. Terms used in keyword searches included: “drug abuse teens,” “impact drug abuse school children,” “impact drug use developed countries,” “drug abuse developed world,” and “drug abuse effects youth,” “adolescents,” “school-aged children,” “cannabis,” “marijuana use,” “drug abuse adolescents,” “drug abuse developed world,” “Canada,” “France,” “England,” “Germany,” “Italy,” “Russia,” “Australia,” “Japan,” and “China.” Search timeframe was 1 week.

Inclusion Criteria

Exclusion Criteria

· Written in English

· Published between the year 2004 and 2019

· Focusing on the impact of drug abuse among adolescent school children in the developed world

· Specifically mention at least one of the developed countries of U.S., Canada, France, England, Germany, Italy, Russia, Australia, Japan and China

· Studies focusing drug abuse among adults

· Studies exploring drug treatments only with no discussion of the impact of abuse on children

· Studies focusing on drug abuse in the third world

· Non-English

· Studies older than…

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…cultural pressures to experiment with drugs remains and unless the culture is changed somehow it is unlikely that these programs will have a lasting or efficacious effect.


The findings show that the situation is dire and the general impact of drug abuse among school children in the developed world includes: negative cognitive development, increased risky behavior, lack of productivity, decline in living standards and familial relations, decline in social or civic duty, and a decline in mental and physical health. The impacts extend beyond the individual and affect society, the family, the economy and eventually governments, which are tasked with addressing the issues.

The strong relationship between social inequality and drug abuse as well as peer pressure are two issues that have to be discussed more in order to alleviate the situation. The populations of adolescent drug abusers, however, is only likely to worsen, as the research indicates that the age at which drug use is starting is lowering. This means that more and more children are experimenting with drugs, and they are damaging the structure of their brains, as their brains are still in a highly developmental stage and are easily impacted by chemicals introduced and abused in the body. The more that society allows drugs to become socially accepted the greater the risk of abuse is for younger children. This sets up a particularly difficult challenge for governments the world over to address. The young generation is coming into adulthood with serious impairments as a result of drug abuse and it is undermining the health of communities and of economies. The nations of the world may need to work together to focus on what is driving the drug culture and what can be done to thwart it. The acceptance of drug use is so widespread that it should be considered an epidemic and the culture should be considered ground zero.


The findings show that drug abuse among adolescents throughout the developed world is a serious problem…

Sample Source(s) Used


Baggio, S., Spilka, S., Studer, J., Iglesias, K., & Gmel, G. (2016). Trajectories of drug use among French young people: Prototypical stages of involvement in illicit drug use. Journal of Substance Use, 21(5), 485-490.

Bonyani, A., Safaeian, L., Chehrazi, M., Etedali, A., Zaghian, M., & Mashhadian, F. (2018). A high school-based education concerning drug abuse prevention. Journal of education and health promotion, 7.

Chu, Y. W. L. (2015). Do medical marijuana laws increase hard-drug use?. The Journal of Law and Economics, 58(2), 481-517.

Downes, D. (2017). The drug addict as a folk devil. In Drugs and politics (pp. 89-97). Routledge.

Goodchild, M., Nargis, N., & d'Espaignet, E. T. (2018). Global economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases. Tobacco control, 27(1), 58-64.

Grant, C. N., & Bélanger, R. E. (2017). Cannabis and Canada’s children and youth.  Paediatrics & child health, 22(2), 98-102.

Herbert, A., Gonzalez-Izquierdo, A., McGhee, J., Li, L., & Gilbert, R. (2016). Time-trends in rates of hospital admission of adolescents for violent, self-inflicted or drug/alcohol-related injury in England and Scotland, 2005–11: population-based analysis. Journal of Public Health, 39(1), 65-73.

Henkel, D., & Zemlin, U. (2016). Social inequality and substance use and problematic gambling among adolescents and young adults: a review of epidemiological surveys in Germany. Current drug abuse reviews, 9(1), 26-48.

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