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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, Professor Emeritus of the School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra.
The myth of drugs as "friendly substances".
The current social and legal tolerance of the growing consumption of drugs by adolescents and young people shows that we live in a "drug culture", which is presented as "friendly substances". From the "psychedelic culture" both legal and illegal drugs are being promoted. There are books, magazines and internet blogs that incite the consumption of all kinds of drugs subject . Drugs are presented as a pleasant social custom among friends and as a way to free oneself from all problems, especially those of loneliness and boredom.
This idealized and falsified vision of drugs usually reaches adolescents through some of the characters they admire, generally from the world of movies and songs. With the disappearance of the "heroes" who served as models of identification to build their nascent personality (clear mirrors in which to look at themselves and recognize themselves), society offers them only idols with feet of clay. It is not infrequent that in the absence of inspiration some artists look for it in an artificial way, resorting to a shortcut: the consumption of drugs; it is not surprising that they fail, because the use of drugs is the Withdrawal to the creative process. There are geniuses who take drugs, but not drug addicts who become geniuses. Most experts agree that drugs not only do not improve the creativity of artists, but worsen it.
Drug use by adolescents continues to increase dramatically, despite measures taken to curb it, such as prosecuting traffickers. The cause of the problem is not simply that there is a lot of supply and well-established distribution networks; the fundamental factor is that there is a lot of demand. Many adolescents and young people sniff glue and other household products: if the drug does not reach them, they invent it; they believe they "need it".
Why are so many adolescents still open to drug use, despite having been informed that it seriously damages the brain and causes illnesses and much suffering? An eminent psychiatrist, Juan José López Ibor, stated as early as 1966 that the fundamental factor in adolescent drug addiction is the destruction of values, the nihilism that characterizes contemporary society. He added that the lack of an ethical reference letter hinders the process of training, creating insecure personalities that lead to anguish and that seek self-affirmation by resorting to drugs. The absence of a sense of meaning in life gives drugs meaning.
The programs of study shows that there is a high correlation between adolescent psychology and the role of drugs. This does not mean that adolescents are necessarily destined to drug addiction; it does mean that more and more adolescents see drugs as a solution to age-related problems. Drugs are seen as a means to get rid of frustrations, fears and anxiety. Many adolescents take drugs because they are in an insufferable state of almost permanent boredom, derived from their inner emptiness; in this status drug is their artificial paradise.
Preventive information campaigns are necessary, but they are proving to be insufficient and, in some cases, counterproductive. Providing adolescents with information about drugs by putting fear into their bodies can produce a boomerang effect that, instead of reducing, increases the level of involvement with drugs. The failure of some information campaigns is due to the fact that they arrive late - when the target audience has already started using drugs - and that they focus the information on the dangers of drug use, which tends to trigger the typical attraction of adolescents to risk and the forbidden.
Some recent preventive information campaigns have been successful in anticipating and targeting pre-adolescents, focusing on the advantages of avoiding drug use, and adding training of willpower to the information: financial aid adolescents are taught to be assertive and decisive in resisting invitations to try drugs, to be able to say "no" to drugs. That goal is more likely to be achieved in cases where the Education of will was initiated in the family, perhaps from the day the child was no longer allowed to keep opening the jam jar at all hours.