Drugs and Literature

Start Free Trial

What are the trends of drug use among American children and young adults?

Quick answer:

Drug use in American children and young adults has been impacted by the Internet, as it has greatly widened the range of drugs available to young people. The many different types of synthetic cannabinoids are particularly popular. The Internet offers a great deal of information about drugs, as well as a safer and more anonymous way to purchase them.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Internet has greatly influenced recent trends of drug use in American children and young adults. First, the Internet offers a huge amount of information on the characteristics and likely effects of many different drugs. This means that young people are taking a much wider range of drugs than the handful of opiates and hallucinogens traditionally associated with the adolescent drug experience. Synthetic cannabinoids, often sold as liquids which can be smoked in e-cigarettes, are popular, along with various pharmaceuticals primarily used as pain-relievers, such as Kratom. Marijuana, however, has remained fairly popular, though it is now available in a wider range of forms. LSD has enjoyed something of a resurgence.

The Internet also offers increasingly anonymous methods of ordering and paying for drugs, sometimes using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, with untraceable transactions taking place on the dark web. This means that many young drug users have never encountered a dealer in person and do not have to undergo physical risk in order to obtain the drugs, making the experience seem safer. Many young people who use drugs quickly come to view their purchases as very similar to other online transactions with companies such as Amazon, ordering from a range of products, the effects of which are carefully explained and even verified by reviews from previous users.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial