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Essay on Population and Social Issues

7 pages
1795 words
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Social issues are problems that affect a significant number of people in society. An example of such issues is poverty, unemployment, drugs and substance abuse, etc. A group setting can be used to address social issues because it affects many people in the society. Drug and substance issue is a social concern that can be addressed in a group setting. It is an issue that affects a considerable number of people in society. Specifically, the population in which the problem can be studied is among the different categories of youth, who are the most affected.

Literature Review

In the recent years, drug abuse has been on the rise among the youth. The use of marijuana, in particular, has increased by about 26 percent especially among the youth still in school according to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (Lutz, McClure, & Armstrong, 2017). Alcohol is a special concern as the youth are getting involved in its consumption at very tender ages. The implications of this for the youth and the society at large are grave, hence the need to curb this trend. It includes increased risk of spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV among the youth, erratic behavior resulting in juvenile delinquency, and higher risks for vehicle accident fatalities. Several factors predispose youth to drug and substance abuse.

Being mistreated as a child is a factor that could make a child more likely to abuse drugs in future. Lutz et al. (2017) there exists a relationship between high abuse of illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana and physical and sexual abuse. Studies indicate that approximately 30 percent of children involved in abuse either physical or sexual participate in drug abuse (Lutz et al., 2017). Out of thirty-five studies carried out, one review indicates that most findings consistently depict maltreatment of a child is a predisposing factor for early onset of drug abuse. The reason why maltreatment of an individual as a child increases the risk of drug abuse is that it stresses the brain particularly the amygdala. Amygdala is responsible for transmission of emotions which through a cascade of events leads to susceptibility to drug abuse (Lutz et al., 2017). It implies that drug and substance abuse is linked to brain development and hormones and neurotransmitters balance.

Social factors such as association with gangs, negative peer pressure, bullying, and popularity contribute to increasing the risk for the youth, specifically adolescents being involved in drug abuse. Literature shows that association with gangs exceeds all the other social factors in increasing the risk of youth being involved in drug and substance abuse, specifically marijuana and alcohol (Lutz, McClure, & Armstrong, 2017). The reason is gangs tend to make the use of these drugs seem attractive, and their use makes one fit in. Victims of bullying have higher chances of being involved in substance abuse and are predisposed to other mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Popularity and peer pressure are mostly related to cigarette and alcohol abuse. Girls may smoke to cope with stress, whereas boys may do so to elevate their social status. The implication of this is that the prevention and control of substance abuse will differ between the two sexes. Studies done by Lutz et al. (2017) indicate that adolescents who want to be leaders of a given social group tend to engage in smoking, whereas those that seek acceptance engage in alcohol consumption.

Emotional abuse and neglect also raise the risk of substance abuse (Guo, Slensnick, & Feng, 2015). Emotional abuse, for instance, witnessing domestic violence makes a child three times more likely to use drugs such as alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and other hard drugs. The reason is witnessing violence creates stress. Hence one tends to turn to drugs to cope with the stress. Studies done by Guo et al. (2015) show that victims of neglect are at a higher risk of substance abuse. Negligence could be due to a harsh family environment where there is conflict within the home or negative family environment leading to stress. Stress causes heightened responsiveness to emotions which predispose to depression. Hence most youth turn to drugs to cope with their problems.

Individual risk factors include depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD are 1.47 to 3 times more likely to be engaged in drug abuse (Whitesell, Bachand, Peel, & Brown, 2013). The reason is they are distracted and forgetful and often characterized with ongoing hyperactivity-impulsivity. Depression is characterized by anger, gloom, pain or sadness. Studies show that youths experiencing depression are twelve times more likely to be engaged in drug and substance abuse, specifically alcohol (Whitesell et al., 2013). The findings, therefore, confirm that the state of ones brain regarding neurotransmitters and other biomolecules influences their chances of being involved in drug abuse.

Rationale for Group Development, Its Composition, Purpose, and Focus

In a group setup, communication between the members can be utilized to generate data. Unlike other methods of data collection such as interview, groups make use of the interaction between participants (Overview of Social Group Methodology, 2012). The reason for the development of a group is that it aids in the exploration and clarification of individuals views in a manner less accessible in an interview. Given the diverse nature of drug and substance abuse, specifically regarding reasons for participation, a group will be useful due to the use of many open-ended questions. A group is ideal for the study of this social issue because it encourages the participation of individuals who are reluctant to be singly interviewed and encourages the involvement of those that may feel have nothing to contribute (Overview of Social Group Methodology, 2012).

The group would be composed of youths aged 16-21 years from diverse backgrounds. They would comprise teenagers continuing with their studies, youths who dropped out of school, those from stable families, and those from unstable families.

The purpose of group development is to ensure that there is homogeneity in the group to facilitate the collection of data (Overview of Social Group Methodology, 2012). The role of the group is to present a platform on which the selected individuals share their views on the subject which is drug and substance abuse.

The focus of group would be the factors which increase the risk of youths becoming engaged in drug and substance abuse. The focus would be mainly on the personal views of participants and what they think are the influences that may have contributed to their personal experiences.

Techniques to Orient Group Members and Processes to Follow in the Introductory Phase of the Group

Several techniques can be used to familiarize group members. Conduction of pre-group interviews with individual members will brief them on what the group will be about and aid in familiarizing them with the group before meeting the rest of the group members. Behind the mind, techniques can be used to help the group members connect with their subconscious and therefore be able to give honest opinions and inner feelings and not conditioned answers. The use of questions and discussions could help members become acquainted at this stage (Overview of Social Group Methodology, 2012).

The introductory phase entails members getting acquainted, exploration of the topic and group composition, members deciding whether they will be included or not, and development of trust by group members (Overview of Social Group Methodology, 2012). Periods of silence and awkwardness may be present before the participants decide to what extent they will share information.

Working and Termination Phases of the Group

At the working stage, the norms previously established are solidified. The leader could use various intervention techniques at this point to engage the members. Participants can relate to each other in more direct ways. There is increased group cohesion which encourages the participation and contribution of group members. At this stage, the group members become acquainted with each other and can work together. (Overview of Social Group Methodology, 2012)

The termination phase deals are the last phase in which there is winding up. In this phase, all unfinished business must be dealt with by the leader. The experiences of the group are reviewed at this point. Feedback is given and received in the termination phase. Also, ways in which further study could be conducted is presented (Overview of Social Group Methodology, 2012).

Role of the Leader

It is the leaders responsibility to formulate a structure that will enable participants to maximize the group process. The leader should ensure a balance in the groups composition by assessing and making necessary adjustments (Kovisto & Lipponen, 2015). The leader should maintain ethics, integrity, and discipline. The leader should facilitate external and internal communications within the group. The leader should ensure members of the group get along for smooth operation of the group (Kovisto & Lipponen, 2015).

Techniques and Strategies for Intervention

Techniques for intervention include community development, individual casework, and group work. Drugs and substance abuse is a problem that affects the community at large. Community development where members of the society are involved in a useful strategy. Individual casework promotes the identification and utilization of a persons social network expertise and experience to confidence and self-esteem to assimilate the different approaches to problems and to engage them in problem-solving. Group work is ideal for this issue as it promotes the use collective expertise and experiences to share effective solutions and encourage self-esteem, identity, confidence, and provide mutual support. (Overview of Social Group Methodology, 2012)

The Processes of Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential as it will help clarify the problem and therefore narrow the scope of study for effective data collection and analysis (Koivisto & Lipponen, 2015). The first step in goal setting is a determination of the timeline of the study. The identification of priorities follows, based on the strategic direction the study should take and then develop an action plan to guide the group towards the realization of its goal. The SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and achievable) criteria could be utilized. In this case, the priority is to establish the relationship between the various environmental predisposing factors and drug abuse. Therefore, the goal of the study would be to determine the relationship between environmental influences and substance abuse.

The Process of Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Dynamics

Intrapersonal dynamics are changes that happen within a person whereas interpersonal dynamics entails exchanges between individuals (Beauregard, 2010). Both intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics are essential in a group setting. Intrapersonal intelligence could be promoted by encouraging self-awareness, embracing ones identity and emotions. Interpersonal intelligence is inspired by helping people to share their opinions and feelings to facilitate effective communication and interaction among group members (Beauregard, 2010).


The social concern to be addressed in a group setting is drug and substance abuse. The population is youths aged 16-21 from diverse backgrounds. From literature, several environmental factors influence the risk of youths engaging in drug abuse. They include mistreatment as a child, emotional and physical abuse, neglect social factors such as gang affiliation. Individu...

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