Adolescents, like adults, are often affected by their environments and have to build a barrier of resilience to survive falling into the trap of using drugs. Resiliency is the ability of an individual, family, group, community, or organization to recover from adversity and resume functioning even when suffering serious trouble, confusion, or hardship (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman 2015, 18). Discussions about the acceptance of legalizing marijuana, by many states, can often be heard on daily news programs and could cause adolescents additional problems when trying to avoid the use of marijuana.
The article, “If drugs does that to you, then I don’t want it.”, offers an insight to the approach inner-city African-American and Latino adolescents are using to avoid marijuana use (Gilliard-Matthews, Stevens and Medina, 2016). Within the Systems Theory, the family system can be viewed as a useful system to help adolescents continue to positively function in their environments by fighting discrimination of stereotypes and poverty. Resiliency, which can generate strength, can be used to fight stereotypes of male adolescents which have often been painted as liable to become drug users.
While some inner-city adolescents use marijuana, this article interviewed many inner-city African-American and Latino boys that have used resilience to avoid the use of this drug. Resiliency within the family system may contribute to the risk and protection factors that can provide positive guidance and real-life examples of the negative outcomes of drug use. There are times when family members can explain the negative effects’ marijuana can have on the development of the child’s mind and can show how long-term use of marijuana can impact the child.
While marijuana use is not limited to inner-city African American and Latino youth only, society often views them in a more harsh light.
Many inner-city youths living in poverty and exposed to drug dealers are often stereotyped as having a high rate of drug use. While being exposed to the ability to obtain drugs, this article states the following, “However, not all adolescents exposed to neighborhoods plagued by poverty, violence, and open-air drug markets exhibit risk-taking behavior or delinquency” (Gordon Rouse, Ingersoll, and Orr 1998; McKnight and Loper 2002; Ostaszewski and Zimmerman 2006, 4). It should not be hard to believe that adolescents often take steps to avoid drug use and don’t use poverty or growing up in the inner-city as excuses to use drugs; instead, many adolescents can look at social media daily and view the negative outcomes of drug use.
Resiliency, as stated in the Systems theory, can be seen as a positive factor contributing to their avoidance of drugs. Parental monitoring may have also been an influence of the boy’s lack of use of drugs. By stating their values, parents offer an ethical foundation for their children. Values which can be described as an individual’s opinion about what is good and acceptable can be viewed as a transaction within the ecosystem theory. When family members communicate and interact with each other, it is called a transaction which can be positive or negative and offer a means of empowerment. Helping a child to avoid drug use can be seen as a positive use of within the family system.
Overcoming adverse situations, like the avoidance of using marijuana, can be contributed to the resilience of these adolescents; however, self-perception also played a huge part in their choice to avoid drug use. Viewing drug-related social media stories and personally seeing individuals negatively affected by drugs have reinforced the family systems theory that states that a person can be empowered to overcome many of life obstacles by being resilient.