Is This Becoming the New Normal?
On Friday, September 23, four Las Vegas teens, between the ages of 14- and 16-years-old, were arrested at the Pahrump Fall Festival for illegally carrying drugs, drug paraphernalia, and firearms. Police said they were in possession of a backpack with three firearms inside as well as narcotic drugs that they intended to either use or sell. Law enforcement was alerted of their presence when one of the juveniles threatened another on the festival grounds, which led to a foot chase. Once the teens were arrested and the evidence was gathered, they were booked into the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.
Are Teens Worse-Behaved?
These four teens are fairly exemplary of the perception many older generations have on the societal direction younger generations appear to be going. It seems to be a common thing to hear people say how bad the world is getting, with a rise in violent crime and kids losing their “morals.” Is this recent arrest in Las Vegas further evidence that things are getting worse for teens and everyone else by extension?
Surprisingly this is not the case! In fact, the exact opposite has been taking place—violence has been trending downward for many years. Teens are also no longer taking as many risks as they used to, including a fall in the use of certain kinds of drugs among under-18 populations. This could be a good thing for late Millennials and early Zoomers in terms of life outcomes as they age. We’re already seeing a rise in a new “Sober-Curious” lifestyle among younger generations as mindfulness becomes an important lifestyle choice in the present time.
Teens No Longer Taking Risks
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in December 2021 that adolescent drug-use stats showed a significant decrease during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also that there has been a consistent decline over the last decade. In 2018, a study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) showed that risk behavior by teens has been declining tremendously since at least the 1990s. Even though this study only examines statistics up to 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides more recent data showing a consistent decline in substance use among teens since then. Replacing cigarette use among teens has been binge drinking, which, despite remaining fairly high according to the APA study, has been consistently declining in adolescent populations since at least 2015 according to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Are Our Teens Safe?
With regards to the decline in violent crime, U.S. homicides plateaued in 1974 and began falling precipitously in 1992, when something called the “Great Crime Drop” began. This was a decades-long period denoting a consistent decline in violent crime in most developed Western societies and urban centers. Despite the recent uptick in violent crimes since the COVID-19 pandemic began and the violence that many people have historically seen in developing countries, violence on a global scale remains lower than it has ever been in human history.
A firmly positive view of human history on a grand scale is the only appropriate response to cold, hard data. This does not mean our work isn’t laid out for us! While we don’t treat adolescents, Landmark Recovery of Las Vegas is dedicated to treating adults who suffer from substance use disorders through evidence-based treatment. To learn more about how Landmark Recovery treats its patients, give us a call at 888-448-0302 to speak with a dedicated admissions specialist today. Our mission is to save a million lives by the end of the century and help those in need of treatment get back on their feet.
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