The first influence in a United States citizens life is the citizens family. The ways in which the family views political issues has a big effect on the ways that the individual also views these issues. Parents teach their children about the value of participating in the political system through their example and approval. Therefore, if the family has a strong addictive, anti-social tendency towards the political factions of their society, there will be a stong tendency towards the same anti-social perspective created in their children. In The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Volume 24, number 4, Jeanette Taylor, M. A.
states that, after tabulation for the families of 35 delinquent, substance-abusing (multiple problem) adolescent males, as expected, a significant, positive correlation among conduct disorder, anti-social personality disorder, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse was found for each corresponding males family. It was concluded that identifying male multiple problem youths also identifies families with a high incidence of similar problems. This information states that a families tendencies are an almost mirror image of what their childrens tendencies are likely to be. With these conduct and personality disorders on the rise, our nation can only be led to increasing non-participation and growing ill feelings towards political issues in our country as well as a decline in general morality and good health. In a recent National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information press release, the findings were revealed that, in fact, an estimated 52 percent (113 million) of the U. S.
population, age 12 and older reported current use of alcohol in 1998. Of these, about 33 million (29. 2 percent) were engaged in binge drinking and 12 million (10. 6 percent) were heavy drinkers. The percentages of the population falling into these different groups have not changed since 1988. These facts clearly define the problems associated with alcohol and drug addiction in the United States, as does this further information from the same press release define this countrys problems of drug addiction.
In 1998, an estimated 13. 6 million Americans overall (6. 2 percent of the U. S. population age 12 and older) were current users of illicit drugs.
The NHSDA provides annual estimates of the prevalence of illicit drug, alcohol, and tobacco use in the U. S. and monitors the trends in use over time. The above information is based on a representative sample of the United States population age 12 and older, including persons living in households and in some group quarters such as dormitories and homeless shelters.
In 1998, a sample of 25,500 persons was interviewed for the survey. It is important to note that the finding revealed alcohol and drug usage at earlier ages than previously realized. It is at these early ages in which children are most influenced by the daily occurrences within their homes and by their environments and peers. These early ages are clearly defined as the formative years. With such a prevalent existence of substance abuse in this country, one cannot help but understand why participation in our political processes is decreasing.
Far more alarming is the trend in Prison populations. Since 1980, the number of persons incarcerated in state and federal prisons has increased from about a half a million to more than 1. 7 million, also quotes the text, American Government and Politics Today, by Schmidt, Shelley, and Bardes. Those individuals, so incarcerated, are already removed from our political process in the sense of this paper. There .