Adolescence is described as the period between childhood and adulthood, and has defined as being a period of biological, cognitive and socioemotional change. (Santrock, 1999 p.26). The qualities of adolescent behaviour is often stereotyped and portrayed in a negative view. .
A study by the Department of Education , Training and Youth Affairs found that young people are portrayed by the media as alcoholics, drug abusers, criminals, bludgers and lazy. This was a survey of attitudes to media coverage of adolescents . Respondents to another survey found that more than half of respondents thought that stories about young people were negative and only 18% could remember positive stories in the twelve months previous to the survey. (Coleman 1999, p. 9.).
It is true that adolescent development is a complex issue, yet most adolescents are able to successfully negotiate their way along the path from childhood to adulthood with little or minor "emotional disturbances", or ominous "lures from Satan". However there are many factors which can lead an adolescent onto a destructive path. Adolescence is also a period of initiation and experimentation. In Australian society most adolescents must learn to cope with pressures from study, teachers and parents whilst attempting to establish peer relations while trying to come to terms with their changing bodies, sexual identity and forthcoming independence. .
It is during this period that an adolescent can adopt behaviours, which become a means of coping or adaptation to their changing world. One destructive behaviour that adolescents employ for various reasons, including these is drug abuse. (Santrock, 1996, p. 487).
Since the beginning of history. Humans have searched for substances that would sustain and produce pleasurable sensations. (Santrock, 1996, p.487). Santrock (1996) suggests that "young people take drugs to reduce tension and frustration, relieve boredom and in some cases to help to escape the harsh realities of their world.