NRS 434 Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Sample Answer for NRS 434 Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources Included After Question

Research the range of contemporary issues teenagers face today. In a 500-750-word paper, choose one issue (besides teen pregnancy) and discuss its effect on adolescent behavior and overall well-being. Include the following in your submission:

  1. Describe the contemporary issue and explain what external stressors are associated with this issue.
  2. Outline assessment strategies to screen for this issue and external stressors during an assessment for an adolescent patient. Describe what additional assessment questions you would need to ask and define the ethical parameters regarding what you can and cannot share with the parent or guardian.
  3. Discuss support options for adolescents encountering external stressors. Include specific support options for the contemporary issue you presented. 

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

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A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NRS 434 Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Title: NRS 434 Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Adolescence is a very challenging stage of life during which intellectual, psychological, physical, and emotional changes occur. In as much as adolescence is considered a relatively healthy stage in life, individuals in this age group start making important life choices and establishing behaviors that impact both their current and future overall health. Adolescents tend to exhibit several serious social, safety, and health issues such as violence, substance use, bullying, delinquency, depression, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, and teenage pregnancy, which can negatively impact their health and well-being (Rougemont-Bücking, et al., 2017). The paper will however focus on substance use and abuse as the main contemporary issue affecting adolescents in the current world.

Substance Use and Associated External Stressors

Substance use and abuse is a major concern among several countries across the globe. Studies show that more than a quarter of individuals between the age of 15 to 19 years are current alcoholics, amounting to approximately 155 million adolescents. The most commonly abused drug by adolescents in the United States is cannabis, with a prevalence of 4.7% according to data collected in 2018 by the WHO (Thorpe, Hamidullah, Jenkins, & Khokhar, 2020). Studies have also associated the recent increase in substance use and abuse among adolescents to several external stressors such as peer pressure, divorce, lack of parental guidance, and physical or sexual assault among others. Substance use and abuse among adolescents can lead to reduced self-control and increased risky behaviors such as unsafe sex and violence, which may cause physical injuries and mental disorders compromising the patient’s health.

Assessment Strategies to Screen for Substance Use and External Stressors

Routine screening for substance use among adolescents is quite crucial for early detection of associated health complications and to indicate the degree of severity of the disorder for appropriate intervention. During routine adolescent examination, the clinician needs to incorporate assessment of substance use when taking the patient’s history (Eisenberg et al., 2020). The assessment will entail the administration of several screening tools for substance use. For instance, for general alcohol and drug screening, tools such as the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) among others.

During the assessment, the clinician is required to ask several questions to understand the background of the adolescent, substance use history, and mental health problems. For background information, the adolescent must report on the history of domestic violence, trauma, financial situation, family status, housing status, family strengths, and education. For information regarding substance use, the clinician will ask questions such as whether the adolescent has been using any drug of abuse, what drug they have been using, the age of the first use, the driving force of using the drug, and family history of substance use problems (Kennedy et al., 2019). A mental health examination will be necessary if the patient reports any associated mental or behavioral symptoms.

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Despite adolescents being minors and their parents and guardians taking responsibility for their health, legal and ethical requirements however state that adolescents are entitled to the right of confidentiality and autonomy (Fortuna, Porche, & Padilla, 2018). As such, the parents can only be informed about the overall health status of the adolescent, with additional information regarding any concerning sign and symptoms, that require their intervention, such as substance use disorder, suicidal ideation, and potential harm to self or other. However, the minor details disclosed by the adolescent must remain private to enhance trust and a healthy relationship with the patient.

Support Options for Adolescents Encountering External Stressors

Several interventions have been identified through EBP to provide support for adolescents encountering external stressors that can compromise their quality of life. For starters, the clinician must engage in conversation with the adolescent encouraging them to make healthy choices to avoid, reduce or prevent risk behaviors despite the magnitude of the stressor. Consequently, the use of motivation-enhancing principles should be encouraged for both the clinician and the adolescent’s parents or guardians, to help them open up and seek help in case the external stressors for substance use have started impacting their lives negatively (Eisenberg et al., 2020). Positive reinforcement and increased patient education on substance use and associated health complications might also be necessary.

NRS 434 Adolescence Contemporary Issues and Resources
NRS 434 Adolescence Contemporary Issues and Resources


Adolescents are faced with several challenges as a result of both internal and external stressors, which compromise their quality of life. One of the most common challenges is substance use and abuse (Kennedy et al., 2019). However, with appropriate screening and intervention, adolescents can prevent or reduce the impact of external stressors on their quality of life.


Rougemont-Bücking, A., Grazioli, V. S., Daeppen, J. B., Gmel, G., & Studer, J. (2017). Family-related stress versus external stressors: Differential impacts on alcohol and illicit drug use in young men. European addiction research23(6), 284-297.

Kennedy, B., Chen, R., Fang, F., Valdimarsdottir, U., Montgomery, S., Larsson, H., & Fall, K. (2019). Low-stress resilience in late adolescence and risk of smoking, high alcohol consumption, and drug use later in life. J Epidemiol Community Health73(6), 496-501.

Eisenberg, M. E., Erickson, D. J., Gower, A. L., Kne, L., Watson, R. J., Corliss, H. L., & Saewyc, E. M. (2020). Supportive community resources are associated with lower risk of substance use among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning adolescents in Minnesota. Journal of youth and adolescence49(4), 836-848.

Fortuna, L. R., Porche, M. V., & Padilla, A. (2018). A treatment development study of a cognitive and mindfulness‐based therapy for adolescents with co‐occurring post‐traumatic stress and substance use disorder. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice91(1), 42-62.

Thorpe, H. H., Hamidullah, S., Jenkins, B. W., & Khokhar, J. Y. (2020). Adolescent neurodevelopment and substance use: receptor expression and behavioral consequences. Pharmacology & therapeutics206, 107431.

A Sample Answer 2 For the Assignment: NRS 434 Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Title: NRS 434 Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Teenagers are a special group due to their increased predisposition to health issues in their environments. Nurses play a critical role in ensuring the adoption of interventions that minimize their exposure to environmental risks that could cause them health problems. They also educate their families about the importance of promoting environmental health and safety for their health and wellbeing. Therefore, this assignment examines the contemporary issue of drug abuse among teenagers in the modern world.

Selected Contemporary Issue

The selected contemporary issue is the use of drugs and substances among teenagers. According to the data by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS), drug and substance abuse among teenagers is a critical public health concern. The data shows that at least 1 in every 8 teenagers abused an illicit substance in the past year (NCDAS, 2021). The statistics also show that there was a 61% increase in the use of drugs among eighth-graders between the years 2016 and 2020. In addition, 62% of the teenagers abuse alcohol by the time they are 12th graders. At least 50% of teenagers have abused a drug with 83% of them knowing someone that drinks, smokes, or abuses drugs during their school days (NCDAS, 2021). Drug and substance abuse among teenagers have adverse effects on their health. The effects include increased risk for addiction, delayed growth and development, engagement in risky behaviors, and health problems such as heart disease, sleep disorders, and hypertension (McCabe et al., 2018). Therefore, it is important that interventions that minimize the predisposition of teenagers to drugs and substance abuse be embraced.

External Stressors

Several external stressors predispose teenagers to drug and substance abuse. One of them is peer pressure. Pressure from other teenagers increases the risk of teenagers abusing drugs. The pressure could be from friends, who normalize the abuse of drugs (Wang et al., 2020). An additional stressor is the family use of drugs. Children born to families with individuals that abuse drugs are increasingly predisposed to abusing drugs. The other stressor is bullying in schools. Bullying among teenagers in schools increases their risk for drug abuse to overcome the negative effects of their experiences (Wang et al., 2020). Living in communities with a high rate of drug and substance abuse also acts as a stressor that predisposes teenagers to drugs and substance abuse.

Assessment Strategies

Accurate assessment of teenagers for substance abuse and its associated risk factors is important to facilitate the development of appropriate treatment strategies. The assessment can be achieved by obtaining both subjective and objective data. Subjective data focuses on the experiences of teenagers with drug and substance abuse. Non-judgmental questions such as those related to the frequency, quantity, and severity of effects of drug and substance abuse should be obtained (US Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF], 2018). In addition, screening tools should be used to examine the existence of substance abuse problems and their severity. Some of the screening tools include the Personal Experience Screening Questionnaire and CRAFT tool.

The other assessment strategy entails the acquisition of data from the client concerning the external stressors contributing to the problem (Jamal et al., 2017). A focus is placed on factors such as the effect of school, home, and community environment on their drug abuse behaviors. The additional questions that should be asked include those related to parental support, sexual behaviors and identity, and sources of the abused drugs by the teenagers (Jamal et al., 2017). Private and confidential information such as those related to sexual identity and illegal behaviors of the teenagers may not be shared with the guardian or parents.

Support Options

A number of support options exist for adolescents experiencing external stressors such as drugs and substance abuse. One of the options is the implementation of public health programs targeting this vulnerable population. The programs should focus on creating awareness among teenagers about the risk factors, causes, effects, and treatments available for those who abuse drugs. The programs will create awareness and strengthen the adoption of measures that minimize their vulnerability (USPSTF, 2018). The second intervention entails the provision of treatment to the affected teenagers. Treatment should aim at reducing dependency and assisting them to overcome their addiction problems (Wang et al., 2020). There is also the need to link the teenagers with the existing social support systems for substance and drug abuse. The social support systems will help them develop effective coping strategies for their addictive behaviors. They will also facilitate their reintegration into society and acceptance. The last intervention entails promoting advocacy for social change (Wang et al., 2020). Nurses and other stakeholders should work in collaboration to increase the need for the creation of safe environments free from drug and substance abuse.


Overall, drug and substance abuse among teenagers is a critical public health concern. Risk factors such as peer pressure, family use of drugs, and community prevalence of drug and substance abuse act as stressors for the problem among teenagers. Accurate assessment and diagnosis are important to facilitate appropriate treatment interventions for teenagers. Therefore, nurses should champion the implementation of strategies that prevent and minimize the exposure of teenagers to drugs and substances.


Jamal, A., Gentzke, A., Hu, S. S., Cullen, K. A., Apelberg, B. J., Homa, D. M., & King, B. A. (2017). Tobacco use among middle and high school students—United States, 2011–2016. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(23), 597–603.

McCabe, S. E., West, B. T., & McCabe, V. V. (2018). Associations between early onset of e-cigarette use and cigarette smoking and other substance use among us adolescents: a national study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 20(8), 923–930.

NCDAS. (2021). Teenage Drug Use Statistics [2021]: Data & Trends on Abuse. NCDAS.

US Preventive Services Task Force. (2018). Screening and behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use in adolescents and adults: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA, 320(18), 1899–1909.

Wang, T. W., Neff, L. J., Park-Lee, E., Ren, C., Cullen, K. A., & King, B. A. (2020). E-cigarette use among middle and high school students—United States, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(37), 1310–1312.