Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's Selfish

A few months ago I took part in an annual all-school workshop/discussion and was surprised to learn that the topic of drugs and alcohol had been elected by students. I think the only reason I had that reaction was that we have been bombarded with loads of anti-drug presentations, campaigns, pledges, and classes since we were wee first graders. Kids wouldn’t know the difference between illegal crystal methamphetamine and generic drug store tobacco cigarettes if it weren’t for relentless drug education in elementary and middle school, which can be good and bad. Of course that’s a side effect of educating young adults to make their own decision in the world of drug opportunities to come. I am by no means trying to discredit drug education in schools.
As a matter of fact an issue came up in the workshop about which method would be affective in guiding kids to “just say no”. Teaching the basic health effects of taking drugs is a given, but should the scare tactic be included in that? Do showing videos of passed out bodies on bathroom floors scare the drugs out of a future victim? What about testimonies and dramatic reenactments of wild parties then sickness and surgery? Even romanticized music videos and Hollywood television shows can be a positive (anti-drug) influence if they highlight an uncomfortable aftermath. Would it be more effective to have police come in and lay down the law and consequences? The fact is that every person who tries drugs has already decided that “it” won’t happen to him/her, or that whatever consequences will be worth it if he/she doesn’t get caught.
There are a lot of questions, it’s a tricky subject.
Why do students choose to take drugs? The most common answer is stress relief/recreation. School work, competitive sports, driving, working, college preparation, friend drama, and parental expectations, everybody’s expectations cause internal tension. All of that can be hard to let go of when there is time to relax and play. I have to wonder why some give into drugs and not others.  Everybody feels that pressure and fights their own battles so what makes one person’s problems worse than the others. I don’t know if you can measure the compounded issues in one life against one that is completely different.
As for the attack of peer pressure, mental stress and busyness can often cloud over self confidence. Sometimes it is a good idea to evaluate yourself and once you’re in touch with that, evaluate who you want to be surrounded by. The close friends in high school will be there at your best and at your worst and they shouldn’t take advantage of that. A) friends should care about you and make you feel better in the first place B) you owe it to them as a friend to not hurt yourself or let them get hurt.  
In fact you owe it to a lot of people. All that stress is directly related to responsibility, which means there are a lot of people trusting you. How would it feel if something happens to a loved one while you’re high and can’t help? Those few hours of precious life are wasted, not to mention health related or legal consequences. It’s selfish.

Information taken from Teen Drug Survey

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you on the topic of drugs. Those hours are wasted and you can never get them back. When it comes to the reason of why teens do drugs I think one of the main factors would be peer pressure. Although stress does take a big part in the discussion, peer pressure I think is more effective on teens. When you're a teenager friends are your greatest influence and many of us feel that we have to do things in order to keep them. So I agree to evaluate who you want to be surrounded by. What are some other ways to relieve stress/pressure other than drugs?