Monday, 18 February 2013

Advice for Youth - Say NO to Drugs

1.       During your junior and senior high school years, you are going to be faced with the choice of whether or  not to try drugs. Your parents have done their best to make sure you will make the right choice but it is up to you at this point.  My advice is to say NO to all drugs. They will ruin your life just as they have ruined many other lives. Please click here to read some real-life stories from Island youth who made the wrong choice. Teenagers are becoming addicted and dying every day from drug use. Some die from using drugs just one time. Don’t be one of them!


2.      Many teenagers feel that bad things only happen to other people, not them. Think again! No one ever thinks they will become addicted to drugs and die, or that they will die from trying drugs one time, but they do. Below are photos of some young people who have died. They never thought it could happen to them. They were just out for a good time but it ended very badly because they chose to use drugs.

                             Joshua Graves, Age 21     Katanna MacDonald, Age 21     

3.      Drug dealers are not who you think they are. When your parents talked to you about drugs, you may have imagined that the person who would try to sell them to you would be a stranger who looks something like this:

The reality is that the first person who asks you to try drugs will likely be a friend or fellow student who looks something like this: 

Your friend will have some type of drug connection through an older brother or sister, or a friend.  Drug users come from all walks of life so you can never really pick them out. In schools, they belong to the popular crowd and also to the not-so-popular crowd.  They may be kids who are not involved in any type of extracurricular activities. They may also be athletes, musicians, and/or straight A students. They may come from good homes or they may not. There are a lot of drugs out there and many kids are trying them. Don’t be one of them!

4.      The first time you try drugs, you will like it. It starts off as being fun but it can very quickly turn your life upside down as you start experiencing some of the following consequences:
            ·         failing classes
            ·         losing interest in sports and other things you used to like
            ·         fighting with your family members
            ·         having run ins with the police
            ·         feeling sick all the time (it is called dope sick) and unable to do things that you
                 used to enjoy with your family and friends
            ·         selling off all your favorite things
            ·         stealing from your family
            ·         stealing from others such as businesses
            ·         being kicked out of your house
You will experience these things because drugs will become your number one priority. You will do anything to get the drugs and will avoid anything that takes you away from using them (school, family, old friends, etc.). 

It is not uncommon for addicts to spend upwards of $300 a day on drugs, which is why some have to resort to crime. It is not a fun way to live. 80% or more of the people in our Island jails are there because they are addicted to drugs. And, they are the lucky ones. The unlucky ones don’t make it and die from their drug use.

5.       Not all drugs being abused are illegal. Some are prescribed by doctors. They are called prescription drugs and they are very dangerous if they are not prescribed to you. NEVER take or buy someone else’s medication (this is illegal to do). Prescriptions drugs are some of the most addictive out there. Some people get hooked after only one use or, even worse, they die after trying them for the first time. Also, when mixed with alcohol, they can be even deadlier. 

6.       Drugs take a terrible toll on your body and it can happen very quickly. Below are some before and after photos of people who are addicted to drugs.Don't let this happen to you!


There are many reasons why people try drugs but what they don’t realize is that their problems are going to get much worse because of the drug use.  Drugs do not solve problems, they create them!

Below are some of the reasons why people may use drugs:

·         Looking for acceptance and to fit in. In the early days of using drugs, some people find acceptance with other drug users but it doesn’t last long. As the drug use escalates (which it will), drugs become the most important things in their lives and they isolate themselves from people who care about them. Friends and family become a means to get more drugs. To find acceptance, you should look for friends who share interests that are similar to your own.  Join some school or community clubs where you will meet new people.

·         Peer pressure. Some people have a hard time to say no to peer pressure. When their friends start experimenting with drugs, they feel they have to as well or else they won’t fit in. The fact is people who use drugs always end up regretting it.  Some die at a young age because they couldn’t overcome their addiction to drugs.  It is best to say no to drugs and find people who are not using. If you have to hang out with friends who use drugs, only hang out with them in safe places such as your own home where they won't be able to use drugs around you. This should only be temporary, though, while you look to make new friends.


·         Trying to escape a problem. Some kids have it a lot tougher than others in school and/or at home so some will look to escape their situations through drug use. By doing so, they make their family situations even worse and the problems at school get worse too!  It is best to speak to someone (maybe a trusted adult or a guidance counselor) about your issues in order to find positive ways to deal with them. Just remember that you will not be a student forever. Before you know it, you will graduate from high school and move into your own place.

·         Feeling sad or lonely. There is a strong link between mental illness and addiction. Many people start off using drugs to feel better. They feel very sad or like they are in a dark hole that they can’t get out of. If you are feeling this way, you may have depression or some other type of mental illness. Talk to your parents, teacher, or some other trusted adult about how you are feeling. You don’t have to live with sadness. Many people live healthy, productive, and happy lives with mental illness because they manage it properly. A doctor can help you with that but you need to ask for help first.  Please don’t be one of those people who turn to drugs. It will make your depression worse and you will be very unhappy.

·         Experiencing a lot of stress or pressure. Students can sometimes feel a lot of stress with trying to keep up with school, sports, and other activities. The pressure to be the best or to meet other people’s expectations can be overwhelming.  There are resources on the internet that can help you manage your workload. You can also talk to your parents, teachers, or coaches about the stress you are experiencing and they may be able to help. Turning to drugs will cost you everything that is important to you, including your future. Don’t let a temporary period of stress ruin the rest of your life!

·         Feeling curious. This is one of the biggest reasons that people give for trying drugs. They want to know what everyone is talking about. As I said earlier, if you do try them, you may find it fun in the beginning but your drug use will quickly ruin your life. It is best not to try them at all. It is just not worth the risk.  Do you think the young people above thought that they would die when they used drugs for the first time? Of course they didn’t!

·         Didn’t really believe drugs were as bad as parents and others said they were so they wanted to see for themselves. Unfortunately, by the time they realized that their parents were right, they were already hooked and living the nightmare that is called drug addiction. Don’t let this happen to you. You are special to many people but you are not invincible. This means that you can (and will) get hooked on drugs, and experience the same consequences as everyone else.

Please bookmark this page and come back to visit often. It is best to be prepared when the time comes to make the decision about whether or not to use drugs. There is NEVER a good reason to use but there are many GREAT reasons not to use including your life, your family, your friends, your future, your health, and all the great moments that you have left to experience in life.

Life is good. You are in charge. Make it the best it can be.

Note to parents: Please share and read this blog with your children. It is a great way to get the conversation going. You should also send them the link to this blog (without asking them or waiting to be asked) so that they can come back and read whenever they need to. They may even share it with their friends.  It is never too early to talk to your kids. According to a recent survey I conducted, some people started using drugs when they were between 9 to 12 years old.




    1. I would love it if teachers would share this blog with their students, especially this entry that is targeted toward youth specifically. Thanks for reading it!

  2. I would like to echo what the two previous commenters said. This is very well written. If I may, however, I'd like to add a 'reason'...this may fall under curiosity and I'm not going to argue the point. What I feel is missing is the reality that many children who become involved with drugs have one or both parents who have a liberal view on, for example, marijuana. Or an adult in the family has become dependent on prescription opiates due to chronic pain...the influence of parents in this type of situation can be direct or indirect. In the case of marihuana, the parent doesn't see the drug as harmful and does not impose any consequences to the youth who experiments. Their values directly impact the child, but neither understands the potential for the child's drug use to cause harm - either by leading to further experimentation with other drugs, or by the effect of marihuana itself on the child's developing brain. In the case of the parent with chronic pain, they could actually have strong anti-drug values (as opiates ARE a legitimate treatment for pain), however the child sees the parent taking pills to 'feel better' and this too can lead to experimentation. In fact, studies have shown in the case of prescription drug abuse that the most common source of those drugs for children is their parents' medicine cabinets. I can also speak from experience that teens especially have a very finely tuned hypocrisy detector. If Mom/Dad can do it, why can't I? Who are they to tell me not to do what they are doing themselves? The major difference and source for concern is that a child/youth's brain is still developing and forming new connections; introducing drugs into the brain can disrupt the normal development and can have lifelong consequences. The child wouldn't know that, the adult SHOULD know that but I'm certain many do not. The brain develops continually throughout life (if it didn't we would never be able to learn new things) but this process is accelerated and is most active from conception all the way up to age 20-21. I think this is a concept that should be taught, along with the message that no drug use is best.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts! I enjoyed reading all your posts.


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