Their choices today will decide their future
So many teenagers get caught up in drugs. Why? I recently discovered some of my past friends have started taking drugs. This shocked me. Some of these kids were my closest friends. How could they have gone from straight "A" students to druggies? It really saddens me to know they have taken that path.
There are many reasons for teens taking drugs. One is peer pressure. Sometimes we want to be a part of the "cool" crowd. Most "popular" groups involve kids wearing skimpy clothes (this I see a lot of), nonstop gossip among the girls and of course the element of being rebels. I have girl classmates who wear way-too-short shorts and much-too-tight shirts to impress guys or feel "beautiful." Rebels often ignore their parents' and school's rules and guidelines and sometimes wear near-identical "nonconformist" clothing. This often leads to teenagers not caring about school.
Some teenagers get caught up in smoking and drinking because of their home lives. I have met kids who are extremely depressed for various reasons like divorce among their parents. We kids look up to adults. Those adults who smoke, drink and swear do not set good examples. I am fortunate to have learned right from wrong, from having gone to wonderful schools and having excellent parenting. It kills me to say, though, that many teens are not as lucky. Teens also start taking drugs to prove to their parents that they are independent. Some want to show their parents that they have the "power" to do these stupid acts. In general we all want success and drugs only hinder us.
What joy do kids get from drugs? I don't know, and don't plan to find out, if there really is a "joy" about putting chemicals into your body. I took the D.A.R.E. program at my elementary school and learned much about drugs. I learned about how drugs affect your mind and body. Drugs are also expensive, which can lead to other problems such at stealing to support your habit.
Some use drugs as a way to "escape." Instead of escaping, you simply try to push aside life's priorities and end up with more problems. Turning to drugs to deal with your stress or difficult situations does not help. Accept the stress or situation and then move on, without a hangover.
If you are a parent, you might not understand how big of an influence you exert on your children's lives. We all have free will, but the choices you make will affect your future. Some choose the path that involves doing stupid things, like drugs and sex, at a young age. Some choose the path that might be harder but leads to better choices. Life always surprises us and it is impossible to predict the future, but when you face a difficult decision, think before you act.
Teens, you don't have to do drugs; there is no one there to force you. Instead, think about how taking drugs will affect your future. We are the future generation of Hawaii and the world; let's make Hawaii and its kamaaina a healthy and beautiful place for future generations for all. Drug free!
Janae Rasmussen just finished the eighth grade at University Lab School. She lives in Kailua.