It’s common for teens to get asked if they want to try drugs or alcohol. This is the time (around ages 12-19) when many people start experimenting with new experiences. But there is some really important information that teens need to know about drugs and alcohol. There are a lot of dangerous things that can happen to someone who has been using drugs or alcohol.
Here are just a few reasons why a teen would not want to use drugs and alcohol:
If you’re drunk or high, you can’t make good decisions about sex. Don’t do something you might not remember or you might regret.
Teen sex and teen drug use are connected. Research shows that many types of risky teen behavior, including drug use and sexual activity, tend to occur among the same teens. Sometimes, it’s because drug users tend to be greater risk-takers than non-drug users. That means they might be more sexually active, might be less likely to use contraception when they have sex, may have more sexual partners, and may have started having sex at younger ages than non-drug users.
Acquaintance rape is when a person is forced to perform a sexual act when they do not want to and the person forcing or raping them is a person they know. In many cases of acquaintance rape, one or both of the people involved were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. At parties, a person is often surrounded by a lot of people they either know very well or have just met. The combination of a lot of people and drugs or alcohol can lead to dangerous things happening. Here are some reasons why:
When a person uses drugs or alcohol, they often feel they are invincible or that nothing can hurt them. People in this state of mind are less concerned about their personal safety and the safety of their friends. Many car crashes and other injuries, such as drownings and falls, happen as a result of using drugs or alcohol.
A person using drugs or alcohol is more likely to become violent. Alcohol and other drug use is involved in approximately: 50% of spouse abuse cases; 49% of homicides; 38% of child abuse cases; and 52% of rapes.
More than any other drug, alcohol is linked with domestic violence, assault, homicide and suicide. Alcohol and drugs do not only influence a person to act violently, but they can also encourage or provoke violence in the sober people around the alcohol or drug user. (Prevline. “Prevention Primer: Violence”, January 17, 2000.)
For starters, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol in the United States. If you are caught drinking and driving, you can get your license taken away and/or spend some time in jail. Also many drugs are illegal and you can get into serious trouble with the law if caught with them in your possession; even if the drugs are your friend’s, you can get into trouble. If you don’t use drugs and alcohol, you might want to choose friends who don’t either because you could find yourself getting into trouble just for being around drugs and alcohol.
People who become addicted to drugs and alcohol are very likely to have a criminal record because they often steal or commit other crimes just to support their habit.
Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are all known as “gateway drugs” because when a person uses one of them it can lead to using other drugs. For example, if a person uses cigarettes, it puts that person at a greater risk for trying other drugs like marijuana or alcohol. Young people who drink alcohol are 7.5 times more likely to use an illegal drug and 50 times more likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink alcohol (Drug facts: America’s future depends on how you react. K.I.D.S. Link, Fall 1998 Vol. 1, Issue 1. p. 8).
There are some serious things that could happen as a result of using drugs or alcohol. For instance, some drugs may cause heart attacks or seizures either because they are too strong, because they were mixed with something else or because the person’s body couldn’t handle it.
With drugs, a person can accidentally have an overdose, which could cause severe, permanent damage to their body, or even death. The same things go for alcohol poisoning—and if they’re lucky all that’s needed is their stomach pumped.
Teens using drugs or alcohol have a really good chance of disappointing their family. Also, because not all of a teen’s friends may use drugs or alcohol, a teen may find that he/she is losing friends they once had because the friends do not like doing the things they do or hanging around with people who do those things.
A person with a drug or alcohol problem may begin to lose their friends and family. Unfortunately, an addiction is a disease and someone addicted to drugs or alcohol cares more about the drugs then their loved ones.