Peer pressure and drug use

While it may seem like drug use is under control, every day someone tries drugs for the first time and becomes addicted. If we know that drugs are bad for us, why do we keep insisting on getting involved in them? It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for parents to talk to their children. The problem with children and adolescents today lies in the fact that many parents have full-time jobs. We no longer live in a world where only one parent leaves for work in the morning. Rather, now we have to deal with both parents working (sometimes two full-time jobs). So if this is the case, who is taking care of the children? Exactly.

It starts off innocent enough. A child or teen is hanging out with her friends at someone’s house or after school when someone suddenly pulls out a pack of cigarettes. Before long, the cigarettes are gone and everyone is taking a drag. But the question remains: “Why do children feel the need to try drugs or alcohol?” Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that children often witness their parents doing things they shouldn’t be doing, like drinking alcohol or smoking in front of them.

A different type of situation many teens find themselves in when faced with the decision to use drugs and/or alcohol is parties. It really is the responsibility of the parents (not the school) to sit down with their children and talk to them face to face about the inherent dangers of using drugs and drinking alcohol. There’s a reason there are age restrictions on when you’re legally allowed to buy cigarettes and alcohol. However, despite this fact, children still find loopholes and ways around them. For some, this temporary rebellion against their parents can have catastrophic setbacks. Year after year, children become involved in drugs. Some join drug gangs, and others learn an even harder lesson when accidental overdoses lead to an early death.

Schools have tried to take the lead in offsetting youth drug use by offering mandatory classes on the dangers of drug use, but the problem persists. Ultimately, the only thing that seems to reduce drug use and alcoholism is early intervention by parents who are not only there for their children, but care enough to talk to them about the dangers behind drug abuse and alcohol. Eventually there will come a point in a child’s life when what their parents tell them won’t carry as much weight. If we can help even one child to know not only the difference between right and wrong, but also help them have the confidence and strength of character to refuse drugs and alcohol when offered, then we really are making progress. Until then, all we can do is continue to be shining examples of how mature adults should behave and hope for the best.

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