Drugs and Alcohol – Don’t Let the Joke Be on You! By Isabel Bernardez
Teenagers aren’t taking warnings against drugs and alcohol seriously. They believe that “using” is harmless, and that addiction only happens to those who are weak or to those who use too much. But how does anyone know how much is too much for them, when the effects are different with each person? Teens think that using drugs and drinking makes you popular, or that it makes you look “cool,” and that it credits your image. So therefore, they disregard all the data and information about them and think it’s a joke! We learn about the harmful effects of drug in school, at home, and also by the media, yet we still don’t listen and still want to try drugs and drink alcohol. I’m not saying that all teens ignore the warnings but a lot do, and the ones that do, are a danger to themselves and also to the people around them. If teens would stop and think about drugs and the dangers of their effects, they would realize that being “high” isn’t worth a life time of addiction, brain damage, or in a lot of cases, death.
In my eighth grade Health class, I learned that a “drug” is a chemical substance that changes the body physically, mentally or both. One word that stands out in the definition of a “drug” is the word “chemical.” I also learned that there are two chemicals that a lot of teenagers use but don’t consider them a drug, they are Alcohol and Tobacco. Alcohol in beer and wine is made by fermenting grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fermentation is the process that uses yeast, or bacteria, to change the sugar in food into Alcohol. To make a stronger alcohol content, Ethanol is used (the “knock out” drug). Tobacco is a combination of chemical ingredients which include the following: Cadmium (found in batteries), Stearic Acid (used to harden wax in candles), Hexamine (barbeque lighter fluid), Nicotine (insecticide), Ammonia (toilet cleaner), Paint, Acetic Acid, Methane, Arsenic, Carbon Monoxide, and Methanol (rocket fuel).
While Alcohol and Tobacco may have different ingredients but they both have the same amount of side effects. They also have some in common, such as addiction, damage to relationships, brain damage, difficulties breathing, vomiting, body odor, and poisoning. Where’s the joke in that?
Too often, teens act irresponsibly, and don’t want to be held accountable for their actions as users, or when they’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol. A favorite “go to “response, teens commonly use to get out of any kind trouble is, “I didn’t have a choice” and “He/she told me to.” Well, I’m here to tell you that you DO have a choice! And, just because your friends, or your partner tells you to do something, or expects you to do something, or will only accept you, IF you do something, DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO DO IT! You can choose to be either a brick in the wall which stands between teens, and drugs and alcohol; the wall which thousands of today’s teens are building together in order to prevent other teens from trying and from using drugs and alcohol, and to also keep them away from ourselves as well. Or, you can choose to be that person who others keep away from because you’re unpredictable, or because you display inappropriate behavior, or you can’t stay focused, or because you smell like you just crawled out of liquor bottle, and have poor hygiene. Ha ha, very funny right? Wrong!
Now, if someone told you to do something dumb, dangerous or stupid such as, jump off of a bridge, for example, I know that you wouldn’t jump just because someone told you to. So, why would you take drugs? Seriously! WHY?
Just like you have a choice to choose who you want to be friends with, and a choice to select what will be your favorite music, and also even a choice to decide on your favorite Artist, likewise, you ALWAYS have a choice to refuse, object to, turn away from, make the right choice and say “no” to drugs and alcohol. Oh yes, you DEFINITELY have a choice! Drug and alcohol use in teens is so, not a joke. Neither is your future nor your life. DON’T LET THE “JOKE” BE ON YOU!
Isabel Bernardez – age 14,
Member of “Live Free” (a teen organization for awareness and prevention of drugs and alcohol) Hosted at St James AME Church, Clearwater FL – Reverend Bernard Smith)