Why Do Teens Use Drugs?


One reason often heard from people using drugs is that they do them to feel good. For real, it does feel good because most drugs act directly on the "pleasure center"--the limbic system--in the brain. The first few times it can be considered recreational use. Some might light up a cigarette at a party. They might not consider themselves a "smoker," but they do it to feel good or to "look cool." Someone might smoke pot at their friend's house because they think it could be fun. The problem? Drugs don't care what the reason is. The same effects can occur whether you're drinking to have fun or drinking to forget a problem, whether you're doing drugs to see how they feel or doing them to be one of the crowd. People do drugs to change the way they feel. Often they want to change their situation. If they're depressed, they want to become happy. If they are stressed or nervous, they want to relax, and so on. By taking drugs, people often think they can be the person they want to be. The problem? It isn't real. You haven't changed the situation; you've only distorted it for a little while. Following are some of the reasons people say they do drugs to feel good or change the situation:

1. Because they want to fit in. No one wants to be the only one not participating. No one wants to be left out. So sometimes they make bad decisions, like taking drugs, to cover-up their insecurities. They don't think about how drugs can isolate you from your friends and family. They forget to look past that one party to see how things could turn out. Or maybe they just
don't see the people around them who aren't using drugs.

2. Because they want to escape or relax. You'll hear a lot of people saying
things like "I'm so stressed, I need to get messed up!" or "Drugs help me relax" or whatever. What they're really saying is "Drinking or doing drugs is
just easier than dealing with my problems or reaching out for help." The thing
is, the problems are still there when they come down--and not only do they still have to deal with it, they have to deal with it when they're not 100% and feeling guilty or even worse, when they're not thinking straight.

3. Because they're bored. Lots of people turn to drugs for a little excitement
because they say there's nothing else to do but watch the same Simpsons' rerun for the tenth time or hang. But people who make these kinds of decisions usually find out that drugs are ultimately really a waste and painful. Drugs don't change the situation, and they just might make it worse.

4. Because they think it makes them seem grown-up. This is one of the weirdest reasons. Think about it... why would an adult want to use drugs? Probably for many of the same reasons you would consider. The reality is that
the most grown-up people out there aren't users. They're too busy living their
lives to bother with stuff, like drugs, that will interfere.

5. Because they want to rebel. Sometimes people turn to drugs not so much for themselves, but to make a statement against someone else, such as their families or society in general. Somehow taking drugs makes them outlaws or more individual. The problem is taking drugs, ultimately, robs these people of their ability to be independent, because it makes them dependent--on drugs and their drug connections.

6. Because they want to experiment. It's human nature to want to experiment. Trying things out helps you decide if they're right for you. But it's also human nature to avoid things that are obviously bad for you. You wouldn't experiment with jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. The point is, there are a zillion better things to experiment with -- sports, music, dying your hair, seeing bad movies, eating spicy food... than getting involved with alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.



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