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Everybody's Doing It?
Why would anyone use illicit drugs?
The fact is, the majority of people don't use drugs. People who do use drugs tend to make excuses for their behaviour, but do their excuses really make any sense? Read on and decide for yourself.
1."Everybody else is doing it. I want to fit in."Reality Check:
- It's risky to take drugs to fit in. Instead of helping you to fit in, drugs could start to take over your friendships.
- Drug addiction can take up a lot of your time and money, leaving little of either to spend with your friends.
- The key is to think for yourself and remember that you don't have to agree with, or do all the things that your friends do in order to keep your friendships.
2. "My life is stressful - drugs help me deal with everything."Reality Check:
- Drugs are not the answer to a happier, stress-free life. For one thing, they alter brain chemistry, which can lead to depression and other mental illnesses.
- Taking illicit drugs can actually worsen the brain's chemical imbalances for those people who are already suffering from mental illnesses.
- Face your problems head-on. The best way to deal with stress is to pinpoint when and how it started.
- Once you've identified the cause, try to find a healthier way of handling it - for example, try exercise, and/or sports; meditation; art; music; hang out with your friends, watch television, and surf the Internet.
- Still feeling stressed? Talk to someone you know you can trust (for example, visit your school guidance counsellor, confide in your best friend or maybe even sit down with your parents, or call a help-line for advice).
3. "I was curious and had nothing better to do."Reality Check:
- It's natural to be curious, but are drugs really worth the risk?
- You cannot predict what your reaction to a drug will be - serious consequences such as overdose and even death could occur.
- Taking illicit drugs impairs your decision making skills and judgement, which can lead to dangerous activities, such as driving while high.
4. "I feel grown-up, more confident and cool."Reality Check:
- The media can strongly influence what is perceived to be "cool". They often promote images of drugs in television shows and movies and avoid showing the real consequences of drug use.
- While entertaining, these are not real life depictions of people or events. In real life, drug use can lead to poor school and work performance, increase conflicts with family and friends and can be deadly.
- It may not seem as glamorous, but it's more rewarding for your self-image and confidence to spend your time pursuing your hobbies and passions and staying healthy.
5. "I'm not addicted - I can stop at anytime."Reality Check:
- People who are addicted to drugs also thought they would be able to control their use.
- You might also become psychologically dependent to a drug and develop a compulsion to keep using it.
- Realizing you have a dependency is the first step and takes courage. Consult a medical professional for help and lean on a supportive friend or family member when it gets too rough.
6. "I need some form of rebellion."Reality Check:
- It is natural to feel frustrated or annoyed with anyone telling you how to live your life. But do you really want drugs and their risky consequences to be a part of your life?
- As you gain independence and are developing your own identity, don't choose to be influenced by drugs
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