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Drugs and alcoholKristi Kane

To my knowledge, there has never been an article written about the advantages of taking drugs, alcohol or cigarettes into your system. Not a convincing one anyway. And even though 14 states have legalized the “medicinal” use of marijuana, I remain unconvinced of its advantages.

Recently my daughter had a friend come visit her from another state. There was a high school dance going on at my daughter’s school and she and her friend decided to attend. When I asked my daughter’s friend what she thought about the dance and if she had a nice time, she said something rather curious, “It was nice to go to a dance that didn’t smell like pot, or where people were barfing on the floor or being kicked out of the dance for drinking. I wish I went to your school.”

What she said took me back to my own teen years. In my junior high years (grades 7-9), it was obvious who was stoned (the red eyes are a giveaway), or who had been snorting coke. I don’t remember seeing them at high school. By high school, many of them had dropped out or become pregnant. In high school, a lot of kids attended the raging “keggers” over the weekend and dabbled in pot and casual sex. By high school graduation, many were already alcoholics and/or pregnant. Their curiosity had derailed and forever altered the course of their young lives before they’d even begun.

I recently visited a friend I had grown up with during those years and who I had not seen in over 25 years. I knew he had dabbled in smoking and drinking when he was a teen. I knew many of his friends had gone beyond  smoking and drinking and were doing hard core drugs. What I did not know about was that their lives all had a common theme: they were miserable. Many of them were alcoholics. Some of them had criminal records. Most of them were divorced or had never married. For those who were divorced, the fact that they were drinking and doing drugs with their spouse, contributed to the destruction of their marital relationship. Quite frankly, I was surprised that a couple of them were still alive. It was beyond tragic, beyond sad.

In my own community, the latest rage is pharm parties (pharm stands for pharmaceutical). If you’ve never heard of pharm parties, it’s where teens raid their parents medicine cabinet looking for prescription drug medication, things like Percocet, Lortab, Oxycontin, etc. After all, these drugs are free and readily available. Most of these kids wrongfully assume that because these drugs are from a pharmacy, their high will be a “safe” high. They take these pills to a party, throw it in a bag (sometimes called “trail mix”), or into a big glass bowl, and throw a handful into their mouth, or crush it up and snort it. Talk about Russian roulette.

For me, I have never seen the allure of drugs or drinking. My best friend from junior high and high school was hit by a drunk driver when she was barely 19. Her body was thrown from the car. She survived, but she is physically and mentally disabled for the rest of her life. She is now 43 and still under her parents care. Her sister, who was also in the car, couldn’t cope with what had happened to her or her sister in that accident, and eventually took her own life. My own husband’s sister was killed in a car accident. This was weather-related, but next to her grave lays one of her best friends, killed at age 16 by a drunk driver.

My only brother started smoking at the age of 11, and graduated to marijuana at 13. He hit harder drugs in his later teens and spent most of his 20s and 30s in and out of jail. When you have a record, it is nearly impossible to get a job even if you are clean. Unfortunately, so many youth don’t look far enough down the road to see the damage they are going to do immediately or long-term to their lives when they enter the enticing, but destructive arena of drugs and alcohol.

When I think of drugs and alcohol, I think, “What. A. Waste!!!” and “Yeah. Some party.”

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