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Why Say No to Drugs Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Olugbenga Adeleye, Nigeria Mar 20, 2005
Health   Experiences
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“I am an emotional child,” says Austin, a young man of 24 years. “At times I’m afraid and even intimidated by others of my age. I suffer from depression, insecurity, and at times I’ve even considered suicide.”

Tola, 28 years old, describes herself as “emotionally very young,” having low self-esteem.” She adds: “I find it very difficult to live a normal life.”

Austin and Tola are reaping the consequences of a decision they made when they were quite young, that is, to experiment with drugs. Millions of youths today are doing likewise – injecting, swallowing, sniffing, and smoking everything from cocaine to marijuana. For some youths, ‘doing drugs’ is a way to escape problems. Others get involved to satisfy their curiosity. Yet others use drugs to ease depression or boredom. And once started, many continue using drugs for the sheer pleasure of it. Tola says, “I smoke (Marijuana) only for its effects. Not to be cool or for social reasons. I never smoked because of peer pressure, but just because I wanted to.”

At any rate, the chances are good that sooner or later you will be exposed to or directly offered drugs. Drug paraphernalia is openly displayed and sold. In spite of their popularity, though, there is good reason for you to say no to drugs. How so?

Drugs Hinder Growth
Consider youths who use drugs to escape problems, like Austin and Tola. Emotional growth comes from facing life’s challenges, handling success, surviving failure. Youths who rely on a chemical refuge from problems hinder their emotional development. They fail to develop the skills needed for coping with problems.

As with any other skill, the ability to cope requires practice. To illustrate: Have you ever watched a skilled football player? He is able to use his head and feet in ways that are nothing short of amazing! Yet, how did this player develop such skill? By years of practice. He learned to kick the ball, run with it, feint, and so on, until he became proficient at the game.

Developing coping skills is very similar. It takes practice and experience! The youth that hides behind a drug-induced euphoria ‘loves inexperience’; he fails to develop the knowledge and coping skills needed to deal with life. The lesson that life’s painful moments can be survived without these substances never gets learned.

Tola, who used drugs as an escape, thus confesses: “For 14 years I haven’t dealt with my problems.” Austin expresses a similar thought, saying: “I had used drugs since I was 11 years old. When I stopped at the age of 22, I felt like a child. I latched onto others, trying to find security. I came to realize that my emotional development stopped when I started using drugs.”

“I wasted all those years of development.” Adds Saheed, who abused drugs from age 13. “When I stopped, I came to the painful realization that I was totally unprepared to deal with life. I was a 13-year-old all over again with the same emotional turmoil that faces any other adolescent.”

Can Drugs Ruin My Health: This is another area of concern. Most youths realize that the so-called hard drugs can kill you. But what about so-called soft drugs, such as marijuana? Are all the warnings you hear about them mere scare tactics? In answer, let us focus on the drug marijuana.

Marijuana (also known as pot, reefer, grass, ganja, or weed) has been the focus of much controversy among experts. And admittedly, much in unknown regarding this popular drug. For one thing, marijuana is extremely complex; a marijuana cigarette contains over 400 chemical compounds in its smoke. It took doctors over 60 years to realize cigarette smoke causes cancer. It may likewise take decades before anyone knows for sure just what marijuana's 400 compounds do to the human body.

You Can Say No!
Turning down the chance to use a drug is your right. Any friends who influence you about your decision are chipping away at your rights as a free individual. What can you do if someone offers you drugs? Have the courage to say no! This does not necessarily mean giving a sermon on the evils of drug abuse. You can say, “No, thanks, I don’t want to smoke” or I’m not into body pollution.” If they persist in their offer, you might have to say no, with conviction! Letting others know who you are may also prove to be a protection.

Growing up is not easy. But if you try to avoid growing pains by using drugs, you can seriously hinder your chances of becoming a responsible, mature adult. Learn to face problems head-on. If the pressures seem overwhelming, do not see a chemical escape. Talk things over with a parent or other responsible adults who can help you to sort things out. Never let others pressure you to weaken in your resolve. As Austin urges: “Don’t experiment with drugs. You’ll suffer the rest of your life.

Casey ‘Gbenga Adeleye
National Coordinator
Youth Crime Watch of Nigeria
Tel: +2348034295071
Email: adeleye_gbenga@yahoo.com or oycwn@yahoo.com

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Henry Ekwuruke | Nov 2nd, 2010
good posting. Interesting...

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