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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In Our Fast-Paced Lives, Drugs Aren’t The Answer

Peter Lattin North Central

For teenagers today, the world seems like one big whirl of neon lights and lasers. Everybody out there is pushing themselves to extremes - in relationships, in athletics, in school and in everything else.

In this crazy mess of a world, teens seem caught up and confused about what’s really important. We’re all out there searching for something. A whole lot of us never find out who we are or don’t value our identities when we do have them. So, I’m directing this article toward you - all of the “athletes,” “brains” and everybody in-between in the high school scene.

All of you teens out there know you have something inside you besides the fickle beliefs and social fads you get from school. This something is what makes us teens who we are. It is our identity. When our identities are gone, what’s left for us besides bright lights, microprocessors, drugs and any other meaningless breakthrough that this technical world has to offer?

Not much.

I know it sounds a little far-fetched, but this loss of identity is a common occurrence in our crazed society. “How does it happen?” you’re probably asking yourself.

Drugs do it. They stamp out every ounce of identity a person can possess. It’s a lot like death.

Now, I know a lot of you high school students out there think of yourselves as responsible drug users. Just the same, please give me a chance to try and persuade you. I know this may sound like a lecture from a sixth-grade teacher, but a chance to try and persuade you. I know this may sound like a lecture from a sixth grade teacher, but drugs don’t only ruin your mind and body, they destroy your identity.

Consider the jocks. They always look great, act cocky and are usually well rounded, cool people. These athletes hold their sports near and dear to their hearts. Each and every last one of them loves being who they are. Some athletes also do drugs.

Whether it’s alcohol, or something hard core like marijuana, speed, or cocaine, drugs don’t help the average high school athlete. They may eventually find they have a beer belly, weak lungs or a withered and shrunken body. Athletes, note that you may find yourself getting slower. You might discover that you don’t think sports are so important any more. You may realize that you’ve lost sight of who you really are.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that every teen out there who takes a sip of beer will die, but high school athletes who abuse drugs eventually shut themselves away from the rest of the world. They forget who they are and what they do. You’ve probably all seen it happen to someone.

On the other end of the high school social spectrum are the “brains.” While working hard in class trying to make that A or B, the brains out there might feel a lot of weight on their shoulders. It probably feels like you’re being smashed into the ground like an ant under a boot.

Some of you out there have probably escaped all that pressure by using drugs. It must feel pretty good to get away from it all, at least until the alcohol, marijuana or cocaine wears off. Eventually you might find the pressure is too much to take and you stop studying so hard and start to really abuse drugs.

All those goals you had for a college or a career drift away in a cloud of pot smoke, or drown in a bottle of beer. Pretty soon you don’t have to worry about grades, because everything that you were before fades away like a dying star.

Somewhere in the ruckus of the high school social ladder there are plenty of other “categories” of people, all with their own stresses, pressures and reasons for turning to drugs.

If they go too far, all their dreams and aspirations will be replaced by the need for a chemical.

All of you high school teens out there know that the type of people I’ve described don’t actually exist in the real world. We are all mixes of these groups and others. Because the mix of personality traits in each of us is so varied, our vulnerability to social pressures is varied and complex also.

Some people think it will never happen to them; others believe they can control their addiction. Often these illusions of control are short lived.

One speed user once said, “Speed is funny. You think you’ve got it under control when you first do it because it’s usually so nasty on the sinuses and your body that you don’t ever think you could (do it again.) But you do.”

No one out there needs to be told that drugs are addictive or that they can ruin lives. Every high school student knows that.

Drugs will become the center of your life if they are abused. You may feel like your being backed into a corner. You’ll look up and the sky will be black. It will feel like you’re trapped in a room with no entrances or exits. No one will touch you and you will reach for no one.

In that dark room you’ll kneel on the ground and laugh as if you were worthy to hold contempt for the person you once were. Without hope. Without love. Without life.

Pretty scary thought, huh? Yeah, it’s pretty clear that drugs may not kill you, but they will surely kill who you are.


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