Now that I understand what drugs and alcohol are from the definition, what steps can I take to deal with them in my life?
Substance abuse is a serious issue. While television and movies may make drinking and drugs seem fun, the downside of a life wasted from addiction is devastating. Whatever “fix” drugs and alcohol offer is temporary, and your problems will be the same when the high wears off. Not only can drugs and alcohol hurt your body’s development, but they also have deadly consequences. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 47,000 Americans died in 2014 from drug overdoses (a deadly amount of drugs in the body.) The CDC also found that, between the years 2000–2014, drugs killed nearly 500,000 Americans. Learn more about drug deaths. Those figures are staggering. The best way to protect yourself from addiction is to be aware of how drugs and alcohol are abused, and why. Knowledge is key.
1. Know your stressors. As young people’s social and academic expectations increase, so do the pressures you face. What aspect of your life bothers you the most? What causes you to feel nervous, anxious, and scared? Self-knowledge is one of the best defenses against drug abuse. If you know that test-taking causes you extreme anxiety, you can plan ways to cope with these feelings before the next big exam. Create a study/support group with your peers. Talk about your worries during study breaks. Exercise to clear your mind and release excess tension from your body. Say your prayers or meditate. Take a hot bath and soak your stress away. Explore some new, interesting books. The more you focus on finding healthy remedies for stress, the less chance you’ll turn to substances to help you solve your problems.
2. Be a leader, not a follower. One of the true signs of becoming an adult is knowing how to speak and stand up for yourself. Trust your instincts when you feel that something is wrong. When your friends pressure you to drink or do drugs to fit in, remember: a true leader doesn’t bow to other people’s expectations. Leadership means being able to stand by your beliefs even when your decisions aren’t popular. Would your parents feel proud if they saw you doing drugs? Definitely not! They raised you to be a leader. Doing so means avoiding drugs and alcohol so that you can grow up strong, smart, and in control of your future.