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The issue of drugs within today’s society no longer carries the weight it once did. Before drugs and alcohol became common aspects of social entertainment, they were coupled with a negative connotation: one that displayed narcotics as dangerous substances; one that reminded young people that drugs have potentially harmful repercussions. Today, the use of narcotics has become a normalised practise that individuals no longer negatively react to, but simply accept.
But is drug-use something that we should accept as the norm? Or should we attempt to fight it?
Given the social and pleasure value that drugs can provide, individuals (particularly naïve adolescents) often chose to forget the once engrained stigmas attached to narcotics. Peer pressure can cause the misconception that bad is good, and drugs are cool. As a result, many teenagers willingly expose themselves to drugs in an attempt to climb the social ladder. But what is the cost? Is their future worth the risk? What will be given up? If more young people asked themselves these questions, and knew how to answer them, they would understand that taking drugs is not a good idea.
Narcotics can provide a temporary escape from reality and can even allow an individual to experience a contentment not normally found in their everyday lives. But these are impermanent satisfactions – the repercussions outweigh any jubilation received from narcotic consumption. Drugs can cause more than a financial loss: they damage a person’s sanctity and health; they conjure uncharacteristic behaviour; they cause loss of memory, loss of actuality, and often expose users to dangerous circumstances.
Nevertheless, narcotics accessibility and consumption has rapidly grown in recent decades – despite being illegal, most students claim that drugs are easily at their disposal. What’s more alarming is that the rate of overdoses and drug usage has almost doubled in the last three years. We are no longer shocked when the media broadcasts a story about a young person who has been hospitalised or killed by an overdose; we have become so desensitised that we fail to remember that they are someone’s child, someone’s friend and somebody’s loved one.
Narcotics tear families apart and destroy lives. Even a small dose of a narcotic can have severe side effects – especially on first-time takers – which may result in death. Although the media portrays drug-use as a youth epidemic, are children to be blamed for their own naivety? Or should we be asking if parents and the media can do more to educate youths about the dangers of recreational drug-use?
I didn’t come into contact with any type of drugs until I was 19 – and a naïve 19 I proved to be. I was at a party with my boyfriend and a friend, and there was an unfamiliar smell coming from a group of people in the garage. When I asked about the smell, I didn’t understand why everyone turned around and laughed. That is, until I was taken into the garage and discovered that the group was smoking marijuana. The general acceptance of this practise by my peers alarmed me – even though marijuana is not as lethal as narcotics, it remains illegal for a reason!
Drugs play a complex role in modern youth culture: while dangerous, the social reputation that drug-use offers can appeal to young people, whose immaturity leaves them unable to totally comprehend the risk that is involved. The issue of drug-use is a hard one to tackle in a single article, and even more difficult to make people fully aware of. But put simply, narcotics cause corruption and rob an individual of a potentially bright future.
Be aware. Be educated. Be smart.