Anyone can be a drug user. Each drug user will have different reasons for using different drugs.
Following are some common reasons people have for using different drugs. Discuss them with your friends. Are any of them good reasons to use drugs? Can you think of any other reasons why people might use drugs?
People try drugs out of curiosity. Curiosity is natural when you are young. You may have friends or know people who use drugs. You may want to know how drugs will make you feel.
People use drugs because they feel emotionally pressured. Some people use drugs to relieve emotional pressures like loneliness or depression.
Others might use drugs because they feel bored. Some may use drugs just to get even with, or go against their parents' wishes. Sometimes it's just because they feel left out.
People use drugs because they feel pressured by the people around them. Taking drugs may seem normal or safe when you see the people around you using drugs. Sometimes your favourite athlete, movie star or musician may use drugs. Members of your own family or friends may use drugs. You might think that you are supposed to use drugs if everyone else uses them.
You may feel that you have to use drugs to be accepted as a part of the group. People use drugs because they want to "fit in" with their friends. In some groups, taking drugs is fashionable. If you don't do drugs,you don't belong to the group.
The most common reason that young people give for why they use drugs, is to fit in among their friends.
Loneliness, stress, depression, peer pressure, media influence
People use drugs because they are easy to get.Some of you know about drugs, whether they are legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, or illegal drugs like marijuana. You know where legal drugs are sold and that illegal drugs can be bought from drug pushers.
People use drugs because they have used them before. Trying drugs for the very first time is a big step and it does not mean that you will try again. But once you have tried a drug, you may be more relaxed and likely to try it again.
People who use one kind of drug regularly are also more likely to try other kinds of drugs. People use drugs because they don't feel "right" without them. Some people's minds and/or bodies depend on drugs. They are called "drug dependent". Someone who is drug dependent may experience unpleasant physical and mental sensations if they do not use drugs.
Drug abuse is when the perceived benefits of using a drug begin to replace previously valued experiences or responsibilities.
How do you know when you or your friends have "crossed the line" from use to abuse?
The definition of drug abuse tells us that abuse occurs when using drugs becomes more important than other things that used to be important. (This does not include side effects that are caused by drugs taken under a doctor's care.) This can happen so subtly that you may not recognise the change. If using drugs starts to replace other things in your life, you are an abuser. Are your marks in school going down because finding the time to study just doesn't seem as important as it use to be? Does getting high seem more fun than things you used to do for entertainment?
A person can be emotionally addicted to drugs before a physical addiction occurs. Emotional addiction makes it very difficult for the person involved to view his/her drug use objectively. Even though their drug use is replacing things that used to be important in their lives, they do not recognise it as abuse since there are no physical symptoms. The transition of values might seem like a natural change in their life, or the person may not even realize that the drug use has started to become more important than other things.
What kind of problems does drug abuse cause?
An increase in crime and traffic accidents are some examples of how everyone suffers from drug abuse.
Even though you may never use drugs, there will always be people that do.
All Content on drug facts for young people site (drugfacts4youngpeople.com) © Regional Maple Leaf Communications Inc. - Toll Free: 1-800-753-0193 or E-mail us
Illustrations by Bob Hahn