Just Say Something This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I am yet again an involuntary audience to the weekly conversation which makes me cringe. The group behind me is going over events of the past weekend. Who had what party, who got drunk, high and who drove whom home after whomever did whatever drug. This is a rich assortment of fact, fabrication, slander and fiction. My classmates are engrossed in their conversation, but I am appalled.

I do not abstain from drugs, alcohol and tobacco because of something I learned in elementary school health class or because of some warning my parents drilled into me. My commitment to avoid these substances exists solely because I would like to have the best life I can. I do not see anything worthwhile to be gained through drugs and alcohol. It seems foolish that one would consider ingesting a substance which regularly destroys lives, shatters families and friendship, impairs judgment and prevents rational thinking.

Even when used in moderation or socially, drugs and alcohol cause unnecessary problems. Parties which center around drinking all too often end in fights or hurt feelings, as people under the influence either do not mean what they say or are actually unaware of what they are saying. Why have the words "party" and "beer" become synonymous in the minds of teenagers today? Isn't it possible to have a good time while just being ourselves? Can't we come up with anything even remotely interesting to talk about with our friends? It is pathetic that people find it necessary to ingest illegal and unhealthy substances to have fun.

My message to my fellow teenagers is that you deserve more than a life of conformity and addiction. Substances and chemicals alter who you are, even if only for a few hours, but you are too important to allow yourself to be mainstreamed into the rivers of beer and clouds of smoke. You have more talent than will ever be recognized by the money-hungry executives of some cigarette company. Do not invest your money or your health in a dishonest business which couldn't care less about your welfare. Do not experiment with drugs just because it seems like everyone else is doing it; conformity is an indication of weakness.

I ask you to join with me in promoting the belief that drugs, alcohol and tobacco are useless, detrimental, and insulting to our intelligence. At first you may not be considered very "cool" for holding this belief. But you need to value yourself and your generation enough to stand up for your beliefs, even if you feel alone at first. Dissent is the very force which has affected revolutionary change throughout history. If you do not take a stand, who will?

Life is complicated enough without the added confusion of mind-altering substances. So join with me now in making the commitment to lead a full and healthy life. And I guarantee you that we will not alone for long. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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