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What's Happening To Everyone? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   In the past few years, the use of drugs among teenagers has risen dramatically. Especially in Massachusetts the use of marijuana, cocaine, tranquilizers, and inhalants has gone up. This problem cannot only be seen in studies, but also in the life that many of us lead.

During my sophomore year my school participated in a survey given by the University of Michigan. I remember most of the questions. First you answered if you had ever used any drugs, and then how often and how much. We were also asked about people we knew, and whether they did drugs. There was also a short section about suicide and sex. The results were compiled, and recently highlighted on the front page of the Boston Globe (October 19, 1995).

The article reported many disturbing facts derived from the survey. It stated that the number of adults who smoked had gone down, but increased in teenagers. Binge drinking in both girls and boys has also risen. Marijuana use sky-rocketed with a 60% increase since 1990. This is fifty percent above the national average! The survey reported that one in four seventh and eight graders had used various types of inhalants.

If you think of these statistics, they blow your mind. To this day, I feel as though I was the only one who went through the survey checking "No" for everything. What is happening to teenagers around here?

Thinking back to the sixth grade, no one drank or smoked. Even when I was in the eighth grade, I cannot remember anyone who bragged about drinking a six-pack on the weekend. Once I got to high school, everything changed. People started smoking a little of this, and a little of that. By my sophomore year I grew accustomed to stories of how drunk or stoned so-and-so got over the weekend. Why do they think that drinking as much beer as they possibly will make them cooler? It is scary how common these conversations are.

It is very alarming that people whom I have known all my life turn to drugs to solve their problems, but it is even more frightening to hear abut younger kids. Last year I had some friends in the middle school who told me how their classmates did dip (chewing tobacco) in the back of the bus on field trips. Someone even chugged a beer on the bus, and the driver never saw him. Probably the most disturbing thing that I heard was about a former friend of mine who many people said smoked pot in homeroom. In HOMEROOM! When I asked if the teacher noticed, they said she did, but teachers had long ago given up on him. It is strange to think back to the little kid that I knew only three years ago, and to see him in the hall every day in high school, and know that he could possibly be the drug lord of my school.

There are many questions that need to be asked by everyone who feel they are in the same situation as me, or even on the "other side." How did it happen that so many people have been caught in the world of drugs? One of the things that Westford has is a drug education program. From sixth to ninth grade, you hear the basic "Just Say No" speech at least one hundred times. If that does not work, what will? Is there nothing that will save us from the drugs that plague us all? I am not necessarily worried about myself, because I've survived this long without being dragged into the other world, but there are others about whom I worry. What will happen to our own children in twenty-five years? Will everyone be on drugs? Will it be regarded as acceptable? In a way it is acceptable already. The people that say they drink or smoke are thought to be okay, but people like me are labeled as strange. What is in store for us, and future generations to come? Is there, or will there ever be such a thing as a "Drug Free" America? ?


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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Undiscovered said...
Apr. 15, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I liked this. I liked it a lot. You know what you're talking about. I agree, the use of alchohol and drugs rate is nauseating.

What I find especially interesting is that I am the first to comment. What I'm getting at is kids are doing it and won't comment because of... guilt? Remorse? I don't know the right word...

Hmmm...

 
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