The start of college is a new and different experience for all teenagers. They must learn to adapt to their new surroundings and make new friends, as well as to try to fit in. However, many teens feel that they need to drink, smoke and take drugs to be considered cool. In a recently conducted survey on the abuse of alcohol, nicotine, and other harmful drugs, the response of the fourteen teenagers towards the drugs was studied.. Their ages ranged from eighteen to twenty. Using that information it was found how they truly feel on the issues stated above. In today’s society, the peer pressure to drink, smoke or use drugs to fit in is all around our youth.
When polled, these teenagers said that they drink one to two times per week because they enjoy it. They feel that it is also a chance to have fun and hang out with their friends. However, teens say they also do it out of boredom. Often, teens are anxious to find an alternative way to have fun and to escape from the ‘boringness’ of movies and television. For this reason they jump at the chance to gather in a large group to socialise. This event is otherwise known as a party. They are willing to pay for a cup of beer, even if they know that drinking under the age of twenty-one is illegal. When there is nothing else to do or nowhere else to go, teenagers will find something to take away their boredom, even though their actions could jeopardise their future and even their lives.
Drinking alcohol comes with many responsibilities. Twelve out of fourteen teens believe that there is a thing such as being responsible while drinking. These teens define ‘responsible drinking’ as ‘having control of your actions’. In other words, teens drink as long as they know what they are doing. However, are they truly aware of everything that is happening around them? While drinking teenagers are often put into situations where they act irresponsible.
Three out of the fourteen teenagers admitted to having driven while under the influence of alcohol. When teens get into the car, they often do not think about the consequences if something did happen. There is always that one thought in the back of everyone’s mind in this type of situation. They say, “Nothing bad is going to happen. That could never happen to me”. Sadly, when something does happen, most of the time the drunk driver is never the one to be injured. It is always the innocent passengers and even more tragically, the victims can be in an entirely different car.
Smoking is another large issue within the college community. Many teenagers who smoke have been smoking for a few years and started smoking at an early age. One teen said he began smoking at the age of thirteen. When asked if he thought the age he began smoking was an appropriate age to start smoking, his response was, “No, I wish I never started, but I do not think any age is an appropriate age to begin smoking.” However, smoking is the teen’s decision. Even though most people do not agree with teens smoking, a good percentage of adults smoke cigarettes. Therefore, the influence in smoke is constantly around teens and young children. They pick up this bad habit and it is all downhill from there. Cigarettes are extremely addictive.
On the other hand, some teens also like to smoke socially. This usually occurs at parties or just when they feel like hanging around outside of their ‘dorms’. However, eight out of fourteen teenagers state that they do not smoke and do not plan on starting now. They all agreed that they would rather smoke socially than be addicted to smoking cigarettes on a daily basis.
Drug usage is the third huge area of abuse among students in college. The majority of these teens have tried the most common gateway drug, marijuana. Many of these teenagers said they have also tried mushrooms, ecstasy, and speed. They all agreed that heroin is the most dangerous drug and they would never think about trying it. On the other hand, three out of the fourteen teenagers claimed that they have never tried a drug and have no desire to.