When in Doubt, Don’t Do Drugs

Girl thinking about drugs.

The title may seem overly simplistic, considering that just about everyone knows that they should not do drugs. Yet, for some reason, there are about twenty-four million people in the United States who are addicted to drugs and alcohol if the assessment of the National Institute on Drug Abuse is worth anything, which it is. So, here we have a logical disparity, one in which where on the one hand it is commonly known that drug and alcohol abuse should be avoided, yet on the other hand, millions of people still take part in this.

Millions of people in America grow up with the absolutely correct concept that they should avoid drugs and alcohol, yet for some reason, they chose to partake in substances regardless. Why is this? How could this be? It certainly seems like a logical paradox. We will explore this veritable calamity and see if we cannot get to the bottom of it.

Peer Pressure is a Factor

Obviously, there must be a few anomalies, a few “glitches in the matrix code” one could say, that throw a hypothetical monkey wrench into the logical assumption that, “If everyone knows that they should not do drugs or drink excessively there should, therefore, be no drug addicts or alcoholics.” Peer pressure is one of them.

Peer pressure is one of the banes of human existence, particularly for young people. Peer pressure is a poison to young men and young women, a poison most unlike anything else. Peer pressure is the act or fact of someone being convinced into doing something that they know is inherently wrong, simply because they are being told to do so by one or more of their peers.

That is what peer pressure is in a nutshell. Peer pressure is especially prominent in young people. Here we have a younger generation that basically more or less knows that drugs and alcohol are bad, yet in the last few years we have had young people misusing alcohol, prescription drugs, and marijuana at unprecedented statistics. Peer pressure plays a big role in this situation. Young people get coerced or bullied or sold on the concept that drugs and alcohol are actually these great things and that they need to do them to “Be cool” or to “Fit in with the group.” So they compromise their own personal integrity and their own knowledge, and they partake in drugs and alcohol, effectively setting themselves down a very vicious path.

A Lack of Education and Information

While the assumption that, “Everyone knows that drugs and alcohol are bad,” is a pretty safe assumption to make, it is not accurate one-hundred percent of the time. In reality, not everyone actually knows for sure that drugs and alcohol are bad. A lot of kids grow up with parents who misuse drugs and alcohol, so those kids will likely not have the firm knowledge that drugs and alcohol are bad.

Another factor is that not every parent talks to their kids about the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration did a study on this, and they found that, while a parent talking to their kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol use can actually reduce the chances of that kid doing drugs and alcohol by about four-hundred percent, only about one out of every three parents will have this conversation with their children. This is a huge oversight in our society today. Every single parent should be having talks with their kids about drugs and alcohol and impressing upon their kids the importance that they stay away from such substances.

Some experts hypothesize that a lack of education and a lack of awareness on exactly why drugs and alcohol are harmful might be a big reason why people end up turning to drugs and alcohol. Sure, yeah, pretty much everyone knows that drugs and alcohol are bad, but how bad are they? Are they really that bad? What will happen if I do drugs or drink? How dangerous are these substances really? Is it really all that bad to try them just once? These are the types of questions that people start asking. And these are the types of logical assessments to justify substance abuse that people will start making when they have a lack of information about drugs and alcohol.

Life Can be Really Terrible Sometimes

Somebody sitting in abandoned playground and holding syringe

Yet another variable that helps create the paradox of why there are twenty-three million drug addicts and alcoholics in the United States even though Americans basically know that they should not do drugs or drink is the variable of, “Life can be really terrible sometimes.”

People rarely become a drug addict or an alcoholic by chance. Common sense and the basic knowledge of what is right and what is wrong has done that much for us at least, done enough to prevent us from just blindly misusing drugs and alcohol.

More often than not, people start doing drugs and alcohol to help themselves cope with some difficult situation in life or some harsh, seemingly insurmountable life problem that one is facing. In these cases, people start misusing drugs and misusing alcohol, even if they know it is the wrong thing to do because they see drug use or alcohol misuse as the lesser of two evils if it covers up some greater problem or life crisis that they are struggling with.

Sometimes, people come to the erroneous conclusion that, even though drugs and alcohol are basically bad, drugs and alcohol can actually solve a problem for them. They see drugs and alcohol as being a safe escape from some problem or difficulty that they are facing in their life. They see it as a solution of sorts, even though drug and alcohol use is never a solution for anything.

Common Sense and Knowledge Prevail Through it All

So we come back to the concept of when in doubt, don’t do drugs. Sure, there are certain medications and certain pharmaceutical drugs that are helpful and that, when used exactly as prescribed by a doctor, can absolutely alleviate certain health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure or a kidney problem or various types of lung problems or respiratory difficulties, etc.

But when it comes to drugs that are addictive, even pharmaceutical drugs that are addictive, and when it comes to heavy drinking, and when it comes to street drugs, the best solution is to say “No” to them, one-hundred percent of the time. Don’t ever let any amount of peer pressure push you to do something that you inherently know is wrong. If you feel like you have a lack of education about drugs and alcohol, get informed, and learn about the true devastation that is experimentation with such substances. And if life is being terrible for you, get to the root of the problem, and solve it using healthy methods and means. Don’t simply try to cover up the problem with mind-altering substances. Drugs may mask the symptoms for a while, but it comes at a terrible price, and it never actually solves the problem, to begin with.

Man sitting on the bench and enjoying view on the beach.

The path to a happy and successful life might begin and end with habits and daily rituals and lifestyles that you do not yet fully comprehend. And that is totally OK. Life should be a process of discovery after all. But one thing that you can be absolutely certain of is that the path to happiness and a successful life in no way begins or ends with drug use or alcohol misuse.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.