Want to Make Sure You Graduate? Stay Away From Alcohol and Drugs

Want to Make Sure You Graduate? Stay Away From Alcohol and Drugs

September 23rd, 2015 Alcohol Addiction, Helpful Articles

The statistics leave no doubt: if you are a teen and you start a relationships with drugs and alcohol, your chances of graduating from high school and moving on to college will be reduced. And the deeper you get involved, the more likely you are to see your dreams smashed to pieces before you ever make it out of school and into the adult world. One-third of high school dropouts blame drugs and alcohol for their poor life outcomes, and a sizeable portion of the remaining two-thirds are probably still in denial or too ashamed to admit the truth.

Undermining academic performance is of course only one way that drugs and alcohol could prevent you from getting your diploma. Each year almost 3,000 teens in the 16 to 19 age group will be killed in automobile accidents, and another 300,000 teens of various ages will require treatment in emergency rooms following their involvement in such crashes. Beyond the kids who lose their lives, many of these victims are so seriously hurt that all of their pursuits—including those related to school—have to be put on hold.

Alcohol is the biggest problem here, and about 25 percent of teen drivers involved in car accidents have blood-alcohol content levels above the legal limit. But if adolescent drivers with any amount of drugs or alcohol in their systems were included, this figure would undoubtedly rise above the 50 percent mark. And adolescent passengers injured in these wrecks have also been drinking or drugging in the majority of cases, so even when kids drink but don’t drive, they are still not protected from danger.

You’ve heard a lot about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse and adolescence don’t mix, you’ve been told—and told, and told. Maybe you take it all seriously, or maybe by this point you just roll your eyes and dismiss it all as a scare tactic.

If you’re like most teens, you probably fall somewhere in-between these two extremes. This means you’re reacting in a normal and healthy way to the constant warnings of adult authority figures, since even the smartest and hippest teachers and parents can lay it on a little thick at times. But while experimenting with alcohol and marijuana in particular is common among young people and won’t automatically curse you for life, when you start fooling around with drugs and alcohol you will be walking a very fine line, right from the beginning.

A Sober Look at a Devious Disease

If we’re talking about graduation night or prom night, you probably already know about the risks. These are occasions when even the most responsible kids can run into trouble with alcohol, marijuana or harder substances they would typically avoid. Graduation and prom are like rites of passage for adolescents, which means young people see them as doorways through which they must pass in order to make the transition from childhood to adulthood. In this case, the rules are off (those are for kids!), and some teens will do just about anything if they think it proves they are all grown up.

It is a mistake, however, to focus so heavily on these special events. Substance use problems that develop over the long term are the biggest problems. You might know a few kids from school who come from tough backgrounds or who’ve been getting into trouble for a long time. When you see them abusing drugs or alcohol, you probably figure it was inevitable and has no relevance to you. But the sad fact is every single person, of any age, who chooses to drink or use could end up an addict.

It is just that simple; while there are a few self-destructive people in any crowd, the vast majority of teens who try drugs or alcohol never think they will end up addicted. And if you have any doubts about that, just ask them—all around you are kids who’ve either messed up in the past or are messing up right now, thanks to the drugs and alcohol that are twisting them into pretzels. Some might be in denial about their problems, but of course that only proves the point—they can’t or won’t admit the truth about their addictions because they never believed they were at risk of getting addicted in the first place.

What It Really Means to Be an Adult

Teens don’t need a lecture and they don’t need anyone exaggerating the risks. So many young lives have been damaged by drugs and alcohol—some permanently—that examples of it are easy to find.

Just open your eyes and look around you, and you will quickly realize this is true. If you insist on drinking and drugging, none of your hopes, dreams or life ambitions are secure. The proof of that is widely available and right in front of your face.

Of course you might make it through, even if you take the risk. You might graduate at the top of your class and eventually put your alcohol or drug use behind you. Then again, you might not; that is a fact, and you should proceed cautiously as you make decisions that on the surface seem casual but might very well be putting your entire future in the danger zone.

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