During high school, you may hear your friends, parents, or even a coach tell you to “just be yourself” – but what does that really mean?
Knowing who you are and what you believe in is important. Recognizing the influences in your life (both good and bad) makes it easier for you to make important choices about who to hang out with and whether or not to try drugs or alcohol. There is a complicated list of reasons why people try or use drugs. Some people do it to change the way they feel.
Sometimes people use drugs to go along with the crowd and cover up their insecurities. Consider this — former users often say that drugs ended up isolating them from friends and family and made them feel even more alone. Instead of going along with what some people are doing, you could spend more of your energy on you – your style, your viewpoints, and your own way of doing things. You can’t control what another person thinks about you.
Isn’t it more worthwhile to work on what you think about yourself, and not try to shape someone else’s impression of you? Just be yourself and hang with friends who encourage you to be who you are, and not who they want you to be. And don’t be too hard on yourself—you may be your toughest critic. Hang out with people who support you and be careful of people who are all about negativity.
Consequences of Underage Drinking
School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.
Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.
Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.
Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.
Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.
Physical and sexual assault.
Higher risk for suicide and homicide.
Alcohol-related car crashes and unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls & drowning.
Abuse of other drugs.
Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.
Death from alcohol poisoning.
"Persons reporting first use of alcohol before age 15 are more than five times as likely to report past-year alcohol dependence or abuse than persons who first used alcohol at age 21 or older (16 percent compared with 3 percent)."− Office of Applied Studies
"About 45 percent of fatalities in crashes involving a drinking driver under the age of 21 are people other than the driver."− The NSDUH Report
"Underage alcohol use increases the risk of academic failure, illicit drug use, and tobacco use. It can cause a range of physical consequences, from hangovers to death from alcohol poisoning. It can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain, which continues to mature into the mid to late 20s and may have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence."− The NSDUH Report
"People do things when they are under the influence of alcohol—even a small amount—that they would not do when they are sober, including having sex even when they didn't want to and had not planned to do so. This behavior can increase the chance of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS."− Too Smart To Start