Drug education needed

| 01/07/2009

There isn’t enough support and education in schools for drug and alcohol abuse prevention. In this modern day support and information is what is needed in our teenagers’ life. Drinking is a big problem here in the Cayman Islands that has tarnished the reputation of the young people today.

 I could give you a list of at least 20 people that aren’t even 18 yet that drink alcohol on a daily basis. Drinking at such a young stage in your life is basically suicide. There are safer ways to deal with problems. You’d just be creating another dilemma for yourself by going down this path.

Now I know the whole story about why people drink and do drugs. “Oh, I was so stressed!” or, “I was pressured.” The truth is it is you who makes decisions for yourself. You weren’t pressured. You decided to take drugs and drink liquor because you thought you would appear “cool” by the standards of today’s media, which seems to always be right.

The media has had a massive influence on how the life of teenagers in these times is lived. Smoking makes you look tough and drinking makes you look cool. It is shown every day and sadly some of the teens today are brainwashed by it all. We need something in our lives to guide us and keep us on the right track.

Schools should enforce the prevention of use of drugs and alcohol. Here in Cayman Brac I can count only one assembly where they talked to us about drugs and alcohol. In the life skills class they just touch on the topic of drugs and alcohol. I also went to school in Grand Cayman as well and, I must say, not too much was done there either. Sure the D.A.R.E. program helped kids who already knew what to do, but honestly those who already were introduced to such things weren’t affected. I can count about 10 students I used to go to school with who are or have been in run-ins with the law because of drugs and alcohol. There just isn’t enough support for the teens. We need an in depth program that has the full support of the government and the schools. Something that serves not only as a guide, but also as a reference, something that students can come back to and something they can actually use.

In the end, I believe it all comes down to morals and home training. Teens need guidance nowadays. Teens who have parents who drink and do drugs themselves and far more likely to do drugs and drink than those who don’t. Parents need to guide their children and teach them right from wrong. With such negative examples shown in the media today it is, understandably, hard at times to prevent such things, but with the right amount of perseverance it is possible.

It might be a sensitive subject to talk about, but in this day and age it is necessary. Parents need to know everything. If this issue isn’t controlled, slowly but surely we’ll be breeding a new generation comprised of addicts and alcoholics.

I feel that drugs and alcohol should never be associated with teenagers. I understand there are hardships that many of us must go through. Peer pressure, stress, phobias, worries about your future; they can all be overwhelming at times, but using drugs and turning to alcohol all seems very pointless to me. To me you would be slowly killing yourself bit by bit.

Malcolm Hurlston is a Year 11 student at the Cayman Brac High School

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  1. Szocske says:

    Nice article, important topics, and I can only agree with most points. The first sentence, however, is misleading: as if more drug education would help. This is an extremely delicate question, and quantity can not substitute quality. In fact well-intended, but unfounded efforts, with the usual amounts of exaggeration can do more harm than good.

    We are living the information age, young people doubly so. Lies will quickly get exposed, and jeopardise the credibility of drug education.

    In my humble opinion drug education should focus on the heightened health risks on developing bodies and minds, theabsurdity of administering drugs of unknown/unreliable composition, purity and strength, the negative effects of crime and the criminal lifestyle the drug purchases support on the community.

    Kids are smart, they will figure out many illegal drugs are not inherently "bad, mkay?", most are less harmful or addictive than alcohol, some are the active ingredients of legitimate pharmaceutics, and few have such low ratio of intended dosage / lethal dosage than over-the-counter paracetamol for example.

    If you plan to scare kids into abstinence by falsifying readily available facts, you are going to be laughed at, ignored, and your valid points will be dismissed along with the scaremongering ones.

  2. Merv Nash says:

    Well said Malcolm,

    One of the key things that we have discovered is that a very large proportion of kids start off with being bored. For whateveer reason, sometimes it is bad grades or being made to learn things they aren’t interested in. Sometimes it is they have no purpose or goals. When asked what do you want to have from life there is a big silence or they say "lots of money" and then when you say that’s great, what are you going to do to get it you get an even longer silence. In other words no goals, or they have some wierd idea that they should get it all for nothing.

    Only a criminal works on the idea that he is owed a living and everything should be given to him without him having to do anything. No purpose leads to bordom, leads to drugs to escape the bordom, leads to stealing which of course is criminal. A one way trip but all down hill.

    If you can restore or help a person find their purpose you can get them to have a reason to live again.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Very well put together. And it appears you have real insight into this issue. It’s good to say what you feel strongly about and I hope the government will address it properly, as many people seem to forget that it is a serious matter.