Dear Teen Editor,

I am writing this letter to you because I don't know what to do. I am really scared that my use of heroin is out of control. I feel pressured by my friends to be a part of the drug scene. I see people in the media using drugs for pleasure. When I'm high on drugs, I forget all my problems and school is unimportant. I've dropped out of sports and I do whatever I can to get money for my drugs. I read your column and know you talk straight to teenagers. Can you help me?


Dear Desperate,

To take control of heroin you must learn about four key points. Peer presure, assertion, decision making, and media pressure. These four points are why people decide to do drugs or not to do drugs.

Peer pressure is one of the biggest reasons someone does drugs. If you are feeling pressured from your friends just start by saying no and making an excuse. If your friends keep harrassing you to do drugs the best thing is to change your peer group. If you still want to remain friends with that group you can, but avoid the situation and environment where they do drugs. If the problem continues you need to be assertive.

Assertion means to take control of yourself and make the other person know what you're saying. To be assertive you need to be able to say no with confidence. With confidence you need to look the person in the eyes and state your reason. If you are then feeling threatened by the drug using peer group, find a non-using group woth more people because there is more strength in numbers. Before being assertive you need to make your decision.

You need to learn decision making. Before you do the drug think of the consequences toward your body and legal consequences. Think of what your parents or grandparents would think about what you're doing. Also, decide what is best for your body, I recommend getting back into sports. When you quit drugs sports and school importance will increase. These are more important than drugs anyways. If you need to you could delay use and start quiting slowly. You could decide to negotiate and come up with something else to do with your friends other than drugs, like go to a movie. But movies do display media pressure.

Although there is media pressure to do drugs there are also consequences. The media glamorizes the highs but you never see the withdrawal and the consequences. Many celebrities who are users go through the same addiction and problems as "real" people. When you see the celebrities use the drug for pleasure you need to understand they have the money to afford it, and most "real" people don't. They also can afford rehab and other help outlets which "real" people can't.

So next time you are about to take heroin or you're being pressured to, think about peer pressure, assertion, decision making, and media pressure. Thinking of these will help you make the right decision. Best thing for you is to quit and get back into sports and school because in the long run is quitting sports and school for drugs worth it?

Best of luck,

Teen Editor



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