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Red Ribbon

By Rafael Almanza

Growing up, adults would always tell us to stay away from addictive substances. However, many people, particularly teenagers, disregard this warning because of events in their lives. However these warnings have a deeper meaning. Many times, the people who tell us not to use drugs are the same people who are aware of the actual harm that these substances can cause in our lives as we grow older. These substances tend to be anything that isn’t prescribed to you by physicians for medical use, including alcohol, and nicotine substances.

To help spread this message, many schools put up signs that say “No Smoking” or “Don't Do Drugs” and enforce them. In addition, schools promote something called “Red Ribbon” week, which is a week of raising awareness to keep students drug-free. This week can include decorating the school to constantly remind students of the message and passing out actual red ribbons, which can be seen as trophies. This week is held from the twenty-third to the thirty-first of October of every school year.

As previously stated, many adult figures advise us to avoid drugs such as marijuana. This is because most drugs are highly addictive and can lead you to make poor choices in life that can heavily impact your career and performance in almost anything. Substances such as nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs can weaken the way you do things in your everyday life such as slurring your words. Additionally the use of many substances that are not prescribed can cause mental health issues.

The legal age for consuming alcohol in the United States is twenty-one, which most likely all high schoolers aren’t. Alcohol consumption can cause a lack of coordination and slow reactions. Many times, drinking will cause poor sleep and mental health issues such as depression. Studies show that alcohol is more dangerous to teenagers than adults since it causes physical immaturity in our minds. This is especially true if you drive, due to it causing you to lose focus, but most importantly, it will cause you to crash and injure yourself and others. Not only will you injure someone else, but it will also give you a DUI carrying a fine of $350 to $18,000.

Most drugs are already illegal for unprescribed consumption, especially for minorities. Drugs are usually used to ease pain from medical injuries or to prevent diseases; they are not to be administered or consumed for enjoyment or if they aren’t required for the consumer’s health. We as students sometimes go through certain situations in our lives that cause depression or sadness for us, which in turn causes many students to turn to drugs to “numb themselves” to what they’re going through. Though some students just use drugs to look cool or impress others, there are many life-critical side effects to taking drugs, which can include withdrawal, depression, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, addiction, loss of self-control, and poor judgment. The biggest side effect is that being addicted to drugs can ruin your life in the long run by preventing you from doing certain things and stopping you from having a successful career.

In the end, just make sure that we as students stay drug-free, not just for others but for ourselves. If you are feeling like you are going through something, there are officials you can talk to for help. If you feel you are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there are officials you can talk to as well. Don’t do drugs!

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