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Teens: The real reasons behind smoking and drinking

by JADA MINAYA Section Editor

Teenagers, to this very day, have been unbelievably misunderstood while battling things like stress, bullying, anxiety, depression, the pressure of fitting in, and still trying to find themselves.

Along with all these pressures comes smoking and drinking, something a majority of teenagers experience AT LEAST once during their high school journey.

High schools force Power points and assemblies onto students, trying to shift them down a different road so students do not experiment with alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, prescription medication, and many other drugs. However, schools have been doing this for years and students are still getting drunk and high on the weekends and possibly even the weekdays. It is something we cannot seem to avoid as time passes.

If you are an adult trying to stop the intoxication, think back to your own teenage years. Kids were drinking and smoking all the time. This is one thing time simply does not change.

But many, even myself, ask, “Why do they do it? Why is it something so unavoidable?” In order to understand this, you have to speak to the teens themselves. Get into a teenager’s head. There is much more to it than one can think.

“Depression,” junior Samantha Collura said when asked why she thinks teens smoke and drink.

Depression seemed to be a recurring theme when asking students why they thought other teenagers smoked and drank because it is difficult to avoid. The stress of school, family, themselves, friends, and others pile onto a young teenager’s back, causing them to feel depressed and anxious. Is smoking and drinking a gateway to relief for them?

“I think kids drink and smoke because it makes them forget reality for a little, it makes them laugh, and it makes it easier to talk to people, they just have more fun,” said sophomore Molly Genthe.

Students also suffer from social anxiety. I would know because I myself suffer from it. When being surrounded by many people, they get nervous and almost do not know how to react. Being intoxicated can help them release that anxiety and be more social.

Many other students have answered similarly when asked why they think teenagers smoke and drink at a young age:

Junior Kyle Crane: Kids do it at first to fit in, but then it becomes a habitual act as time goes on and they really don’t see why not to.

Junior Gabrielle Munoz: They want to fit in and escape feeling stressed and just have a good time and they’re surrounded by it all the time at every party.

Junior Matthew Pelligra: Everyone wants to enjoy high school.

Junior Dylan Kupstas: Honestly most kids do it to fit in, but for others, it’s just their way of life.

Senior Alexis Burnopp: It helps take away their depression and forget about what they go through at home, it takes the pain away. They also want to fit in.

Teens just wanting to fit in seems to be a recurring theme, as well as wanting to ease pain and have a good time. Well, why do adults drink and smoke? Mostly the same reasons. Teenagers and adults have a lot more in common than you would think.

Although it is obviously not okay, and underage drinking and illegal smoking is something that is not condoned, teenagers experience these things young and are surrounded by it for the rest of their lives. The society we live in makes it difficult to stay away and not be attracted somewhat to such things, which is strange because they are the number one reasons why problems arise in people’s lives.

As much as we try to teach kids “Don’t do drugs, don’t drink underage and don’t smoke cigarettes,” how often do they listen? Is there really any way to change this? This could possibly be our generation’s way of life.

What are your thoughts?

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