Peer pressure: the building block to meth use

By Jillian Smith
April 10, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

I was flipping through the TV channels trying to find something mindless enough to make me fall asleep, something that wouldn’t keep me interested for very long and would soon be just a distant buzzing in my dreams. Mind you, it was 5 a.m.

So as I numbly sat in bed pushing the channel-up button every 2 seconds, a cute southern-accented boy caught my attention. I put the remote down, volumed up twice and stared at the TV waiting to see what he was talking about.

He was walking along, what seemed like a quaint little neighborhood, talking to an interviewer off camera – this was definitely a documentary – about how bad his life had been and how screwed up he was.

As I listened more intently, wondering why this cute southern boy was so messed up, a cut in for a commercial break pops up with the title of the documentary, “A Question of Life or Meth” on A&E in the classroom written in white with a black background.

Wait. Excuse me? Life or Meth? Meth as in crystal methamphetamine, the drug?

I sat through the commercials to see exactly what my southern boy was going to say next. And just as I had suspected, the cute 20-something-year-old was a recovering meth addict and was telling his story about his times using.

The documentary showed pictures of his “meth mouth” with rotted and decaying teeth and many holes from where teeth had fallen out.

Next, a medical doctor showed viewers a quick look at a common “meth lab” used to make crystal meth. They showed many of the ingredients – one being Draino, yeah, the stuff you use to unclog your drains, and crushed up common cold medicines. Not to mention that while making crystal meth there is a chance of it exploding if one of the gases used is overheated.

As I sat in bed watching this documentary, it hit me. Why on Earth would anyone want to do meth? Why would anyone inject themselves or smoke “poison” to get them high?

I continued to watch the documentary, listening to people’s meth addiction stories. Most of the people interviewed were young. The youngest being a 17-year-old girl.

Most of the stories were the same – they went out with friends, noticed they were doing meth and decided to join in. They all regretted their first time.

There was my answer as to why anyone would want try meth: peer pressure. Yeah, there were some cases of depression and meth’s high made them feel great, however, it all boiled down to one simple fact – peer pressure was the building block for meth use.

Weren’t we all taught how to say “no” to peer pressure back in middle school and then again in high school? That it was “okay” to turn down “friends” who coerced you into doing something because in the end, they weren’t really your friends?

Okay, I know. I went to middle school and high school too and I know that it is never that easy to say no to someone you think of as a friend. However, if you know it’s wrong and have any respect for yourself whatsoever, then you know how to stand up to that person without feeling like an idiot.

And if you can’t stand up to that person because you are afraid to lose them as a friend – then they were never your friend to begin with because friends respect friends’ decisions.

Also, along with peer pressure, will-power to stay strong against friends and drug use is another main factor of why so many people succumb to addiction. These two go hand-in-hand.

Standing your ground in a situation where friends are trying to persuade you to do something is one of those things you will feel proud of later, no matter how many times your “friends” made fun of you or mocked you.

Throughout the documentary were mock-commercials in which a story from the documentary was turned into one- to two-minute anti-meth use ad.

One ad started with a young girl driving in her car with her voice-over saying something like, “I was on my way to the party. I wish my car would have gone off the road. I wish it would have flipped over. I wished the crash would have broken my neck. I wish I would have died. Instead, I went to the party and got addicted to meth.” Then a quick shot of the girl lighting up with dry, cracked skin, wrinkles, dark circles under her eyes and cuts and scars on her lips and face.

She would rather have died that night than go to that party and start using meth. Wow.

Peer pressure is a terrible thing. Having respect for yourself and for your body to not allow something so deadly slowly kill you isn’t.

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Jillian Smith

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