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Drugs, as seen from a 12-year-old

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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To offer different insight, here’s a guest post written by a 12-year-old, illuminating the scarcity of drug knowledge kids have. Tomorrow, I’ll look into the drugs he discusses. Today, here are his thoughts on drugs and responses to questions posed by me. This is his unedited, typed draft:

So I’m sitting in this school assembly and I’m like “Why do I have to be here?” Well the answer most of my seventh grade teachers would give is “ because its educational and beneficial to our society. The reason I say “why do I have to be here” is because I’m obviously an angel (hehe…) who would never do drugs. I mean, what the heck is “ White Lightning?” “Trail Mix?” “Hurricane Charlie?!?!?!” I admit, some of the kids at my school might do drugs, but I don’t think anybody does “Hurricane Charlie”! Sometimes I wonder about my school and what they teach us there. Now Cassie is going to ask me some questions.

Question: From what you know and what you’ve been taught, what seems to be the scariest drug?

Answer: Definitely “Hurricane Charlie.” ( I don’t know for sure what that is, but they talked about it and I think it’s ecstasy.) That sounds absolutely TERRIFYING!

Question: Is alcohol a drug?

Answer: Yes, it is. At the assembly, they said even though it’s not illegal, alcohol is a drug. They didn’t talk about it much, but they said too much can disorient your brain for short or long periods of time. (depending on how much you drink.)

Question: Do you think kids in middle school do drugs? Is it important to teach about it?

Answer: Probably so. Although I doubt a lot of kids do drugs, I do think it’s important to teach about it because it may teach kids how to act in the future or even in the present. (Although it might be less annoying to not have the assembly EVERY YEAR!)

Question: Do you think they teach the right stuff at the assemblies? Should it be in front of the whole school?

Answer: Yeah, I think they teach the right stuff at the assemblies. (Partly because the school can’t afford to teach the wrong information.) And yes, I think it should be in front of the whole school once. Then to the sixth grade every year for the new kids. Being in seventh grade, I’ve seen it twice, and will see it AGAIN next year. But I know the school has good intentions. (And the assembly is required.)

Question: What do you think about adults drinking and/or doing drugs?

Answer: Probably the same as I think about a kid doing it. I also think that drinking might be okay, as long as you do it i moderation. I think drugs alter your brain a bit more than alcohol, but you should still do it in moderation. Drugs, that different. If it’s illegal, don’t do it. And just because the manufacturers put on the “bath salts” containers that it’s “not for human consumption” doesn’t mean it’s not a drug. Just because that small loophole makes it legal, that doesn’t mean it’s okay.

Question: What do people do with bath salts?

Answer: At the assembly, they told us that you can mix it in a drink, (it’s a powder.) smoke it and other unnecessary and revolting things.

Question: Do you think you’ll try drinking and/or drugs when you’re older?

Answer: Drinking, probably. Drugs? I don’t think so. I don’t want to start having illusions and start feeling things that aren’t actually there.

Question: What is addiction?

Answer: Something that you’re drawn to by a chemical in a drug or other product. I’m not sure what causes addiction, but I know that it’s in cigarettes and different drug products and stuff like that. I guess if you put your mind to it, you can stop. If you smoke, if you don’t smoke for seven straight years, your lungs are completely healed. I learned that from my mom.

Question: Anything else you’d like to say?

Answer: Drugs are dumb, stupid and completely irresponsible of a person to do. Going out to all the people in the world: Don’t do drugs.

Bio: I’m Sam, I’m 12 years old, I live in SC, I hate drugs and I’m an angel. (Hehe…)

Cassie Rodenberg About the Author: I write on culture, poverty, addiction, and mental illness: I explore things we like to ignore. I also teach public school in New York City's South Bronx. Follow on Twitter @cassierodenberg.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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