24 Aug Experimenting with Drugs – Understanding the Potential Dangers
In this day and age, many people seem to expect that teens will experiment with drugs – or at least be tempted to. However, young adults are sometimes overlooked as being likely to experiment with recreational drugs as well. At a time when they are expected to become more mature and take on the responsibilities of adult life, many of these individuals are looking for ways to enjoy their independence.
Leaving home for college and being free to make their own decisions for the first time is a fun and exciting experience. It may also be the first time some young adults are exposed to or have access to a variety of drugs. College students in particular may find that their newfound freedom has put them in a position where drugs are easily attainable. Not only that, drug use is accepted, and even encouraged, by many of their peers.
There are many reasons that young adults may choose to try drugs for the first time, or try new – and often more potent – drugs than they ‘ve used in the past. The desire to experiment may stem from something as simple as have a new circle of friends or a new, more carefree, lifestyle. But in many cases it stems from a desire to escape problems, particularly the stress that often accompanies the demands of college life or being on one’s own for the first time.
Many young adults buy into the naive illusion that drug experimentation is innocent and harmless. After all, what’s the danger in “just this once” (or so their thinking often goes). Unfortunately, experimenting with drugs can – and often does – have very serious consequences. Following are some of the dangers associated with this all-too-common activity.
Increasing the Potential for Addiction
Many young adults still perceive themselves as invincible. They’re confident that they’re too disciplined or strong-willed to ever develop a drug addiction. They naively believe that willpower alone is all they need to keep them from becoming addicted, especially if they’re just “giving drugs a try”. What they often fail to realize is that there’s a very real physical component to the way some drugs impact the brain that make them highly addictive.
Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs available today. It’s a popular drug for a variety of reasons including its availability, its stimulant effects, and the extreme euphoria it produces. It’s not uncommon for people to become addicted to it after only one use.
Popular drugs, such as the painkillers OxyContin and Vicodin, seem deceptively safe because they’re prescription drugs and not “street” drugs per se. They also produce a very appealing sense of euphoria when used recreationally. Users often quickly develop a tolerance and before long, find themselves with a serious drug addiction.
Once addicted, users often find that they’re unable to stop taking many drugs abruptly due to the severe withdrawal symptoms that inevitably occur. In order to overcome their addiction, many addicts will need medically supervised detox in which the drugs are gradually tapered. Once detox is complete, a comprehensive drug rehab program is the most effective way to ensure a successful and lasting recovery.
Needless to say, the drug addiction detox and rehab process can take several weeks to several months. For a young adult in college or a new career, the costs can be significant in terms of both lost time and money. Sadly, many either never even seek treatment or end up in and out of treatment multiple times over the next several years or decades.
Deterioration in Quality of Life
Even though most young adults who start experimenting with drugs do so for fun and recreation, their drug use may gradually take priority over everything that was once important to them. For example, their relationships often begin to suffer as they spend more and more time getting high instead of spending time with close friends, family, or their significant other.
If they’re in college or grad school, drug use can have a seriously detrimental effect on their grades and overall performance. What started out as just a few “uppers” to stay awake during final exams may be the very thing that leads to a damaged GPA or, even worse, dropping out altogether or getting expelled from a prestigious program. In addition to the initial humiliation and disappointment, the impact on their career aspirations can be devastating.
Work and finances may also begin to suffer. A substance abuse problem or drug addiction can make it very difficult to adhere to a schedule. The frequent tardiness or missed days from work can lead to job loss. The loss of income can quickly lead to unpaid bills and, as time goes on, seriously damaged credit.
Their drug use can also significantly impact their finances if they’re buying drugs regularly. What was initially fun and exciting experimentation can easily lead to an expensive habit, and a controlling need that overrides every other component of their life.
The euphoria, disinhibition, and intense stimulation caused by many drugs often lead people to engage in high risk behaviors. As they become more relaxed and their judgment becomes increasingly impaired, they may find themselves doing things they would never have considered otherwise. This is one of the greatest dangers of experimenting with drugs. A night of “fun” can easily have devastating consequences that last for a lifetime.
High risk behaviors often associated with drug use include having unprotected sex, sharing needles, driving recklessly, getting into altercations, or venturing into dangerous situations. The consequences may include unwanted pregnancies, contracting diseases such as HIV or hepatitis, getting into a serious accident, ending up in jail, or getting raped or attacked.
Just as many people believe they can handle experimenting with drugs without consequence, many also believe they are never too impaired to drive. In addition to the added risk of having an accident while driving under the influence, there are also the potential legal consequences to consider. Once a DUI has gone on their record, it’s there to stay. Repeat offenses can result in the temporary and even permanent loss of the license to drive.
A DUI is not the only potential legal consequence. If someone is injured or killed by an intoxicated driver, the legal consequences will likely be severe – not to mention the years of guilt and emotional pain of knowing one is responsible for such a tragedy.
There are also often serious financial consequences associated with legal issues. These may come in the form of fines, attorney’s fees, court costs, and other associated expenses. Injuries resulting from an accident can be very costly due to medical expenses as well as lost income if work time is missed.
Those caught with drugs in their possession may face very serious legal consequences, including misdemeanor or even felony drug charges. Jail or prison time, expensive legal fees, a damaged reputation, and a permanent record of drug possession are some of the very serious consequences associated with such a crime.
Not Worth the Risk
Regardless of anyone’s initial intention for experimenting with drugs, there is always a high degree of risk involved. This really can’t be emphasized enough, yet it is ignored far too often in a moment of temptation.
Every person is different when it comes to how their brain works and how a particular drug will affect them. The long-term effects of experimenting with drugs can never be accurately predicted. For many, it leads to drug addiction and other undesirable outcomes. Although it may be fun for a little while, there truly is no such thing as safely experimenting with drugs. The potential for devastating and lifelong consequences is just too great for such temporary bliss.
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