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Educating Youth About Addiction

If you or a family member has struggled with addiction and has spent time with Treatment Alternatives of Massachusetts, then you know first-hand the ordeal of the disease. It is a strenuous journey to undergo, and yet people take it for the first time anyway and get hooked. Why do people even try drugs in the first place? Here are a few common reasons that people decide to take a drug. Perhaps understanding the reasons people start using drugs in the first place will shed light on how to go about educating youth about addiction for future prevention.

  • People suffering from mental illnesses take it to ease the pain of their suffering. It is difficult to function on a daily basis when you have a mental illness that is debilitating. People may try a drug because they feel that there is nothing else to lose, and something must give out to ease the suffering.
  • People see their role models doing drugs, and so they rationalize it. During your youth, you can be extremely impressionable. An adolescent simply wishes to fit in and feel accepted. This can cause people during this age to do things that are out of character, such as trying a substance.
  • People use drugs to cope with stress. Nowadays, there are so many added societal pressures, particularly to appear and conduct yourself in a certain way. The burden of meeting today’s impossible standards of beauty and behavior has driven people to resort to drugs to alleviate the internal pressure.
  • People think that if the drug is prescribed by a doctor, then it is okay. It is easy to rationalize the use of a drug if it was prescribed for someone else with your same ailments. This is a dangerous slope. You never know how the side effects will impact you, or if you will become physically dependent on it. Just because doctors use a substance does not make it automatically safe. You must be skeptical.
  • It is human curiosity. Illicit substances are a “forbidden fruit” so to speak. Some people are curious about the effects of using a substance, and they think that they can get away with trying it. They tell themselves that addiction won’t happen to them. The sad truth, however, is that it can happen to anyone.


The above points are just a few factors that may impact a person’s decision to try drugs. At Treatment Alternatives of Massachusetts, we believe that it is important to educating youth about addiction and the serious repercussions of drug use. Perhaps the reason it isn’t getting through to today’s youth is because it hasn’t been fully explained in a way that puts things in perspective. Educators should explain to children that taking a drug, even one time, can get you dependent on it. Trying a drug once can steer your life down a different path, one without hopes of fulfilling hopes and dreams. Educators should ask the group to write down their dreams and future aspirations. Most likely, the list will include points such as going to college. Then, educators should proceed to explain how those hopes and dreams can be squandered by a path incorporating drug use. It needs to really sink in with people from a young age that using drugs can delay one’s dreams, so educating youth about addiction from early ages is helpful and can prevent future use.

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