Many parents of teens feel like they are living with strangers, and breaking into the world that teens inhabit can seem impossible. The latest episode of “Enough is Enough: Addiction,” is allowing people a glimpse into the minds of teens when it comes to drug use by interviewing three seventeen-year-olds about their experiences.
“Your parents aren’t around as much, so your friends are kind of your parents, and they tell you it’s normal,” said one boy.
“When you’re in middle school you watch the older kids and the way they get their feelings out is drinking and smoking,” said another.
The kids discuss drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism for dealing with trauma and unpleasant feelings.
“The reason why I smoke weed, the reason why I drink alcohol is because it puts me in a different reality,” one teen confided. “In my reality I’m clinically depressed.”
However, teens aren’t just using drugs to escape.
“They just do it. It’s around and you can drink, so you drink,” said a girl in the video. One of the boys said that he has made a lot of friends through smoking, starting when he was just 13.
All of the teens seem to think that the popular “just say no” message of drug education fall flat with teenagers.
“Weed can be a gateway, because we’re taught that everything is so bad. They’re just saying ‘It’s bad,’ but you smoke weed and you’re laughing,” the girl said, adding that that makes teens less likely to believe that other drugs like pills are dangerous.
All three agreed that drug education needs to present information in a more respectful way that teenagers can relate to.
“We understand more,” one boy said.
However, the teens did say that parental attitudes and openness can make a big difference in teens’ outcomes.
“A lot of kids who have parents who are open about it talk to them about it, those kids seem to get in a lot less of those [bad] situations,” the girl said.
One boy said that he felt more connected to and honest with his mother when she moved from telling him not to smoke to asking why he continued to smoke despite her objections.
All three were confident that while they have experimented with drugs, they would not fall victim to addiction.
“It’s all about your attitude and the positions that you put yourself in. You say you’re not going to do it and just stick to [that],” the girl said.
“I know at some point I’m going to have to grow up and stop smoking, because this life isn’t meant to just be spent smoking weed,” one boy said.