Trouble With the Law
Trouble With the Law is a Sobering Experience By Kingofjason By the 8th grade, 52% of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 41% have smoked cigarettes, and 20% have used marijuana. When a student suggested to me that I write an editorial about the dangers of drugs, I didnít exactly jump at the idea. However, after much consideration and contemplation of the subject, I decided to educate students about exactly what kind of drug problem average teens today are facing, and how a drug userís involvement with the long arm of the law can seriously affect his or her life. In order to help students like you aware of what can happen to them, both physically and socially, if they get involved in drugs, itís necessary to educate you of exactly what type of drug problem teens are facing in high school. Of 40 Sullivan High School students questioned, 70% concluded that they drink on a regular basis, amounting to at least 35 times a month. According to the GDCADA, Youth who drink alcohol are 7.5 times more likely to use any illicit drug, and 50 times more likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink alcohol. Of course, anyone will understand why this is, as alcohol lowers inhibitions and decreases the users ability to make rational decisions and choices. All of the students who have ever become intoxicated can support this claim. It doesnít take a rocket scientist to determine that if a high school aged teen becomes drunk, the teen is more likely to experiment with other psychoactive drugs. Just think about it. If Joe Cool has been drinking all night and one of his buddy pulls out a joint, Joe will be much more likely to forget both long term and short term consequences in order to experience the effect of the Marijuana. This is called ďImmediate GratificationĒ, meaning a user wants to feel good now, and they donít care about the consequences. Itís obvious that many students use marijuana and alcohol on a regular basis. However, deeper down in the pool of illegal activity and illicit behavior lies the more intense drugs which can really get a teenager into trouble with the law. Prescription Pain Medications/ Tranquilizers, Ecstasy, Cocaine, and Methamphetamines are now commonly used by many teens like you. Thankfully, many teenagers who use drugs limit themselves to marijuana or alcohol use, due to the ignorance of other drugs. Most casual drinkers and smokers in high school have never heard of the more intense drugs. This does not change the fact that they still exist. 10% of Illinois teens say that they have been to a rave, and Ecstasy was available at more than twothirds of these raves, or available from friends before the rave. That still doesnít include the ecstasy users who have not been to a rave. Cocaine and Methamphetamines were a bigger deal at Sullivan High School than many realize. Hopefully, however, the bulk of the addiction storm has passed. 7.8% of Sullivan High School Students use or have used Cocaine in the past year. On top of that, 6.7% of those same students have used Methamphetamines in the same period of time. Some may think that those numbers arenít very high, but when you compare the percentage to how many students attend Sullivan High School, the statistics are unbelievably high. 11.4% of interviewed Sullivan High School students have abused prescription pain killers and tranquilizers in the past year. These drugs include Valium, Morphine Sulfate Contin, Oxycontin, Xanax, and Colonopin. These drugs are common because they are very easy to get a hold of. Sullivan High School teens have now discovered that regular illicit drug use is more than a myth, but few know what getting caught can do to a young person. A teenager caught using alcohol or marijuana normally gets off with a fine and probation the first time around. If they are caught again while on probation or court supervision, the teen can be charged again with their original crime and the consequences can be much more heavy. However, teens caught with substances such as Cocaine, Methamphetamines, Ecstasy, Ketamine, or various prescription medications, can face serious consequences. When an average teen gets busted with these drugs, depending on the amount there is almost always jail time involved, with probation or parole to follow. Unfortunately, most teens donít realize that when you turn 17, you become an adult in the legal system and are prosecuted as if you are a full grown adult, no holds barred. With the heavier drugs, usually extra convictions follow, such as intent to sell, intent to distribute, transportation, purchase, and sale of the drug. The state can take away someoneís vehicle if it was used in the transportation of drugs, along with any other property that was involved in the manufacturing, distribution, or use of the illegal drug. Many teens donít know that if they stash drugs in their house, and in one way or another the police discover these drugs, the teen MUST claim it, or the parents will be charged with possession. Many teens love to use the argument with their parents that ďItís my room, youíre not gonna get into trouble, so let me do my thing!Ē Worst of all, there is nothing more terrible than a teen who has to spend time in Jail. Although most teens would love to believe the movies, County Jail or State Prison is much worse than it appears on television. Also, many High School Students donít realize that having a felony conviction on your record will definitely hurt oneís ability to get a desired job. On top of that, a felon who does not successfully complete probation or parole will have no chance to practice in the field of medicine, which is a common field of interest in teens nowadays. In addition to the fact that during probation you are at the mercy of a blood thirsty probation officer who has access to your home and urine at any time, there are many more restrictions imposed on a convicted userís freedom. Life will never be the same for those convicted of even the most simple drug crimes. If heavy physical damage and the risk of death of yourself or another person is not enough to convince you to abstain from drug use, think about jail, probation, drug tests, rehab, drug education/safety classes, random home visits from probation officers, license revocation or suspension, expulsion or suspension from school, constant watch from police, a criminal record that will never disappear, and the constant humiliation that comes with your entire community know what kind of trouble you have gotten yourself into.