Student drug use experiences, reasons vary
*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of individual students
From ecstatic highs to crushing lows, the impact illegal substances have on young users can vary greatly. Additionally, reasons for initial use vary from person to person, and while television shows and movies often portray first-time usage as a result of pressure from others, some students at Manhattan High had a different story to tell.
“[I] just did them for fun really,” *Tyler, a senior, said.
Another common misconception that interviewees were quick to point out was that they were not addicts simply because of their occasional, or, in one person’s case, one-time use.
“I definitely am not like, addicted,” *James, a senior, said. “I have ever only used [marijuana] once.”
While some people see drugs as a quick way to have fun, actual users often have varying experiences with different substances. Tyler, who feels that “the high is fun” with marijuana, has had very negative personal experiences with another drug in the past.
“…the crash for adderall…for me was super depressing and I wanted to die,” Tyler said. “Like I would sit there and just cry.”
The experience users have with a drug can even vary greatly from person to person, as shown by Tyler’s experience with marijuana compared to James’.
“I mean I did like two puffs, definitely did not use it enough to be addicted or become high, but yeah, I have asthma, so it was kind of painful,” James said. “It wasn’t that great of an experience.”
While the drugs used and the experience with each can be dramatically different, one thing that many users have in common is that they use substances in places where they feel safe, such as their house or a friend’s. They are not, however, ignorant to the consequences they could potentially face, no matter how secure they feel.
“I know what the consequences would be if I got caught, but I’m always in a safe enough space that I won’t,” Tyler said.
Drugs can also affect people differently based on the individual’s personality. Tyler cautions others from using if they know that they are compulsive or easily addicted to other things. He is adamant that it is the user who can become addicted, and it is not inherently the drug’s fault.
“If you have an addictive personality don’t do it in general, just because addictive personalities are the ones that get addicted,” Tyler said. “It’s not the drugs themselves, it’s the people who have problems with addiction in general.”
No matter the consequences, students at Manhattan High will continue to experiment or use, and it will ultimately be their personal decision whether or not they continue to do so. James stated that he would “probably not” try marijuana again, but for others, like Tyler, they do not regret the substances they have tried.
“It wasn’t peer pressure or anything,” Tyler said. “It was all my choice.”