Thanks to SHS sociology teacher Felicia Dyal for research help.
A couple of weeks ago, I used this column to plead for better parties in Smallville. Among all the positive feedback was a matter that I'd like to address: the fact that, even in our small community, too many young people seem to be living by the adage "just say yes."
A recent government study of high school seniors showed that 53% have tried drugs of some kind. Kansas' statistics are lower than the national average, but experimentation is clearly a prevalent activity at our parties. Students I've talked to say that illicit drugs are readily available at most of the raves they have attended, such as the recent and tragic "Rave in the Cave" here in Smallville.
Why is this? Drugs can relax or invigorate our bodies--they can even make us feel like we rule the world. But at the same time, they distort reality. There is a heightened potential for injury or death, and pleading insanity is not valid in drug-related fatalities. True, you may not have been in your right mind--but you're the one who made it that way.
Are the risks worth it? Are you willing to feel more alive now in exchange for possibly taking someone else's life in the next few minutes? Think about it. You may just find yourself "saying no" the next time you have the chance.