Pubdate: Thu, 06 Mar 2003
Source: Western Star, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2003 The Western Star
Author: Melanie Callahan


Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Sgt. Paul Murphy spoke to students 
Wednesday about what young people face when trying to make the right 
decisions about drug, alcohol and cigarette use.

Sgt. Murphy visited the Grade 6 class at St. Gerald's Elementary School as 
part of their Education Week activities.

"There is a big problem with drugs, so that's why we talk to kids in Grade 
6," he said. "Peer pressure is most prevalent in junior high schools ? G.C. 
Rowe and Presentation, anywhere you go. It is the same anywhere you go."

Sgt. Murphy talked about the different types of peer pressure that young 
people face. He discussed media pressure when young people see advertising 
or entertainment that supports and glamorizes drug and alcohol use.

Kids face friendly peer pressure, he said, when their friends ask them to 
try using, and delayed peer pressure where young people feel stress about 
an upcoming environment where drugs or alcohol may be present. The most 
difficult type of peer pressure to deal with, according to Sgt. Murphy, is 
heavy peer pressure when kids are outnumbered by those who are trying to 
convince them to do something they may not want to.

"It is the same as dealing with bullies," Sgt. Murphy said. "It is no 
different what bullies do and what people who are trying to get you to use 
drugs do. The safest way to deal with heavy pressure is to remember that 
safety lies in numbers. Never be by yourself. If you are only one person, 
it is very difficult to get out of that situation."

Sgt. Murphy asked the class to talk about why young people use drugs. 
Together, the students said that adolescents use drugs to deal with 
problems or stress, to feel good, curiosity and to fit in with the crowd. 
Sgt. Murphy explained that, in many cases, drugs do not meet these needs.

When asked to think about the negative things about drugs and alcohol, kids 
identified stinky breath, yellow teeth and fingers and fatal disease when 
talking about tobacco use.

In terms of alcohol and other drugs, the students said that use leads to 
damage to organs, loss of control, and problems with friends.

Students realize the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

"I think we should be learning about drugs and alcohol to make sure that we 
do not get into any trouble when we get in those situations," said student 
Sarah Woodland. "There is less of a chance of us using if we are scared out 
of it."

Classmate Altamash Sohail said that, although he has not faced a lot of 
peer pressure in elementary school, he expects that it will get worse once 
he enters junior high school.

"Learning about drugs helps us to stop falling under peer pressure," he 
said. "When kids are asked to do drugs, they should think about their 
future and what their parents would think."
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