Pubdate: Sat, 07 Aug 2004
Source: Arusha Times, The (Tanzania)
Copyright: 2004 Arusha Times.
Note: The writer is professional swimming coach and a sports consultant 
based in Arusha
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


In too many cases the young experimenter takes drugs until he is
"hooked." Assume that in a teen-ager's home, one or both parents smoke
cigarettes and use alcohol. The teenager interprets this as his
parents' permission for him to do the same. Thus he is easily
vulnerable to the appeals of his fellow teen-agers when they urge him
to join them in experimenting with cigarettes, liquor, and even
marijuana. These three practices smoking tobacco, drinking liquor, and
smoking marijuana are tragic combination. Using them, the teen-ager
becomes tolerant of this kind of conduct and may try the more potent
drugs. Not everyone, of course, who smokes cigarettes and drinks
liquor, indulges in drug abuse as we usually define it. But
practically every person on hard drugs first used cigarettes, liquor,
and marijuana.

Teen-agers are often cautioned to be on guard against adult drug
peddlers. However, it is the teen-age pusher who usually supplies the
drugs high school students' use. He not only encourages his friends to
experiment with drugs, but also profits financially.

Once a person has used a drug enough times to experience its effects,
he no longer has to be persuaded. what are these effects? The drug
influences his thinking, his attitudes, and his moods. They make the
circumstances of life seem different from reality. They make him feel
comfortable, peaceful, and secure, in spite of his problems, his
anxieties, or his lack of ability.

The teen-ager or young adult struggling with unsolved personal
problems is the most likely candidate for drug addiction. But drugs do
not help him face reality with courage. On the contrary, they make him
less willing to cope with life's difficulties and stresses, or even
unable to do so. Why should he put forth the effort to solve his
problems when, under the influence of drugs, his problems seems to

It is said that the typical drug addict is a 17-year-old male who is
out of school, out of work, and ashamed or embarrassed because of an
impoverished family background. This does not mean, however, that the
teen-ager who comes from a respectable family is immune to the danger.
Young people from "good families" have their problems too.

There may be unresolved tensions between the young person and his
parents. He may be lonely, even though a member of a respectable
family. He may feel unable to live up to his parents' expectations. He
may feel guilty over some previous misconduct, or feel betrayed by
someone of his own age.
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