Here is the second question from the interview with a high school student for her school paper.
A lot of the kids I have spoken to say our school has a lot of peer pressure to party, how does this pressure negatively affect kids and start addictions?
Some teens are more concerned with the immediate present instead of the future. Developmentally a teen, especially 15 and under, still have a difficult time anticipating consequences accurately. They often know of potential consequences, but dramatically underestimate the likelihood it could happen to them. Because of this, the desire not to be categorized as “goody-goody” or “prude” is what satisfies the immediate present. So, teens will try things when a friend offers it; this is even more true when the friend is seen as socially more popular. Typically addiction does not develop quickly. It almost always starts with marijuana. This is substantially more true for people that have tried it in middle school for the first time. It is rare for a teen to jump straight to a “hard drug” like ecstasy without ever having used marijuana first. Alcohol can play a role in this, but the problems related to alcohol tend to be more typically alcohol abuse rather than dependence. To clarify the difference, alcohol abuse is binge drinking, and associated consequences such as a DUI, getting grounded by parents, or a hospitalization for alcohol poisoning. Marijuana users are more likely to develop dependency on both marijuana and other drugs. They will use it recreationally at first, and then start to use it more and more frequently.