27 October, 2006

Drugs and Youth Culture

As everyone knows, "Drug use among young people has become a normal part of dance and youth culture... and research [in 1999] revealed that young people attending dance venues considered drug usage as commonplace, with 78% of the 222 respondents stating they had used drugs at some stage..." blah blah blah.
But how true is this really?

I can only speak from my own experiences, as statistics can be warped in any direction to make them say what you want them to.

At my high school, I was aware of heavy alcohol abuse as well as pupils as young as 12 smoking tobacco, and several pupils as young as 14 smoking cannabis and taking other drugs (you try not to enquire too much when it seems that serious), but in year 11, there were only probably 5 or 6 out of 120 who were regularly taking or smoking illegal drugs. I understand that it is likely that a higher proportion of pupils in inner city schools will take drugs then in my little rural school, but as much as 78% of "youths"?

In my current sixth form there appears to be no drug abuse - legal tobacco smoking and drinking, but nothing worse. Knowing a fraction of the year group I couldn't think of more than 2 or three out of 250 who I could imagine EVER taking drugs, let alone those actually taking them.
However, after the party I attended on Friday night I might be able to fully contradict myself. The fancy dress party, which was held at a scout hut for charity, resulted in the evening being cut short, the police being called, and an ambulance taking one girl to stay in hospital overnight. Rumors suggest she tried mixing alcohol and drugs, though I can't say for certain.
It makes me think, if this is what can happen at a charity disco full of 16/17 year olds all attending one of the best sixth forms in the county, then surely nightclubs and other parties of 18/19/20 year olds could potentially be far worse...

However, I myself am not worried. (I know that I don't drink and the only drugs I've ever taken have been Calpol, Paracetamol and other prescribed medication!) But is this cause for concern for the police and the government? Should certain drugs be legalised to cut down their use, and make sure that those using them use them properly and safely?

Who knows? There seems to be little debate going on among the political parties and the media at the present time.

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