Whats Behind It

Basically, what is behind a teenager's desire to do drugs are two things. First, teenagers have a deep need to take risks. They want to live life on the edge. This edge can be positive activities such as rock climbing, serving as student council president, or being a camp counselor, or destructive activities such as driving too fast or drug and alcohol use.

Regardless of the activity, this risk-taking activity builds their self-images. They feel good about themselves as they accomplish something difficult. It helps them feel a sense of significance and adventure. That adventure can be drinking six beers in one night or smoking pot before they go to soccer practice—or it can be some of the more positive activities we have mentioned.

The second reason behind the desire to take drugs is the deep angst that many teenagers live with. Girls grapple with relationship issues: struggles with girlfriends and insecurities with boyfriends. They may be going through family and academic stresses as well. Many girls today live in a state of tension—with a great deal of pressure and pain compounded with the normal adolescent issues.

Drugs and alcohol provide an easy escape. Temporarily, at least, they transport these girls to a place with no pressure, giving them a sense of freedom from stress and pain they rarely feel in their daily lives.

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