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Drugs Scare Tactics
A look at some of the things kids are told to keep them away from drugs.
Do the scare tactics work or do they make things worse?
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Scare Tactic #1
If you do drugs you will go crazy.
This is one of those "it really did happen, but it isn't very common" tactics. It is true that some people in the past have been driven crazy by their drug use, but these people are usually heavy drug users who are sent off the edge after years of abuse. People with a predisposition to schizophrenia may trigger the disorder when they use psycho tropic drugs like LSD or Ecstasy. Some people do experience "flash backs" of things that they may or may not have seen during a drug binge and this may make them behave erratically or feel as if they have lost their minds. Some people have hallucinations while on a drug that are so compelling they never forget or get over what they saw. In general, it is very unlikely that trying a drug on one or two occasions will make you lose your mind. It is not impossible mind you, since some street drugs are mixed with other substances and the chemical reaction the uncontrolled mixture causes can cause freak reactions in some individuals. Doing a street drug really is a gamble, even if the odds look good and the spoils seem worth the risk. Drugs are not generally "good for you" and if you go through life without trying them you really won't be missing much. It is by no means guaranteed that drug use will make you crazy (in fact, it is highly unlikely), but there is also very little good that can come of it. In fact, when it comes to using drugs, you should be more worried about addiction than about being driven insane.

Scare Tactic #2
If you do drugs you will die of an overdose.
People who do drugs do die of overdoses - fact! People who do drugs for the first time do die from overdoses - fact! However, not everyone who does drugs dies this way. Most people who do drugs never have an overdose, let alone a fatal one. But with street drugs being uncontrolled it is in theory possible to overdose by accident. Street drugs are not standardized, the doses of a drug in each "hit" are not set or regulated. There are many urban myths about unscrupulous drug dealers or even governments weeding out the drug using population by purposely putting high potency drugs on the street. This scare tactic is probably born from these stories. When you do a street drug you do run the risk of putting something in your body that is very different from what you think you are using. Allergic reactions can happen. Overdoses can happen. In fact, when you do drugs almost anything can happen. It is very unlikely that you will die of an overdose when you try a drug, but it is not impossible. This "scare tactic" is more a warning to "err on the side of caution".

Scare Tactic #3
If you do drugs you will get permanent brain damage.
This one is actually true, but it is not as terrible as it sounds. Doing drugs even once does damage your brain. But so does drinking coffee, taking over the counter drugs, using nasal spray, having an x-ray, and taking prescription medications (to name but a few). It is the degree of damage that you need to worry about. Depending on what drug you are doing and what it has been mixed with by the dealer, your brain damage could be unnoticeable or debilitating. Again, it is a gamble. In fact, using street drugs in general is a gamble. People have been put in to comas from one use. People have "fried their brains" and destroyed their memory doing drugs. These things have happened to SOME people. They may happen to you. They may not. Drug use is funny that way, there are no guarantees of safety and there are no guarantees that bad things will happen to you. It is up to you to weigh the risks.

Scare Tactic #4
Doing street drugs can get you involved with gangs.
Unless you start dealing or get in to terrible debt over your habit this one is unlikely. There have been cases of young teens being coerced to try drugs by older kids and then beaten up or threatened when they decide to stop, but these stories are few and far between. The reality here is that most drug dealing gangs don't need to go looking for customers and rarely have trouble "moving their merchandise". They do not generally go out of their way to chase down people who merely stop buying from them. You have to owe them something for them to care about you after you walk away with their drugs. Again, in theory it is possible that some gangs may come after former customers with a vengeance, but it is highly unlikely. The drug dealing set don't like to draw too much attention to themselves. Mind you, there is the reality that in doing drugs you may fall in to the "drug culture" which does include, among other things, gangs. But trying a drug does not mean that the gang bangers will be knocking down your door the next day.

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