As you grow up it’s likely you’ll be offered a drink, or even drugs, at some point. There is a reason that the law says you can only drink when you are 18 and that drugs are illegal. This is because substances like drugs or alcohol enter your brain and they change the way it works.
Substances change your behaviour
- Being drunk or high may lead you to make unsafe choices - like having unsafe, unprotected sex. Under the influence of substances, you may do thing you would never do if you were thinking straight.
- They make it more difficult for you to understand when you are in dangerous situation.
- Alcohol can make you lose coordination and control, which is why drinking and driving is against the law.
- You are more likely to hurt yourself: it’s easier to have an accident, drown, fall or just hurt yourself.
- You are not able to think as clearly so it can be difficult to make decisions or to say ‘no’ to something you don’t want to do.
Drinking can be especially risky for girls
- Girls’ bodies do not handle alcohol as well as boys’ - which means girls should drink a lot less.
- It can lead to having unprotected sex and an unwanted pregnancy.
- Girls are more vulnerable to catch HIV or STIs from unprotected sex.
- You can put yourself in a dangerous situation where rape can happen. Or if you pass out because you drank too much, someone can rape you.
Substances like drugs and alcohol will always be around you. But you have the choice to say ‘no’ to them. Have a plan for your future. Do alcohol or drugs fit into your plan?
As Dr. Seuss said: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”