Monday, December 8, 2008

42 - Drug talks

I'm sitting at a computer in the Hong Kong Central Library. These stations subtly remind me of why I never want to end up with an office job. There are strange people on either side of you, and in the row behind you and every now and then, you might also share an awkward look with the stranger who dwells behind the wall in front of you. Also, these chairs are unbelievably uncomfortable and every time I look behind me, it's either some old person staring at me or some kid staring at me or some old person holding a kid's hand, both staring at me.

At least it's quiet. And with a cubicle job, you can also personalize your work area by decorating your desk and your walls. That's always fun.

But let's get to today's topic. I was (barely) late for class this Monday morning and instead of apologizing to our teacher for being late, I found myself saying sorry to a young-looking Asian woman standing at the front of the classroom. I hastily opted to sit in the seat closest to the door, wondering what this could possibly be and oh, yeah, it was a drug talk. Whoopee.

We were given an hour-long presentation that supposedly raised our awareness of the dangers of consuming numerous stimulants, narcotics, hallucinogens and tranquilizers. I suppose the focus was to repulse us from the very idea of ever taking drugs and drowning our futures in a purple sea of addiction and short-lived euphoria. The lady spoke with a substantial Australian accent as she asked us several questions to find out what we already knew about drugs. Some of us knew nothing, some of us knew very little but none of us knew a lot. We've all been given the same old story before, though. Here's my understanding on the topic after being given four or five of these talks in the past few years:

Always say, "NO!" to drugs, even when it doesn't make any sense to respond with it. Don't succumb to peer pressure. Your friends are evil when they have drugs. Don't ruin your life. Drugs can do that. Don't find happiness in drugs. Drugs make you sad. Addiction is uncontrollable from the moment you take your first pill, sniff, injection or taste. Getting high will only increase the height from which you fall. Most teenagers don't even take drugs and that's because we give tons of these presentations. When you do take drugs, think of your family, even if it's weird. When you take drugs, think of your future, even though the LSD makes it seem like you have a pair of breasts right now. When you take drugs, think of your real friends that don't take drugs. It's nice to spare a moment of thought for those that couldn't join in with all the fun.

Seriously, don't take drugs. They're harmful to your nasal cavity, as well as your teeth, your gums, your throat and your esophagus, in addition to your tongue, your lungs, your mung bean-shaped kidneys, your hair, your head, your hands, your heart, your arteries, your veins, your capillaries, your red cells, your white cells, your B-cells, your T-cells, your sea shells on the seashore, and also, your liver, your pancreas, your stomach, your gall bladder, your spinal cord, your optical cord, your brain, your nerves, your CNS, and PNS, and ANS, and SNS, and SPD, and PSD, and your lymph nodes, your bones, and your genitals, your skin, your nails, your muscles, your joints, YOUR WHOLE BODY, OH, MY GOD! DON'T F***ING TAKE DRUGS, MAN!

You know what the funny thing is? If I'm being completely honest here, I still want to try taking drugs at some point in my life. Just once. Just a little.

I don't know about my classmates, but these talks have always appeared to be quite ineffective, to say the least. The worst part of the presentation we were given today was this fifteen-minute video. I had taken down notes in preparation for today's post but I've lost quite a lot of the frustration I was feeling as I was watching the video.

From what I can recall (and read from my scribbly notes) the video had a lot of sleazy animations, laughable-in-the-bad-way jokes and for no darn reason at all: child actors. A 'wise' teenager would ask some kid a serious question such as, "True or false: Consuming ecstasy will lead you into a deep state of depression." and the child actor would respond with, "Truuuuuuue." with an innocent voice. Why this was necessary to make the point is beyond me.

One the other hand, I guess the video was quite informative and captivating overall. The kaledioscopic colors succeeded in transfixing me and my fellow classmates and the over-the-top animations truly did mesmerize us for the whole duration the video was playing. It was almost like some sort of spell that had been cast over all of us. I caught a glance at them at one point and some of them looked like they were on the verge of being hypnotized. I was quite scared for their health. Man, don't play with vivid colors and crazy animations.

Anyway, the point that I have somewhat failed to elaborate on in too much detail is that drug talks and presentations are quite an ineffective drug prevention strategy. I believe that in order for one to truly fear the effects of drugs, one must first attain some personal experience and first-hand knowledge of what drugs can actually do to one's body and mind.

Sure, they're dangerous and they cause unpredictable effects. Sure, they're expensive, addictive and illegal. And sure, they can put you in a coma or worse yet, kill you. But, hey, treat the presenations a lot more seriously if you want to be taken seriously. Don't use child actors, cheesy jokes and unnecessary animations in your videos. Don't give us a wordsearch for us to find all the slang nicknames for drugs. And most importantly, don't think that talking about the ethics and the dangers of drug usage will convince us not to commit such acts. Us teenagers thrive on rebelling against society's moral standards and the highest part of getting high is the fact that we're snorting in the face of danger.


Anonymous said...

i dig this one

yolanda said...

indeed. there's only so much fear mongering that can be done. ultimately people are going to decide for themselves if they want to experiment with drugs, and will draw their own conclusions from this.

Douglas said...


Been there, done that. Don't do it. It changes you and that change never goes away no matter how long ago you stopped.

Frankie and Bella said...

True, I agree. A lot needs to be done to improve drug awareness programs but like you said, most people still want to try it for themselves. There was a really good drug awareness campaign here in Australia for the drug ice. It was effective in the fact that it tried to show you the really, really ugly side of the drug and what it did to you physically and mentally. I would never try it thanks to that.

Zoe said...

Oh, this is so true. I don't want to sound like I'm advocating drug experimentation, but I basically am. Unless it's something nasty like crystal meth, because meth = death.
Drug usage is an act of rebellion, and the drug presentations often encourage it.
p.s. "Snorting in the face of danger." -What a great line!

Hippie said...

I completely agree. To be honest, I never knew anything about drugs or that there even was such a thing until they taught a prevention course in school. It got me interested. The kaleidoscope colours and everything had me very intrigued. And I think that was the very reason for my previous drug use. I'm not proud of it but I'm glad that "meth=death" is only an expression. I take responsibility for my actions but I still can't help but blame the DARE program for the turn my life took when I was only 10 years old.

Anyway, at least I'm back on track now! :)

Anonymous said...

I've done a little bit of this and that, but I don't regret anything :).

And I HATE those drug talks too. Was it a Kely one?

J.J. in L.A. said...

I drank more before the age of 21 than I did after, but I didn't get drunk until I was 24. I did it on purpose just to see what it was like. I can't understand why people get drunk on purpose...every weekend.

I had brothers I hung out with who smoked pot but I always insisted they crack a window because that stuff STANK!

I've been on enough legal drugs (medical morphine) to appreciate sobriety.

I guess I just don't have an addictive personality - which is a GOOD thing! lol!

Michael said...

Emmett32: I dig your comment.

Yolanda: It's for a good cause, I admit, but it often is executed poorly.

Douglas: I don't doubt your advice. I have very mixed emotions about whether a future with drugs will occur.

Bella: Thank you for following my blog and leaving the comments that you have. I have been reading your blog too. I would like to see a good drug awareness presentation. For five or six years in school, the whole thing was handled with a lack of seriousness.

Zoe: Hahaha. Thanks. I really want to know if there really are people that come out of these presentations wanting to do drugs less.

Hippie: That's quite a story. I never thought about the possibility that KELY and DARE could warrant further drug usage. At least you are back on track now. :)

LittleJ: It was a KELY one. Did you get one too?

J.J.: I often think that will be the case for me too, drinking more now than in the future... Getting drunk is incredibly fascinating. You completely forget what you did the previous night yet you can end up at home, showered and dressed, tucked into bed for some reason.

For some reason, I never thought cigarettes or pot smelled. Probably because my father had it in his breath all the time and I got used to it.

An addictive personality is... yeah, not a good thing. lol.