Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Addictions Within Our Nation Among Teenagers


Addictions Within Our Nation Among Teenagers

Addictions Within Our Nation Among Teenagers

By: Kaylah Betsey

Some of the problems that we face on the roads include the addiction to alcohol and drunk driving. Drunk driving has affected car accident victims in ways that make them afraid of driving or riding in cars. They can develop anxiety and or depression when faced with getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. In order to help out with this situation there were several things that I did. Some of these things I was successful with and some of them I was not. The first strategy that I tried was to provide information to my friends. There were times when this information was well received and there were times when they didn’t want to hear what I had to say. Nevertheless, the words that I spoke resonated in their minds long after the conversation was over. Another strategy that I used was trying to get the drunk driver to think about the lives of others before he or she gets behind the wheel. Thinking about involving someone else in the decision of driving while impaired seemed to put another aspect of the situation into play. These talks teach the dangers of distracted driving. The dangers of driving while drunk is very detrimental to oneself and others. Some of these dangers include putting yourself as well as pedestrians at risk while driving on the roads and highways. Pedestrians and other drivers on the roads are totally unaware of distracted drivers. Driving while drunk impedes your judgement and will allow your reflexes or instincts to react abnormally. Because of these slow reactions, others’ lives are at stake. It is impossible to defend oneself against unbeknownst dangers and this is what happens when an impaired driver gets behind the wheel. Some of the laws that can be changed to accomplish the goal of road safety could include stiffer consequences for the impaired driver which should include mandatory substance abuse counseling as well as being required to assist the families of those that were affected by their choices of getting behind the wheel while impaired.

Prevention begins with knowledge and awareness. Drivers need to welcome self-awareness. If there have been some activities that transpired which caused the driver’s judgement, motor skills, etc. to be impaired, then that person should admit to themselves that he or she isn’t in the right state to get behind the wheel. As a passenger, I would offer to drive to ensure that everyone makes it to their destination. As a bystander, I would recommend calling public transportation such as Uber or cab services. There is a plethora of resources that can be utilized to prevent tragedies that can occur from an impaired driver being behind the wheel. As a society, we need to be brave enough to speak up and express concern when we witness an impaired driver getting behind the wheel. This will be the beginning of taking a stance against this epidemic. We must start somewhere, and the “minding our own business” when it comes to this topic isn’t the key.

I feel like people continue the addictions and willingness to drink and drive because they think that they are invincible. Everyone thinks that “this couldn’t happen to me or it won’t happen to me”. This mentality is prevalent amongst teenagers and early teens. Being impaired gives one a sense of heroism or a feeling of being able to conquer what has been placed in front of them. Even though there are a plethora of commercials and ads on TV that clearly states the consequences of driving while impaired, I feel that these warnings fall on deaf ears. Alcohol influences judgement and decision-making skills – everybody knows that – but not everybody knows how. In our bodies we have these chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters travel through neurons and synapses in our body to elicit reactions from us. Adrenaline that you get when doing something daring, such as skydiving, is an example of a neurotransmitter. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that is associated highly with happiness. Alcohol also has a chemical makeup. The chemicals in alcohol interfere with proper processing of the other neurotransmitters in the body. This causes signals to not be fully delivered and otherwise messed up. The part of the brain does that performs the decision making is the frontal lobe. If you let alcohol or any other drug inside your brain, you are apt to make terrible decisions using an impaired frontal lobe. I feel that impaired driving isn’t viewed upon as a serious issue. Lack of care and concern for others plays a major role in the decision to drive impaired. I think that some look on impaired driving as strictly drunk driving. They feel that if they haven’t been drinking, then they are ok to drive. In today’s world, socially accepted drugs aren’t seen as drugs that makes one “impaired” and unable to operate a motor vehicle correctly.