“I’ll keep on searching for an answer ‘cause I need you more than dope.” – Lady Gaga, “Dope”
Between Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s fatal heroin overdose and the Texas teen who is literally too rich to go to jail for killing four and injuring nine in a drunk driving accident, this country needs to have a conversation, not only about classism in the legal system, but also about our national drug and alcohol problem.
Drugs, Alcohol, and College
Post-legalization, Colorado has become the punchline of many a marijuana joke, and, since breweries are such a lucrative Fort Collins industry and pop culture has recycled the inebriated college kid into cliché, the tragic passing of Hoffman and the miscarriage of justice down south are particularly important to CSU.
I can say honestly that I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs, and, even when I turn twenty-one, I still won’t. I never will. My parents passed away when I was twelve because of their substance abuse, and, at every party I’ve so far gone to, I have encountered all but universal respect for my temperance. “Peer pressure,” from my experience, is largely a myth, as antiquated as Nancy Reagan and “Just Say No,” but my habits aren’t the issue.
I’m aware that it’s unscientific of me to claim that the majority of underage people I know drink or take drugs, but even the last person I’d expect to do so, did so, when they went to college (elsewhere). I don’t want to sound like I’m demonizing alcohol – drinking can be done harmlessly – but, if you’re drinking alone, if you’re doing drugs to ignore your life’s problems, if you’re doing it, not for the experience of it, but to break the rules and fulfill an image, then that’s alarming.
That’s the nature of addiction. Something’s bad for you but you do it anyway.
My high school geography teacher told our class that she traveled with some students to South America, and the Brazilian young people laughed at the Americans who drank to get drunk, whereas, in Brazil, the sociocultural tradition is to drink for the taste.
I can’t imagine that alcoholism would’ve ruined my life in Rio de Janeiro.
Let me emphasize that alcohol and marijuana are illegal for you if you are younger than twenty-one years of age, and indulgence in all other drugs is criminal activity. If you live on-campus, CSU’s dorms enforce a zero tolerance policy against this behavior, whether you are twenty-one or not.
Realistically, however, you will come across situations like these. Don’t allow your partying lifestyle to interfere with why you’re even here at all: your schoolwork. Know your limits. Don’t ever drink to get blackout drunk. Don’t mix chemicals dangerously, whether it causes you bodily harm or encourages you to make decisions you wouldn’t otherwise make. Learn sexual assault legislation: a drunken “yes” is not consensual. Call RamRide. Volunteer for them. If ever there’s an emergency, contact help immediately, be it an R.A. or be it 911. If you’re concerned, regarding yourself or somebody else, go to Aylesworth Hall, go to the Gifford Building, take advantage of the counseling CSU has to offer you (five free sessions per semester, specialists for nearly every disorder).
Thank you for reading. Have safe and intelligent fun.
Paws up, and go Rams.