Drink & Drugs

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Drugs and Alcohol are substances that may be always illegal, substances that may be illegal for you now (assuming you are between 18 and 21), and legal substances (assuming you are at least 21).  If you are attempting to decide if alcohol and drugs are substances for you, consider using resources available to you in your decision. 



Consider the decision tree in Figure 1 showing Drink and Donít Drink outcomes of 12 to 20 year olds, teen drinking.  You may still be in this age group if you are between 18 and 20.  The tree shows that of the individuals choosing to drink in this age group, 25% are binge or heavy users.  These teen drinking statistics are from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  This represents a 1 in 4 chance of binge drinking or a  heavy user.  Does this affect your decision to Drink or Donít Drink?

Now consider the effect on outcomes for your Drink or Donít Drink alternatives when you postponed the decision.  A decision tree representing the sequential postponement of your decision is shown in Figure 2.   The likelihood of abuse substantially decreases as you postpone the Drink alternative.  Have you been postponing your decision now that you are over 18?



 The battle cry or mantra from your youth must have been, "Everyone is doing it."  In regards to illicit drug usage or drug abuse, everyone is not doing it.  So, if you are attempting to decide if drugs are substances for you consider the decision tree in Figure 3.   Yes, in the age group below you, the 12 to 17 year age group, most everyone did not take drugs.  Only about 1 in 10 people according to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health used illicit drugs.  Were you one that did use drugs?  Do you represent teen drug use.  If you were told everyone does it when you were in this age group, then you were lied to.




You may want to vary the numeric values.  Why?  Well, alcohol and drug usage is behavior driven.  Your environment and your internal wiring influence your behavior.  If you know no one that abuses drugs or alcohol, then there will be less peer pressure to either try or continue to use these substances.  That will affect the probabilities in your decision model.  If everyone you know abuses substances, then adjust the national statistics accordingly.  When we mention internal wiring, we are speaking of your DNA, your genes.  Yes, some people are just naturally more inclined to be obsessive or they have an inclination to addiction.  If you are one of these individuals (or you have a family history of this behavior), you might want to adjust the statistics. The amount of the adjustment is up to you.


If you are considering a drink or a drug, there is help.

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All Rights Reserved Site Last Updated: 09/25/2006

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