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
If you are attempting to decide if alcohol and
drugs are substances for you, consider using resources
available to you in your decision.
ALCOHOL - YES OR
the decision tree in Figure 1 showing Drink and
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?
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
is shown in
The likelihood of abuse substantially decreases as you postpone the
Drink alternative. Have you been postponing your
decision now that you are over 18?
DRUGS OR NOT
battle cry or mantra from your youth must have been, "Everyone
is doing it." In regards to
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.
CAN'T BE RIGHT!
You may want to vary
the numeric values. Why? Well, alcohol and
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