Writer: Lara G.
Visual: Izzie P.
Editor: Gisele F.
Chemical dependency is a life-changer. Last week, Ms. Becky Bergeron, a member of FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency) Prevention Works, spoke to ISM students about chemical dependency and her experience as a former drug user. She talked about how important it is to know about the effects of and to make the right decisions when it comes to using drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking and vaping.
One of the major drugs in Bergeron’s discussions was marijuana. She stated that one of the most common myths regarding marijuana is: “You can’t get addicted or overdosed on marijuana.” However, a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, found in the marijuana plant, is the main culprit responsible for the psychological effects that one feels when smoking marijuana. She mentioned that the substantial use of marijuana causes immediate changes changes in the brain, making marijuana a very addictive drug and increasing the likelihood that users to overdose on it.
Bergeron proceeded to show the different ingredients comprised within nicotine, the addictive drug component of tobacco, which are very harmful to the human body. According to her, a many younger kids are now into vaping more than smoking, due to misconceptions about vaping, such as, “Vaping is better than smoking because it has only four ingredients.” However, she countered that in reality, vaping is not that much better than smoking, because it is very much like an e-cigarette. The main difference is that vapes, or vaporizers, come in many scents and flavors, while e-cigarettes are mostly limited to tobacco and menthol. Young kids also enjoy vaping because they think it makes them look cool, it is safe and it helps them de-stress. Bergeron negated all of these reasons. Firstly, she argued that vaping is hazardous to our health, so it is definitely neither cool nor safe. Also, vaping only helps you relax or destress for a brief period of time. Once it gets flushed out of your system, you will end up feeling worse than you already felt before using it.
Towards the end of her discussion, Bergeron said that one of the most important things to do when you think you want to do something is to ask yourself questions like, “Is this what I really want for myself?” and “Is this really going to help me?” According to her, distracting yourself from your problems is one way of coping with them because it allows you to forget about them and free yourself from stress. In her case, she enjoys hiking to distract herself from her problems. Bergeron suggests that if you cannot do what makes you happy or go to a place that makes you feel good, one trick is to simply close your eyes and visualize those things.
She also mentioned that many of the Juniors asked, “What if I am concerned about a friend who might have a chemical dependency problem?” Her primary advice was to ask about that problem, but avoid judging them for their decisions. She emphasized the point of asking not in a demanding way, but in a casual manner to express that you are asking because you are concerned and care about them. Bergeron said that it is ALWAYS important to weigh risks versus rewards, because the risk you will take might not always be worth the reward. Someone once said, “My recovery must come first, so that everything that I love in life does not have to come last.” Don’t sacrifice everything that you love just so that you can start using drugs or smoking weed. Which one do you think is more worth risking your life for?