Choices & Consequences

Consequences of using drugs include:

  • Negative impact on relationships with friends or family
  • Poor grades
  • Poor performance in extracurricular activities
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Poor decisions
  • Financial problems
  • Trouble with the law
  • Dependence or addiction
  • Death

Choices have a major impact on your future and will create the roadmap of your life. Good choices can lead to new and positive experiences or opportunities and bad choices can lead to dead ends. Think about choices you or your friends have made in the past.  Did some open doors for you while others closed them?  Consider the following scenarios:

  • You chose to play video games instead of study for a test and ended up with a bad grade.
  • A friend brought their Juul to school, got caught, and was suspended.

It is important for you to consider what you want your future to look like and how your choices could impact your goals.

For instance, do you want to go to college, trade school, become a nurse, own your own business, or work for the government?  Bad grades could impact your ability to get into your dream college.  Possessing or using drugs could go on your juvenile record and show up on a background check, which could affect your ability to get into a nursing program or work for the government.  In the moment, it can be hard to consider how your choices will impact your future.  We often want immediate gratification and will choose things that make us happy or feel good, like playing video games, staying up late on TikTok, or trying drugs when they are offered to us.

Try writing down what you want for your future and consider the choices you will have to make to reach your goals.  Do the potential negative consequences outweigh the instant gratification?

Most people would agree that they would want to make positive choices to achieve their goals.  So then why do young people use drugs when there are so many potential negative consequences?

The major reasons teens use drugs are experimentation, peer or self-pressure, to feel good, or to feel better.

  • Experimentation - young people are inherently curious and watch TV shows or movies, or see their peers using or talking about drugs.
  • Peer pressure - peer pressure (external) occurs when the people around a young person are pressuring them to do something, like use drugs. Young people can also put self-pressure on themselves (internal) to use drugs because they want to fit in, stay friends with someone, or be invited places.
  • Feel good - drugs produce a high feeling that may be desired.
  • Feel better - when young people want to use drugs to feel better or self-medicate it can lead to dependence. Teens may want to self-medicate, because of mental health issues or problems with peers, and/or their family.

For more information on how to cope with negative life events or symptoms of mental health visit How to Cope with Stress or Mental Health Resources.