Here is a question: why do some teens and young adults turn to illegal drugs & premature sex, despite all the known risks associated with these self-destructive behaviors? Some may not really understand the risks, or think that, since the risks are not always immediate, that they will escape those consequences. In effect, they think they are invincible, at least for now…

Many adolescent education programs suggest that people turn to illegal drugs & premature sex because of peer pressure, “because they want to be liked, to fit in, or because they worry that other kids might make fun of them if they don’t go along with the group.”* While this is obviously a contributing factor, the emphasis on peer pressure as the leading cause is a limited explanation. For miscellaneous issues like clothing style & taste in music, giving into peer pressure is easy because there are no major downsides & pleasing benefits of social acceptance. However, drugs & uncommitted sex have severe consequences that can quite literally ruin your life. If your friends started to jump off a bridge to their deaths, would you follow suit?

Choosing to use drugs & engage in premarital sex has a deeper reason than merely fitting in.** According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “research has shown that people generally take drugs to either feel good… or feel better (i.e., self-medicators or individuals who take drugs in an attempt to cope with difficult problems or situations, including stress, trauma, and symptoms of mental disorders).”*** The question here is why do people turn to such self destructive means to feel better, & the answer is because people who turn to drugs & premarital sex often believe they have exhausted their other options to feel better, to the point where they are willing to risk their own futures.

We understand the deeper issues as to why teens may turn to drugs & premarital sex, & we are committed to empowering them to lead lives without the burden of unhealthy lifestyles.  We at the Institute for Relationship Intelligence seek to help youth and young adults to value their lives, their health and their future goals including productive work, marriage, parenthood and family. We urge you to not be afraid to confront your problems. There are better ways to feel good about yourself. Do not feel the need to run away from your own life, because you have the power to be a free teen!

* feeling/friend/peer_pressure. html

** The tactics of other adolescent & teen programs fall short with shallow reasons as to why people turn to drugs & premarital sex. In the case of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, “Scientific evaluation studies have consistently shown that DARE is ineffective in reducing the use of alcohol and drugs and is sometimes even counterproductive — worse than doing nothing.” DARE.html

*** publications/addiction- science/why-do-people-abuse- drugs/why-would-anyone-abuse- drugs