Why do youths abuse drugs even if they are from a well-to-do background?

by Zoe A. Choo

Drug abuse is a regconised act found familiar almost everywhere around the world, from living in a competitively progressive society down to in the scums.

So why would anyone reach out to drugs in the first place? One of the reason and fact is, an escape from reality. If given a choice to put reality away for a brief moment of euphoria, individuals who are having a hard time dealing with life would opt so. This same fact also resonates in different forms for different people in different degrees – from packed schedules of workloads to epic amounts of video-gaming to even excessive indulgence on food.

Of course, the contributing factors as to why people would ingest drugs and subsequently get addicted to it are many. Having an accessible supply to the substance is already one, and in fact first. Thereafter are other factors like influences, peer pressure and even curiosity. Despite severe laws placed against the use and trafficking of drugs, people can still get their hands on drugs simply because some shrewd, felonious businessmen saw a major, global demand for it, especially with its profit margins and delegated power, and found ways to execute their distribution pass the margins, or even along the margins, of the law.

“Life is easy.” said no-one ever. Saint or not, we are all humans subjected to imperfections, prone to temptations and failures, living in a broken world where traps lurk at almost every corner of our paths in life. So, how are we suppose to move ourselves out of this situation, especially when we are already in a trap?

I was a pothead myself just 2 years ago, alongside with being a Christian. I thought myself into believing smoking weed was actually better than smoking conventional cigarettes, I justified it as a good use for its health benefits because it is all-natural, unlike synthetic drugs and also because it alleviated my depression as I felt genuinely positive under its side effects, especially after thinking I had lost my optimism for years. Unlike a lot of others, I grew up from rather well-to-do background – my parents are not divorced, a really awesome younger brother, we live in a comfortable 4-room HDB estate, receive a good amount of education and are able afford a little luxury from time to time. Academics were not hard for me as well, although I was daydreaming over half the time throughout school, but to top that, I came to know God at a very young age as I was placed in a Methodist kindergarten. Given the situation I was in, it should have been unlikely for someone like me to fall into drugs.

Yet I did so, because the reality I had was unpleasant – in the midst of wanting the approval and attention of my parents after the birth of my seemingly perfect younger brother, constantly coveting for a better life, being an outcast in school, having eczema with tons of medications to consume and being very overweight, I grew increasingly in hatred, anger and bitterness. I never learned to let go of the hurts I have gotten along the way that time. I latched onto self-pity and detested myself, thus throwing myself into a cycle of torment and defeat, ultimately spiraling into depression. Becoming suicidal daily, I turned to sniffing glue, to top the smoking and drinking at the age of 14.

My race towards destruction headed for a detour when my reality changed for me. Reality changes along with the change of perception. My first change happened when I found hope again, in the cell group my best friend brought me into that showed the love and care that I needed but above all, feeling God’s presence and love so undoubtedly in my life.

Of course that did not result in a life free from temptations and sin, in the midst of becoming a little too comfortable and thereafter, became unnecessarily proud in being Christian, I fell again and this time, harder than before. Deciding to pick up the pieces myself, I became an atheist Christian, where I knew God exists yet I lived in a way as if He did not. Outwardly, everything seemed well but I was self-consumed, constantly needing to prove to everyone and myself that I was capable and self-sufficient but behind all the smiles, the mannerism in the way I spoke and the whole “my life is awesome” social media updates and persona, I was extremely miserable trying to keep it all together with my own strength.

Fast-forward into 2012, was then this week where the song “Coming Home” by Diddy ft. Skylar Grey, both part 1 and 2, played everywhere I went. In restaurants, in the malls, on the radio – repeatedly everywhere. The chorus latched on my mind, “Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday.” and especially, “I know my kingdom awaits, and they’ve forgiven my mistakes. I’m coming home, coming home, tell the world, I’m coming home.” and although the song was secular, I knew those words were for me and that weekend during service, Pastor Kong preached the sermon on “The Prodigal Son” where a rich man’s son asked for his share of inheritance and later squandered it all away until he was at a state where he lived among the swines, he then thought of how even his father’s servants were in a better predicament than he was and so he decided return to seek forgiveness and to be his father’s servant, and yet all these while, his father was just waiting for his return in which he celebrated with a grand, joyous party. Every word of it hit me like a storm and I came to surrender. My life then truly took a turn.

In short, it was out of the sense of hopelessness I felt in life that spur me towards the life of a druggie to numb all of the torment going on within me, but it was and is then, love and hope that led me out of that pit into truly living life. Knowing the truth that God accepts me and loves me thereafter gave me renewed strength, hope, peace and joy. A change on the outward is merely scratching the surface, but a change on the inside plays on a synergy and affects everything and everyone around us.

I slowly began to understand the paradox of life by just a little more – to die is to live, to lose is to gain. Every bit I died to the old me, I lived in a new me and with every bit I thought I lost, is every bit I realised to gain.