www.whyville.net Aug 15, 2007 Weekly Issue

Whyville Columnist

Change the World: Up in Smoke

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As we grow up and start to stray away from Whyville, we remember the times we had here with our virtual and real friends. We remember the fun we had in chat rooms, playing games, and learning about new things around the town. But there comes a time when you turn off your computer and enter into the real world. Things out there can sometimes be extremely harder than they are here.

Sure, everyone in Whyville wants to fit in to some sort of clique of friends. But here, in our safe little town, the most you can do to fit in is buy that new, popular, face part. But out there, in the real world, there are thousands of other ways that people can pressure you into fitting in. Looking at magazines and seeing stick thin models may cause you to not eat, or seeing a bunch of kids on the corner smoking cigarettes may make you want to try it too, just to fit in with them.

But one of the worst things of all to do to try and fit in is illegal drug use. I'm sure that many of you have come across the peer pressures of drinking and smoking already, but don't let them pull you in. Stand up and be strong. You should never have to smoke or drink to be "cool". Harming your body is the farthest thing from cool.

There are a lot of kids out there who do use illegal drugs such as marijuana. But the thing is, it isn't cool or safe for you to do. There is a reason why it is illegal. Let me bust some of the marijuana myths for you.

1.) Pot is harmless: False.

One of the main arguments to "pot is harmless" is that it comes from nature. Just because something comes from nature does not mean that it is harmless, tobacco and poison ivy also come from nature, remember? Not to mention that the more you use the drug, the more you will want to use. Your body eventually becomes tolerant of the drug thanks to something called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. And finally, since the drug is illegal and users must buy it off of the streets, you never know what may be laced in with the drug; it could be anything from cocaine to arsenic (rat poison, which is deadly to humans as well).

2.) There are no consequences to smoking pot: False.

Smoking pot can lead to serious mental or physical deterioration. Some side effects of smoking include short term memory loss, impaired judgment, slow reaction time (making driving a vehicle very dangerous), and even a decline in school work.

3.) Smoking pot is not as bad as smoking cigarettes: False.

Neither one of them is good for you. Inhaling dried plant leaves is never good for. And in case you were wondering, smoking one joint can deliver four times as much cancer-causing toxins as one cigarette.

4.) Everyone does it: False.

In recent years the number of teens who have admitted to using marijuana while in high school has severely declined. In fact, less than one in five high school seniors have smoked pot in the last month.

5.) You can't get addicted to marijuana: False.

Long-term marijuana use can lead to dependence, in fact each year more teens enter drug treatment facilities for marijuana dependence than for any other drugs combined.

So the next time one of your "friends" pressures you to smoke marijuana, or even drink alcohol or smoke a cigarette, remember these facts and just say no. You don't need to be friends with them, anyway.

Most of the information for this article was found at www.abovetheinfluence.com . If you want to learn more about myths and facts about marijuana or any other illegal substance, ask your parents first, then check out the site.

Thanks for taking time out to change the world,


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