You should know better. Actually, you do know better, but somewhere between when you started partying with your pals and where you wind up at the end of the night, all of what you knew – or thought you knew – about mixing alcohol and substances went right down the drain with the ice cubes. Talk about a rude awakening. The trouble is this kind of risky behavior can have a deadly result. It’s time to listen up. There are lethal combos out there and mixing these substances can kill.
First, let’s look at a few scenarios. See if any of these sound familiar.
First Time’s the Charm
You’ve never had much to drink before, maybe just a beer here and there, but nothing really major. No full-on drunk or anything like that has ever happened to you. Then you get invited to a party or the prom or some really big dance that you’re dying to go to and the guy who asked you is just the biggest hottie in school. You can’t wait to go out with him and wonder if you’ll make the right impression, or if you could possibly find something to wear that won’t make you look completely awful.
As the days and hours draw closer and you try on first one dress and then the next before tossing it all on the floor and bursting into tears, you hit upon a simple solution. You’ll steady your nerves by having a nip or two from your parents’ liquor stash. They’re heavy drinkers anyway, and your mom will probably just replenish the missing bottle without much thought. After all, your dad can really put it away. One bottle won’t be any big deal.
You sneak down the hall and just miss running into your little brother who’s playing on the floor next to the living room. You make a detour and your mom calls out to you from the kitchen to ask if you want a snack. You mumble something about not being hungry and make a dash to the hall closet or den where the bar is and furtively grab a bottle of vodka.
Once your safely back in your room, your hands are shaking. You’re absolutely certain that someone saw you and you hold your breath to listen for the shouts of recrimination. Nothing happens. Gradually your chest stops pounding and you open the bottle. Not bothering with a glass, you just gulp some of the liquid down. It stings, but then you feel a warm and tingly sensation flowing over you. That wasn’t so bad, so you take a few more sips.
Now, all your anxiety and worry about what’s going to happen tonight is gone. Somehow you figure out what to wear and before you know it your date is at the door. Your parents are friendly. They make some lame comments about getting home by midnight, all the while looking the guy over like he’s covered in gold or something. Finally, you’re off.
In the car, your date tells you he’s got a surprise. There’s a stop he has to make first. No problem. You’re still feeling the warm buzz from the vodka and wherever this hunk wants to take you is just fine with you. When he produces a flask from the console and offers you a drink, you accept right away. What a night. He tells you it’s time to party.
Then you’re at some rundown building in a part of town you really don’t like, but you’re with the school jock that can certainly take care of you. Inside, he says he’s got business and next thing you know you’re in a room with a bunch of guys smoking and drinking. One guy spreads out a few lines of a white powder on a glass-topped coffee table. Your guy takes a straw and snorts a line up his nose. When it’s your turn, you copy what he did. No big deal.
Before long, one line turns to several lines, and your guy takes your arm – along with a bag of the stuff he’s bought from one of the dudes, and you’re back in the car. Your date pulls out some pills from a little Ziploc bag in the glove compartment and says to take one. He takes two, so you do the same. What was in the pills? Who cares? You both laugh and he kisses you and it feels so good you never want this evening to end.
The rest of the night is a complete blur. You vaguely remember going to the dance, but not what happened after. When you wake up in the hospital with your parents crying and all grim looking at your bedside you wonder what in the world is so bad. Then they tell you that you almost died from an overdose. Something about alcohol and cocaine and whatever was in those pills…
You got off lucky. Here’s hoping you learned something from this near-tragic circumstance. Mixing substances can kill – and you very nearly became just another statistic.
Being One of the Gang
Teenage years are filled with a lot of things you’d like to forget. There are pimples and scrawny legs and a cracking voice and hair on your face that looks a lot like a plucked chicken. You desperately want to fit in somewhere, but have trouble finding a crowd that a) accepts you, b) likes you, or c) tolerates you. There must be a way to get in with the guys that are popular, the ones who always seem to have a steady crew of girls hanging on their every word.
You watch and study how the cool guys operate. They’re smooth, all right. Nothing seems to faze them. Oh, they may get in a bit of trouble with the teachers now and then, but mostly it’s just for cracking jokes or coming in late to class with some jerky excuse. You want to be like them. In fact, you’d do anything to be part of their group.
When one of the guys in your math class gets a not-so-good grade on several tests, and you, the guy who sits next to him, always come up with straight A’s, you hit upon an idea to gain favor. You volunteer to help him with his math, and he agrees. You go to his house a few times and his parents are always gone, so tutoring turns to partying in no time at all. After all, math is easy for you, so you smoke the joint he offers, chase it down with some booze, and all is right with the world.
The guy winds up getting fairly decent grades on the next few tests and by this time, you’re pretty much a fixture at his house. He starts asking you to hang out with his buddies on the weekend. You’re beyond thrilled. Next thing you know, there are blow-out parties with booze that never stops flowing and girls that unbelievably find you cute. So you get a little wasted. Wait, better make that more than a little wasted. You pass out so many times you begin to wonder if you’ve contracted some sort of sleeping sickness.
Things are beyond getting out of hand. Before you know what’s happened, you’re drinking, smoking dope, and doing drugs way too much. It’s every day, not just on week-ends. When you start nodding off in class, your buddy slips you some pills he says are guaranteed to keep you up. In the bathroom, you wash them down with some booze you’ve begun to carry in a small container.
By the end of the day, a few more pills, a joint one of the guys says is a killer, more booze, you’re totally out of it. You walk out of school and into the intersection – and get hit by a car. You don’t even feel it.
When you wake up in the hospital and your parents are worried sick that you were going to die, you can’t believe your life has come to this. How did it all go wrong when all you wanted to do was be one of the gang? Consider this your wake-up lesson. Consuming booze and mixing it with drugs will mess up your mind, rewire your brain to the point where you feel you have to keep on using, and you could well wind up a very young corpse.
Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other
Spring break is a special time for any young person. It doesn’t matter that you’re not in college. Heck, even freshmen and sophomores party down when spring break comes around. And everybody knows where the best parties are. This is the highlight of the year, next to getting out for the summer.
You make plans to get the most out of this year’s series of blow-out blasts. First, you figure out a dynamite and iron-clad excuse so you can breeze out of town for a few days and join up with your pals for the best time ever. You’re a good student, get decent grades, and never cause any trouble, so it’s easy to fool your mom and dad about the weekend at the cottage, all the skiing you’ll get in, and how you really need to get away. They buy it, of course. After all, you’re tops in your class in debate. For every possible argument, you have a counterargument. But it doesn’t ever come to that.
Next you con your older brother into buying plenty of booze for you to take on the trip. He winks and says you should take it easy. No need to go overboard. But he’s smiling all the while, and punches you in the arm, wishing he could take off work and go party. You know he’s got quite a stash of pretty potent dope, along with a whole pharmacy of pills for various types of highs. You think about asking him for some of these goodies, but figure he’s already done enough.
Then, when you’re ready to take off, he hands you a baggie with more stuff than you’ve ever seen outside his bedroom. Again, he tells you to take it easy. You say thanks and you’ll probably bring most of it home. Your parents are at work, so you leave them a note and you’re on your way.
Of course, you hook up with your pals at the agreed-upon spot. Each of them has pulled a fast one on their parents as well. Only one girl couldn’t get a pass from her mom, but she sends a text and says she’s coming up tonight anyway – so save some of the good stuff for her.
Finally, you’re all together and the party’s in full swing. You lose track of how much booze you’ve consumed, but you know it’s a lot. Someone hands you a beer and you drink it, swallowing a handful of pills along with it. Some of the guys are smoking crack and you get a taste of that. The music is loud and you dance and get kind of rowdy. Pretty soon, everybody’s taking their clothes off, screaming and hollering and going all crazy.
Some of the girls are passed out on the couch but the rest of the crowd is still going strong. You’re feeling more than a little woozy, so you figure another drink will help steady things. You grab the bottle of booze someone’s waving around and when the crowd starts to do drinking games, you just have to join in. After all, what’s spring break without a contest to see who can drink the most?
The first time you know that something’s really wrong is when you feel yourself falling and you can’t do anything to stop it. You’re on the floor and you’re looking up but everything’s blurry and fading fast. It’s hard to breathe, but you don’t mind that so much as it seems like you’re far, far away, somewhere above looking down. What just happened? Why is everybody looking at you like you puked on yourself or something? Why is that girl crying and what’s that sound in the distance? It sounds a little like sirens. Maybe it’s just the music, you think as your mind wanders off. All you want to do now is sleep, sleep for a really long time.
When you wake up – if you do – you’re lucky to have survived an overdose. Your heart stopped, and if the paramedics hadn’t arrived in time, you would have been sleeping the sleep of the dead. What seemed like such a good idea wasn’t even slightly smart. Mixing alcohol, crack and all kinds of other drugs was actually just plain stupid. Get it together. There are better ways to have a good time than risk killing yourself over some dumb lethal combo.
Just Want to Have Fun
No one’s denying that teens want to have fun. Everyone wants to have fun, teens and adults included. The trick is to learn safe and healthy ways to enjoy yourself, to express yourself, and to interact with others so that there is a tomorrow for all of you.
Maybe you can talk with one or both of your parents. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, perhaps you have an older sibling or relative that you’re close to that you can tell your feelings. The answer certainly isn’t listening to your friends – the ones that are locked in a never-ending cycle of booze and pills and drugs. You’ve probably already lost a few friends to overdose, drunk driving accidents, fights turned deadly, or suicide.
Don’t be one of them, a statistic. Get some help to figure out how to deal with stresses and pressures to be one of the gang. Learn how to express your individuality in safe and healthy ways. You don’t have to have all the answers. You’re just starting your journey toward adulthood. In order to be sure you have all the opportunities to enjoy your life ahead, you need to lay the groundwork now.
Bottom line: You know there are lethal combos out there. And mixing these substances can kill. Be smart, and not just how to fool your parents while you figure out new ways to party. The idea is to be around to live the rest of your life.