People are judged on the decisions they make, but there are underlying reasons for what they do

Riley Miller, Opinion Editor

Have we considered that some kids use drugs and alcohol to make their lives a little less miserable?
I’m not saying it’s healthy for anyone to abuse drugs or alcohol so they’ll be happier. I’m not in any way condoning that kind of behavior, but what I am saying is that some people are under so much pressure they turn to drugs, alcohol, even self-harm or eating disorders.
It’s not in any way stupid — in fact, there are very logical reasons behind it all. Whether it be because of school, issues at home, concern with body image, relationships between friends and peers or anything else, many people need a way to forget what stresses them out the most. They need something else to focus on. They need a distraction, and for some, that distraction is to knowingly put themselves in danger.
It’s truly not as simple enough to say something like, “smoking weed is just flat out stupid.”
Yes, there are many teenagers who experiment, and try things just for the fun of it, but there are also many teenagers who become addicted to unhealthy behaviors that they feel make their lives just a little bit better or “take the edge off” for a little while.
There is a huge difference between the two.
It’s almost like an illusion — people are secretly struggling, but someone wouldn’t normally think anything of their dangerous behavior because things like drinking and using drugs seem so normal among teenagers.
It’s not fair for them to be judged for “trying to fit in” or “trying to look cool” when they’re genuinely in pain, and they feel drugs and alcohol are the easiest way to help them cope with what they’re struggling with.
It is something way bigger than anything a lot of high school students could understand, but it is important to realize that the judgement of something you don’t fully understand does not help anyone affected by these kinds of issues.
When you look at the big picture, you’re making some people feel bad about something they do to make themselves feel better.
It’s a huge contradiction, and in reality, you could be making them feel worse than they originally felt.
If you are a teenager struggling with issues involving drug or alcohol abuse, self-harm, eating disorders or anything else related, please don’t put off seeking out help any longer.