Most youth in the Abbotsford and Mission communities will end up having at least one friend who becomes involved with drugs.
The drug use may never rise to the level of causing significant problems. Many people just experiment with drugs or use them socially or recreationally, and their drug use never creates problems of great importance.
But when problems do start to happen, they can sometimes grow from a ripple to a tidal wave seemingly overnight. If this happens in the life of one of your friends, you may wonder what you can do or how you can help. If your friends start doing drugs, you could also feel some pressure to either condone or condemn it – both of which can feel wrong. You might even feel, in one way or another, pressure to join in.
Rarely does “peer pressure” happen in the way that people tend to imagine it – with a friend or peer directly and forcefully trying to pressure you into taking that first drink or first toke of pot, when you really don’t want to.
Plenty of youth come to IMPACT after a drug-related school suspension or other difficulty – possibly just that they were observed with others who were using drugs or had drugs in their possession. They may see the dangers of continuing to use drugs or continuing to be around drug use and want to make some kind of change – but all their friends use drugs regularly. Sometimes even significant family members are using drugs frequently. They’ve grown up together, have a shared history together. It can be a difficult situation.
If a youth continues to hang out with the same people, do they risk continued or increasing drug use or continued entanglement in needless problems and drama? Is there a way to counteract this “peer influence” effect? How can youth build new social lives and supports, if that seems to the youth to be the right thing to do?
At IMPACT we help youth identify their own life goals, obstacles that they might see as standing in their way, and strengths that they already have, as well as resources around them that might help them make progress, starting from wherever they currently are.