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Everyone struggles with making the right choices. What we don’t realize is that the choices we make today can make a difference in our lives tomorrow. Because we need guidance in making the right choices sometimes, we took D.A.R.E.

Define, Assess, Respond, and Evaluate. These are the steps to making a good choice. What I learned in D.A.R.E. is that everyone messes up sometimes, but we need to work hard to persuade ourselves to not make the wrong choice again. Whether the wrong choice has to do with drugs, alcohol, bullying or something else; they all take a toll on you and other people.

So, let’s start by talking about drug abuse. Drugs are one of the leading causes of teen deaths in the United States.

More than 400,000 Americans die from tobacco related causes each year. Nearly 50,000 deaths every year can be attributed to second hand smoke.

Some health effects from drugs such as tobacco are smelly breath, yellow fingers, dry skin and wrinkles. Tobacco products are illegal to sell to anyone under the age of 18.

Now, let’s talk about alcohol abuse. Though selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal, many people manage to get their hands on it. Along with drugs, alcohol is another leading cause of teen deaths in the states. Sometimes, our poor judgment can lead to the end of our or someone else’s life. There are 75,000 alcohol related deaths each year.

Teen bodies are still growing; therefore, alcohol affects them more severely than in adults. Some health effects of alcohol use are: memory loss, loss of self control, poor judgment, and slow reflexes. Alcohol weakens the heart muscle and reduces the amount of blood pumped to and from the heart.

And lastly a subject that too many kids have to deal with. That’s right, it’s Bullying. Have you ever been pushed around or made to feel like you were nothing. That’s bullying, and let me tell you it doesn’t feel good.

Sometimes bullies bully because they have problems at hone or they fell insecure. When people bully, it gives them a sense that they are dominant over others - thus giving them a purpose to bully. Believe it or not, but bullying is another cause of teen deaths in the USA too. Sometimes, it gets so intense that people can’t deal with the pressure anymore. Yes, it is very sad, and nobody should have to feel like the only way out is to commit suicide. For this reason, I think that we should really make an effort to instead of making people feel like nothing at least try to all be friends.

D.A.R.E. really helped me to think about my choices and deal with my problems. My appreciation and gratitude goes out to Officer Flynn for taking his time to teach us to be good people. Yes, everyone struggles with something, but classes like D.A.R.E. help us to figure out what we need to do without hurting ourselves or anyone else.

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