Vanessa Baioni

Today we’re featuring an excerpt from Nicole, a scholarship winner from Ohio who recently earned her Prescription Drug Safety certification. Congratulations to Nicole for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Student: Nicole D.

Teacher: Mark Angelo

School: John Hay High School

State: Ohio

Sponsor: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

“The Prescription Drug Safety course has truly opened my eyes about the advantages of prescription drugs if used right, as well as the consequences and negative effects of prescription drugs if misused. It never occurred to me that there were different types of drugs that have different kinds of effects, such as depressants and stimulants.

I categorized all prescription drugs as good, helpful drugs but never thought of the high risk of addiction. From abusing drugs to increase dopamine and lead to intense feelings of happiness, to leading to withdrawal from the low levels of dopamine caused by the lack of drugs. It doesn’t take much to get addicted to prescription drugs, but it does take a lot to get away from that addiction.

This course really helped direct my attitude to believing the temporary feeling drugs give you, is not worth the permanent damage it gives you. As well, the fact that drugs affect people in different ways didn’t stand out to me much. I never knew it could be so drastic.

With learning this, I’ve completely changed my behavior around when discussing drugs with my friends and peers. Typically we would describe different highs we’ve seen others have, and compared how everyone has a similar experience with drugs (specifically marijuana) then encourage others to just try it once. But after learning and actually seeing people be affected very differently from drugs, I have not condoned or encouraged anyone to do so because I actually know the consequences now and would not want to be responsible for someone having a bad outcome.

In my past, I have tried smoking marijuana once or twice at social gatherings with my peers and it didn’t seem to have a bad effect on me, so I saw no problem with it until I took this course and learned how drugs such as marijuana can damage the brain, especially a still-developing teenage brain. Learning these facts, I made a significant change in my attitude towards drugs and I’ve decided nothing is worth more than having a healthy developed brain, and nothing is worth risking the chance of having that.

With this new decision in my life and change of attitude, I’ve developed a desire to push this kind of attitude towards my friends so none of them misuse drugs but I never knew a way to do so without ruining our friendship. This was until I took this Prescription Drug Safety Course. Then I learned that it is okay to privately talk with my friends and show them my concern with their well being. I offered my support to them and demonstrated that I was always there to talk to them and get help if needed.

The most significant way this course impacted my life was by teaching me it’s okay to wonder, but you must learn every fact about a drug and seek professional help before deciding to use. Nothing is more important than good health, and abusing drugs contradicts and effects that.

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