This past Friday, Harlem Dowling joined SMART Youth to talk about Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol. We discussed the different ways that being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impair our judgment and lead us to make unsafe sexual decisions. When we make decisions while under the influence, it increases our risk for unintended pregnancy, getting HIV and other STIs, or being involved in unsafe situations. We first reviewed the reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol. We were able to correctly list some of the many pathways to drug/alcohol use, which included depression, peer-pressure, or a need for community. These reasons, plus many more, can lead to addiction.
We then talked about several common drugs and how they can affect our judgment and libido. All of these drugs lowers our inhibitions and impairs our judgment, leading us to do things like:
- have sex even if we didn't plan/want to
- not use a condom or other birth control
- not put on a condom or use other birth control correctly
- share needles
Other ways we put ourselves at risk is when we drink to excess. It can cause us to blackout or become unconscious, which could not only lead to unsafe decisions, but also physical harm.
One way avoid making unsafe decisions is by not mixing sex with drugs or alcohol. If you feel that you need to use drugs/alcohol to have sex, you might not be ready to have sex. Sex is best when all parties involved are ready, sober, and making clear choices together.
Thank you to Harlem Dowling for leading this important discussion!