Why are drugs so common in California, specifically in Oakland? Drugs are obviously one of the main issues in CA, especially in Oakland because of peer pressure and media glorification.
To begin, the obvious drug issue is a problem in Oakland because of peer pressure affecting minors. An article, “Peer Pressure is Powerful” by The District 69 Family Resources Association, explains “Well, peer pressure is a powerful influence on adolescents” and that “Twenty-five percent of adolescents aged 14-17 have tried drugs” (The District 69 Family Resources Association). Both of these key quotes discuss how this system can impact adolescents, or teenagers, to associate with drugs. When asked about drugs during his childhood, Coach Kareem of Life Academy Middle answered, “My first personal experience with drugs was under a bridge with a group of friends to smoke some weed and we thought we knew what we were doing…pfff” and “I did it to be cool” (Coach Kareem of Life Academy Middle). When I hear the keywords “group of friends” and “to be cool”, Kareem was influenced by his friends to do drugs which is one of the main influential for doing drugs. Also, the reason for peer pressure is so that they would gain respect from friends or gain popularity. Therefore, adolescents in Oakland are associated with drugs because of peer pressure and is still happening as of today.
Also, drug use in Oakland was influence through what people had seen in media, known as media glorification. An article, “Former Drug Dealers Speakers to Youth, Urges a Different Path” by Scott Johnson quotes, “If you’re from Oakland, you’ve got to know about Felix Mitchell,” and continues “But that’s the problem, people idolize him” (Johnson). Felix Wayne Mitchell Jr. was a drug lord from Oakland that was “idolized” by numerous of people to do drugs through media. This connects to drugs because teenagers who worship Felix follow his lead in order to gain the possible things that he had gain which was condoning drugs in Oakland for power.
Some may argue, drugs isn’t the main issues in Oakland because of media glorification. My cousin, Thomas Mai, was an interviewee replied, “I have been in Oakland all my life, and I think drugs is a big problem in Oakland. The reason why is because it’s bad for the community. If you’ve seen people who do drugs like I have then you know how negatively it affects people, physically and mentally” (Mai). Even though he never mentioned anything about media glorification. However, he did elaborate on why drugs is an issue in Oakland. In the end, drugs can be associated with youth through media which makes it a targeted issued in Oakland.
Overall, drugs can target youth in many ways like peer pressure and media glorification, and in order to prevent this continuation, the adolescent should go to a prevention center to understand more about drugs and the major effects that can impact us.
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