I was shocked this past Saturday night in the bathroom of a downtown establishment when I saw two girls snorting cocaine. Yup, cocaine. I thought I was pretty close with these girls. I thought of them as friends and had hung out with them regularly over the past four years, but apparently I was wrong. As soon as I saw them take the bag out, I stopped in shock. I think my reaction was the following: my jaw dropped, my body froze, my mind raced and my heart just sank. I’ve heard all of the whispers about the rampant coke use on campus recently, but to actually see people using it was unreal – especially seeing people I care about; it was sad, scary, and unbelievably stupid to say the least.
As soon as I realized what they were doing, I couldn’t help but stare. Partly due to the shock, but mostly because I could not fathom why they needed the drug; what they were trying to get from it; and where they had gotten from. I’m not naive; I mean I know why kids do drugs, but cocaine? You know it can kill you on your first try, right? You know its common effects are heart attacks, seizures and strokes. I’m sorry, but if you need this to have fun on a Saturday night in Hamilton, New York, you’ve got huge problems to worry about.
I exited the bathroom as quickly as I could, but not before I watched the girls check their noses in the mirror and give each other hugs. One of them actually reached over and rubbed the other girl’s nose just to make sure there were no visible remnants, and then looked at me and said, “Okay, we’re ready to party!” I was left dumbfounded. I immediately grabbed my coat and a few friends to tell them I was leaving, and thought about the situation on my walk home. I guess what confused me the most was how I was totally oblivious to my friends’ habit, and how they justified their situation. Everything that happened continued to bother me this week, so I asked one of them what she was thinking and she said, “Jessie, everybody does it. I guarantee you know at least ten people who do; you just don’t know it.”
Great. This makes me feel so much better. As I contemplated writing this editorial, I talked to more of my friends and was confronted with similar answers. “It’s insane how many kids do it now”; “Everyone does it”; “Supposedly coke is taking over”; and “I thought everyone who did it graduated, but I guess not” were just a few of the responses. And these weren’t replies from a certain group of friends either; I asked people from several different social circles what they thought, and everyone basically said the same thing. I would like to say that this is one of those situations where everybody thinks that everyone else is doing it, but I’m afraid it has actually become a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed.
Obviously it is difficult to confront one person with a problem, let alone a bunch of kids who don’t see their actions as dangerous or wrong. All I can say is that there are plenty of people available here who are ready and willing to talk about any type of problem, including drugs, and these resources guarantee your anonymity. Cocaine use is not something to be taken lightly, it’s not something to “do for fun,” and it certainly isn’t something I would have ever imagined writing an article about. Please talk to your friends if you realize something is going on, and support them in getting help. All it takes is one time, one freak accident, one bathroom visit for something to go terribly wrong. If that happens, and I pray it never does, the party is over for good and we’ll all be left thinking about how we could have intervened.