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Bekky - Interview 07

Age at interview: 16
Brief Outline: Bekky started drinking alcohol at thirteen with friends because she felt pressure to join in, but now she hardly drinks at all. She is worried that drinking alcohol could have a bad impact on her health, and thinks that young people need to be given more information about what can go wrong.
Background: Bekky studies full-time and lives with her parents and her sibling in a small town in the north of England. British.

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Bekky first tried alcohol because all her friends were doing it and she didn’t want to get a reputation of being ‘boring’ and not part of the group. They found it really easy to get alcohol even though they were underage. She didn’t like the taste of it though and being drunk makes her giddy, emotional and she tends to cry a lot.
 
Her Mum doesn’t really approve of young people drinking alcohol but Bekky is allowed to drink on special occasions. Bekky says her parents drink 'in moderation' and she has never seen them drunk.
 
Bekky no longer drinks alcohol regularly because she is concerned about how alcohol will affect her health. One of her friends was very ill due to alcohol poisoning. She thinks that young people are not told enough about the long-term effects of alcohol on the body
 
Bekky isn't interested in getting hold of drugs but she amazed at how easy it is. On one occasion she was offered cannabis at a friend’s house but said 'no' even though all of her friends tried it. Bekky says that she's been put off trying drugs by seeing how people look and behave when under the influence of drugs. Her attitude to drugs has also been shaped by her parents who made her aware of the risks. She thinks that people tend to judge girls who do drugs harder than boys who do.
 
For Bekky, information about drugs has mainly come from the media, her parents and teachers. She doesn't think most teachers know enough about drugs to talk to them about it. She thinks that young people should be made more aware of how easy it is to get addicted to drugs.

 

 

Bekky started drinking alcohol with her friends because she didn’t want to feel left out or be called ‘boring’.

Bekky started drinking alcohol with her friends because she didn’t want to feel left out or be called ‘boring’.

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What were your motivations to try alcohol that first time?
 
I think it were just because my friends were drinking it so I thought, oh if my friends were doing it then I’d want to try it. Just see what all the fuss is about really.
 
Ok so it was just sort of...
 
A bit of peer pressure and stuff.
 
Peer pressure. You thought that sort of kind of they might kind of reject you a bit if you’d say, ‘No I don’t want alcohol’?
 
I think they would because if I had, if I would have said, ‘No’ then I would have been the only one that weren’t drinking then probably would have been only one that was sober. So and they’d be like, ‘Oh well you’re being boring, come on what you being like that for? Everybody does it.’ And I think they just like pressurise you a bit until you agreed and you’d feel left out and like you weren’t part of the team and that, part of them.
 
Of the group?
 
Yeah.
 
So you did it because of peer pressure because everybody...
 
Yeah
 
...else was doing it. And how often were you drinking around that time?
 
Well it were people, my friends really only went out every Friday but I think for me mainly like once or twice a month, not as much because I just didn’t like the taste really. 
 

Bekky was offered cannabis by some friends but they didn’t mind when she refused.

Bekky was offered cannabis by some friends but they didn’t mind when she refused.

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I’ve been offered cannabis before is like a spliff but I said no. I went to my friend’s house and I was sleeping at her house and she had some. I don’t know where she got it from. And a couple of my other friends tried it but I said, ‘No’ because well I don’t smoke so I thought well if that don’t interest me then something worse than that isn’t going to interest me.
 
Ok and what was their attitude when you said no?
 
They were fine about it but they were. But I said to them, I said, ‘Why are you doing that?’ ‘Oh it’s only once it don’t matter. It’s someone’s birthday. It don’t matter.’ But I think whatever occasion it is you shouldn’t do it no matter what it is.
 
 

Bekky thinks that people will put more pressure on those who appear easily led or keen to fit in.

Bekky thinks that people will put more pressure on those who appear easily led or keen to fit in.

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You were quite effective in saying, ‘No I don’t want to try drugs’. And people just left you alone.
 
Yeah that’s it.
 
I think it depends, what kind of person you are if they leave you alone. If they see you as like a person they can easily push about and they can easily influence then I think they would have kept nagging but I’d say I’m like quite a strong independent person where I can say, ‘No’ and people will know that I mean ‘no’. I think if you present yourself as like easily led and would do anything to fit in and like long to be part of group I think that’s when they like push you and push you until you do what they want.
 

And like how you present yourself. If you seem desperate to have friends and you think that you want to be cool and you try your best to be then they’ll see that as where they can get you to do whatever they want just so they stay friends with you. 

 

All sorts of illegal drugs were easily available in the area where Bekky used to live. She thinks fewer people would do drugs if they were harder to get.

All sorts of illegal drugs were easily available in the area where Bekky used to live. She thinks fewer people would do drugs if they were harder to get.

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And regarding drugs what is your experience of illegal drugs?
 
I haven’t really had any experience with them but I think that some drugs they’re like really, really easy for people to get like. Where I live there’s quite a lot of people I’d say that smoke and drink and take drugs. And they’ll just be like, no just say, ‘Oh I’ll get a tenner off me mum and then I’ll go and buy some weed and stuff like that. And like they’ll just go and see somebody who they know and just get it easily. And I just think, ‘God that’s way too easy’. If it were harder to get then not many people could do it could they’. 
 

Bekky explains how poor the information she received at school was. She thinks that people don’t know how addictive drugs can be.

Bekky explains how poor the information she received at school was. She thinks that people don’t know how addictive drugs can be.

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I’ve got some information from school but I don’t think it, people are made aware enough. People just think if you drink then you’ll damage your liver but or you’ll act stupid. That’s about it. Nobody really knows like nobody’s really given examples about what could happen. They just think, ‘Oh it damages your liver, that’s it.’ They don’t know in detail what happens I don’t think.
 
And how much information and where did your information come from about drugs?
 
Well I wouldn’t really say that I know a lot about them so I wouldn’t really say I’ve been given a lot of information about them. I think there’s just bits from school and then a couple of TV adverts and then from what my parents have told me, and from what my friends have told me.
 
Ok so at school is it the PHSE class?
 
Yeah. But I don’t think they, I don’t think the teachers are really aware about it to teach other people. I think that teachers should be taught before they try and teach us about it because none of them really know much. They’re just sat looking at a sheet and just saying it so it don’t really sink in.
 
What information do you think is important and relevant to pass on to young people about drugs?
 
I think not many people are made aware about how easily people can get addicted and dependent on drugs. Because some people think, ‘Oh just once it will be fine. I’ll not do it again’. And then a couple of weeks later they’ll think, ‘Oh I’ll do it again. Last time I did it were a couple of weeks ago. It’s not like it were yesterday so I’ll do it again.’ And then they keep that attitude and then sooner or later it’s like day in day out with they’re wanting drugs and coming dependent and they’re like throwing their life away because that’s all they care about.
 
 

Bekky has been influenced by her parents’ anti-drugs attitude.

Bekky has been influenced by her parents’ anti-drugs attitude.

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And regarding drugs what is your experience of illegal drugs?
 
I haven’t really had any experience with them but I think that some drugs they’re like really, really easy for people to get like. Where I live there’s quite a lot of people I’d say that smoke and drink and take drugs. And they’ll just be like, no just say, ‘Oh I’ll get a tenner off me mum and then I’ll go and buy some weed and stuff like that. And like they’ll just go and see somebody who they know and just get it easily. And I just think, ‘God that’s way too easy’. If it were harder to get then not many people could do it could they’.
 
What do you think has helped you to develop this attitude to not do drugs?
 
I think it’s my parents really because my mum’s always like brought me up and like said to me like and she’s always made me aware of consequences of what happens when you start doing stuff like that like. And if I’ve seen people how they look and how they behave and I think that just puts me off it mainly because it’s just seeing them that. I just think I don’t want to be like that.  
 

During a sleepover Bekky’s friends offered her some of a joint, but she refused. Her friends didn’t insist.

During a sleepover Bekky’s friends offered her some of a joint, but she refused. Her friends didn’t insist.

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I’ve been offered cannabis before is like a spliff but I said no. I went to my friend’s house and I was sleeping at her house and she had some. I don’t know where she got it from. And a couple of my other friends tried it but I said, ‘No’ because well I don’t smoke so I thought well if that don’t interest me then something worse than that isn’t going to interest me.
 
Ok and what was their attitude when you said no?
 
They were fine about it but they were. But I said to them, I said, ‘Why are you doing that?’ ‘Oh it’s only once it don’t matter. It’s someone’s birthday. It don’t matter.’ But I think whatever occasion it is you shouldn’t do it no matter what it is.
 

It didn’t matter just because it were a one-off but then they do it more and more. 

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