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Emily - Interview 06

Age at interview: 17
Brief Outline: Emily's parents let her drink alcohol in the house, under their supervision. She thinks this has helped her learn how to drink in moderation.
Background: Emily goes to college full-time and lives at home with her mum, dad and two siblings. White British.

More about me...

Emily usually only drinks on special occasions at her home with her family. Her first memories of drinking alcohol were when she was thirteen one Christmas. Emily lives in a small village and says that most of her friends from school used to drink on the street but she didn’t like the idea of drinking a lot in public places just to hang around with friends.
 
Emily thinks that her parents have had the right attitude by allowing her to drink alcohol in the house, under their supervision. She feels that she has learnt about how to drink in moderation. She thinks that there is more pressure to drink alcohol in college than in school. Her college is in a bigger town and she noticed that there are posters up advertising places to go to drink, like pubs and clubs. Now that she is at college she feels that the issue is not how much you drink on a night out, but how often do you go out drinking. With her friends she usually goes out once a fortnight.
 
Emily's first experience of illegal drugs was when she started college, mostly pills like M Cat or ecstasy. She has been offered drugs but turned them down and feels happy that she made that decision. Her main reason for not taking drugs is to do with the health risks and the fact that people who drugs have a bad reputation in her college. She says that most of the drug taking happens because of peer pressure. Emily doesn't see alcohol and nicotine as drugs because they are legal, unlike cocaine or other illegal substances. See also sees alochol and smoking differently because it's something that parents do. Most of her information about drugs and alcohol comes from PHSE lessons she had at school, and the media. And she has also discussed these issues with her parents.

 

 

Emily sees drinking as more mainstream and thinks people start using drugs because of peer pressure.

Emily sees drinking as more mainstream and thinks people start using drugs because of peer pressure.

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I know of friends, my friends of friends that are doing drugs and stuff like that but I think alcohol is a lot different because at the age when a lot of people do go out drinking and when you get to the age of 18 and that it is, you are legal to drink so a lot of us more going out drinking but then I think it depends on how much drink and when you go out drinking. So if you are going out once a week having getting drunk then it depends than if you are going out like four or five nights getting drunk.
 
And you say that most of your group they don’t do drugs?
 
No they don’t do drugs.
 
Ok and alcohol, they drink alcohol to?
 
Yeah we’ll drink alcohol and that like if we go out or anything we’ll drink alcohol but it’s not really a big thing. You know it’s like if we do it it’s a limit and it’s once every couple of weeks or. You know it’s not a big amount.
 
So one sort of important message would be when you come to college there are these different groups of...
 
It’s different to school. As at school you didn’t think about going out drinking or anything. It’s when you come to college like even around college there’s posters up about clubs in town and that and so you learn about different things and because you’re in town there’s a lot of night life in town as going to a school in different area then there’s not a lot of night life around it so you don’t really see it as much so you don’t think to really go out drinking. So I think that’s a lot why they drink on the streets but then I don’t know really why.
 
But at the same time in college there are all these different groups you can choose which group sort of suits you best.
 
I think at school it’s a lot easier to choose groups because when you are all in one year you’ve got different groups. As at college because there are different courses you do or if you do ‘A’ levels or whatever I think like a course it’s quite a small course size so like everybody is friends with everybody so really you haven’t really got. You’ve got your groups of friends but only a couple. As at school there will be a lot more groups which you could choose from to join because it’s all that year rather than at college there isn’t really because you’re just friends with who’s in your course unless you know people on different courses from school or. So...
 
I think peer pressure has got a lot to do with drugs as like really you don’t. When you get asked what you feel as if you’ve either got to take it or you don’t. So like if you’re asked by the person that you don’t feel you can say no to that’s a different thing because it’s like that is a lot to do with peer… peer pressure has got a lot to do with drugs I think. But it depends on who it is that’s asking you and different. Like and it depends what your friends like. If you’re friends look at drugs in a good side or look at them in a bad side. So really it depends on who you hang about with and who your peers are really, as different.
 

I think a lot of people get into the wrong groups and start taking drugs to look good or to just to fit in with a group or get peer pressured into it by joining that group so I think that’s got a lot to do with it as well. 

 

Emily says that people think differently about alcohol compared to illegal drugs.

Emily says that people think differently about alcohol compared to illegal drugs.

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No alcohol wouldn’t be a drug. I think more the substance drugs rather than like alcohol and smoking I think. That’s all like them cutting their coke and stuff like that. I see them as drugs rather than alcohol and smoking.
 
Ok so illegal drugs to you?
 
Yeah illegal drugs, yeah.
 
And rather than alcohol and nicotine?
 
I think because alcohol and nicotine are used a lot more than drugs and there’s more publicised... It’s more publicised about drugs like don’t use drugs than it is about alcohol and smoking really. And I think because alcohol and smoking are legal a lot more people do them than they do drugs.
 
Do you think there is the same awareness about side effects as there is for illegal drugs?
 
I think they should but I think as well because they are legal then people look at them different.
 
So people think it is ok?
 
Yeah to smoke and to drink than it is to do drugs.
 
Must be ok to do it yeah.
 
If they are illegal there is a kind of warning?
 

Yeah. I think still smoking there’s a lot of things about smoking that’s like they could kill you and stuff and I think that’s seen a lot more than drinking because like more people drink than they do smoke. Like just about nearly everybody will have a drink at weekend or at special occasions they’ll have a drink. So I think smoking and drugs are seen differently to alcohol. 

 

Emily thinks her parents were right to let her drink alcohol at home on special occasions, so she...

Emily thinks her parents were right to let her drink alcohol at home on special occasions, so she...

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I discuss a lot more to do with alcohol than drugs with my parents. Like my parents don’t mind if I’m drinking in the house if I don’t have much like around Christmas and that as a lot of parents don’t if you just do a bit. They’d rather me have a drink in the house with them than go out in the streets drinking on the streets where you’re getting done for drinking on the streets and having a lot more than limits are really. So…
 
Do you think that your parents’ attitude has helped you keep your drinking under control?
 
Yes I think it has because like with them letting me have a drink in the house like when it’s special occasion or something I think that’s influenced me a lot because it’s made me feel like I don’t need to go out and drink because they’re actually letting me drink when it’s in house as some parents that don’t let you drink. Don’t let their children drink in houses. They’re like a lot of them will go out on the streets and drink behind the parents backs rather than do it at home. So I think that influenced me a lot because I feel like I could ask them if I wanted a drink and like so. 
 
 

Emily doesn’t want to use illegal substances because of what she has learnt from her parents and PSHE lessons at school.

Emily doesn’t want to use illegal substances because of what she has learnt from her parents and PSHE lessons at school.

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You said that one of the things that influenced your attitude to drugs has been the information you have got or you have received from school and from college. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
 
Well a lot more from school there’s like in our PHSE lessons and stuff like that they talked about drugs and alcohol and the risks and why not do them and why you should say no and peer pressure to do with that because a lot of drugs around this area is to do with peer pressure. So but they like told us about the risks and that so a lot more people… I think that helped a lot of people as at college depending on what course you’re doing it depends on whether you get taught about them because there’s no, all you do is the course that you do. So like with doing the course I do, you do find a lot more about it. So…
 
Ok so that has helped?
 
That has helped yes.
 
And apart from that what else do you think?
 
I think as well as how I’ve been brought up, I’ve been brought up not to look at them and say ‘No’ and stuff. There’s some other people might have been, never been brought up to them and like never been said that they can say ‘No’ it’s never been. Because it has never been an issue so but you get talked to it about and stuff that some parents won’t talk to their kids about it. So I think it depends on how you’re brought up and your parents and that. So…
 
So you have this sort of communication with your parents in which you are able to talk to them about things?
 
Yes.
 
Ok with both of them, your mum and your dad?
 
Yes with both my parents. Yes
 
Do you have brothers and sisters?
 
Yes I have two sisters.
 
Older or younger?
 
One older and one younger.
 
Is their attitude to drugs and alcohol similar to yours?
 
I know that none of them do drugs and alcohol’s at a limit when alcohol. Like my little sister don’t drink at all but my big sister’s quite a bit older than me so she’ll go out drinking but there is a limit to it. She don’t go out every weekend or every night and that’s the limit.  
 

Emily felt confident about saying ‘no’ to drugs. She thinks that people should make an informed choice and not feel pressured into it.

Emily felt confident about saying ‘no’ to drugs. She thinks that people should make an informed choice and not feel pressured into it.

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Can you tell me what did you do when you were offered drugs and you refused?
 
I just said no and they took it. I know some people wouldn’t, some people will keep asking you and... you know think it were just. Knowing that way I think. It were totally knowing.
 
And that was it?
 
That was it really. Yeah
 
They didn’t insist?
 
No.
 
Were the people who offered you the drugs, you knew them or friends of friends?
 
Friends of friends and.
 
Any other reason why you refuse drugs, any other reason?
 
That you can say ‘No’. And never be pushed into it. You can say no and it’s up to you if you want to do them. And that there are risks behind them and check up this before you decide if you want to do it or not really. But really yeah you can say no if you want to say no.
 
So you…
 
Never feel pressured into it because you can say no. 
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