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Lauren - Interview 09

Age at interview: 18
Brief Outline: Lauren used to binge drink every weekend with friends as a teenager. Now she drinks with friends a few times a month but not to get drunk. She has realised that alcohol and cannabis don't solve problems.
Background: Lauren is a student is finishing Health and Social Care course at college and afterwards she plans to work for a year and then go to university to study social work. She lives with her mother and older brother. British.

More about me...

The first time Lauren drank alcohol was at a friends’ house. She decided to join in because she wanted to feel part of the group. She has found that different types of alcohol affect her differently. Cider made her sick, wine sleepy and relaxed and vodka depressed and violent. On one occasion she got into a fight with someone and the police gave her a caution and sent a letter to her parents. Lauren didn’t talk to her parents much and they didn’t know that she was drinking but both parents used to talk to her about alcohol and its consequences. They felt very disappointed when she got into trouble with the police and she felt disappointed in herself and for letting her parents down.
 
Since she started drinking, age fourteen, she used to drink every weekend and described her drinking as ‘bingeing’. She also started to smoke cannabis at fifteen. She says that it’s very easy when you are with a group of friends to do what they are doing. Now she only drinks a few times a month, when out with her friends. She drinks lager but not necessarily to get drunk. She no longer smokes cannabis. Her attitude has changed and says she has learned a lot from the experiences of other young people around her. She has one friend that has become an alcoholic and others that have been kicked out of college and their family home; another had unprotected sex and became pregnant and had an abortion.
 
Lauren has come to realise that alcohol and cannabis can't help solve problems or stop people feeling sad. She used to drink when she was stressed about college or upset with relationships. She said that alcohol helped her forget her problems for a while but that they were still there the next morning when she sobered up. She has found that talking to her friends helps her cope better when she feels down. her message to other young people is ‘not to shut yourself away’ and to keep busy.

 

 

Lauren stopped seeing her old friends when she decided to quit cannabis.

Lauren stopped seeing her old friends when she decided to quit cannabis.

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I’ve had weed before, cannabis and I think I was 15 when I first had that.
 
Ok so it happened within your group of friends?
 
Yeah.
 
So somebody offered...?
 
Sometimes if you’re in a group of friends you feel pressurised to do things that they are doing and then you’ll try it.
 
Going back to drugs did you sort of try anything else apart from cannabis?
 
No.
 
How often were you smoking cannabis?
 
Every week.
 
Every week so when you met with your friends for sort of a drinking session you were also smoking a bit of weed?
 
Yeah
 
And that changed recently or...?
 
Yeah at the end of last year and the beginning of this year.
 
Ok has your group of friends changed also?
 
Yeah they got out. It’s normally the crowd that you’re in, the sort of friends you have and they influence that upon you and that’s why you start doing it. But now my group of friends have changed.
 
Well I got out of that group of friends. I used to go to my friend’s house every weekend and I stopped going and then I started being friends with one of my best friends now and now we’ve got our own group of friends.
 
Your friends now are they mostly from college now?
 
Yeah they’re not, some of them are yeah but not in the same group as me but they are around college and some of them are in their last year of school and some of them are older than me. So it’s kind of a mixed group.
 
But they are friends who are either studying or working or...?
 
Yeah. 
 

Lauren felt very ill after drinking two litres of cider but she knew she would do it again because, as she put it, she was young, naïve and experimenting.

Lauren felt very ill after drinking two litres of cider but she knew she would do it again because, as she put it, she was young, naïve and experimenting.

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I first drank alcohol when I was I think 14 under the influence of my friends. And the first time I was sick, I threw up because it was cider and it wasn’t very good. But nothing happened I was just ill. And then...
 
How much did you drink?
 
About two litres.
 
Where were you at that time?
 
At my friend’s house.
 
How many of you were there?
 
About six.
 
And all of you were drinking cider? Ok. How many of you got sick?
 
About three of us.
 
How long did it take you to get better?
 
A day.
 
A day. So what did you have headaches or stomach?
 
Headache and stomach ache.
 
What did you think about that afterwards?
 
I thought it was a stupid idea but I knew I’d do it again because I’m young.
 
So why were you so sure you were going to do it again?
 
Because that’s what you do when you are young. You experiment with different things and you’re naïve, you’re probably going to do it again. And now I’m 18 so I’m legal to drink.
 
Did you do it again?
 
Yeah, not straight after but I did. 
 

Lauren smoked cannabis every weekend with her school friend but her new group of friends don’t do drugs.

Lauren smoked cannabis every weekend with her school friend but her new group of friends don’t do drugs.

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Going back to drugs did you sort of try anything else apart from cannabis?
 
No.
 
How often were you smoking cannabis?
 
Every week.
 
Every week so when you met with your friends for sort of a drinking session you were also smoking a bit of weed?
 
Yeah
 
And that changed recently or...?
 
Yeah at the end of last year and the beginning of this year.
 
Ok has your group of friends changed also?
 
Yeah
 
Yeah
 
They got out. It’s normally the crowd that you’re in, the sort of friends you have and they influence that upon you and that’s why you start doing it. But now my group of friends have changed.
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