During mental health awareness week New Zealand personality Mike King told 100,000 individuals that “he didn’t know why he drank and did drugs for thirty years of his life.” As a boy, Mike says, he battled his own mind, he lacked self esteem and fought anxiety.
Looking back Mike says he is “positive” it would have been helpful for him to know that he wasn’t alone in feeling this way and so Mike King has dedicated his life toward making sure that young people know it is okay to ask for help. He mainly does this through the Key to Life charitable trust, which is dedicated to preventing suicide among youth and breaking down the barriers of mental health.
Mike doesn’t take up this dedication alone many people and platforms are there to go into battle with him. One of these platforms is Buzzed, Buzzed aims to show youth the effect that drugs and alcohol have, if misused.
Buzzed does this by telling; through video the raw and honest stories of people who have struggled with and overcome addiction.
The videos Buzzed creates succeed in packing a powerful punch into 3.5 minutes.
Well known New Zealanders, such as Mike King have told their story to Buzzed, as have local young people such as Yasmine Sina. The videos created by Buzzed have reached thousands of youth and stimulated a conversation surrounding drugs and alcohol. This conversation then aims to reduce potential harm to individuals, inspire community action and develop a greater understanding around what the presence of drugs and alcohol within our society means for us.
Within New Zealand conversations regarding alcohol are often held, but the silence within the conversation comes with how we define alcohol.
Is it a drug or not?
According to the Ministry of Health alcohol is indeed a drug.
Drinking is such a huge part of our nation’s culture people enjoy drinking and when they do it responsibility alcohol is not seen as a drug, but alcohol always has the potential to become a drug; it can easily become dangerous. The key comes when you gain awareness of this, it is only when you understand the potential dangers of alcohol that you can truly drink responsibly.
This understanding is what Buzzed fights for you to have; the first step to understanding the potential dangers of alcohol, comes with how we define it because as I said the reality is that alcohol is a drug.
The word drug has come to be used in relation to something like scenes out of Breaking Bad, drug culture has been sensationalised and in this way we’ve come to separate ourselves from the reality of what a drug is.
A drug is anything that has an effect when introduced to the body, this is what alcohol does when you have too much of it and perhaps you are thinking that the effect of too much alcohol upon your body is a good one; in the moment you feel great, you feel cool holding the cup, gaining the attention of the others in the room, but ask yourself do you still feel great the next morning?
Is the headache worth it, or is it a better choice to have only one drink, enjoy it, but keep yourself from walking that tightrope that comes with having one too many.
It is easy to think “that’s not me I can handle my liquor” and that be true for you at this moment in time, but if you continue to be absent from the reality of alcohol 30 years down the track things could be different and you could be looking back and thinking “why didn’t I listen when I was told that I needed to watch my drink”.
Addiction to alcohol and other drugs is not a lollie pick and mix there is no guy choosing people, like we do Pineapple Lumps. Nobody is standing and pointing at people, saying “I’ll make her an addict and him and addict” addiction can affect anyone from any social, economic or cultural background and I have been extremely lucky that within my own family unit, my experiences with drug culture have been non existent and my experiences of alcohol have been seeing responsible drinking, but I do not have to look far outside of my family unit, to see how addiction can plague an individual.
You might think yourself immune or invincible but you are not and our generation has no excuse to not know the effects of drugs and alcohol, because we’ve seen our mates on Snapchat, the TV shows and the viral Facebook videos, we have seen countless pictures of irresponsible drinking and the use of other drugs, but our generation also has no excuse to not know what responsible drinking and the freedom from other drugs looks like because countless campaigns like Buzzed and individuals like
Mike King provide us with help and resources, to know what we need to know and prevent us from walking on the tightrope that is addiction.
In case you needed reminded you have potential and you have something to give, you are not alone, nobody is saying you cannot have a drink, but we are saying know when to stop and know why you are doing it, have a drink because you are legally able, because you want to. Don’t drink because you feel pressured or want to appear cool.
Those reasons are hollow and you are worth more than that, lastly have the confidence to say no.
No to the glass or no to the smoke, because you are more than entitle to this and anybody who doesn’t respect you for saying no, is not someone you need in your life. Learn the lesson to say no and learn it before it is 30 years too late and you’re wondering
“why didn’t I listen?”
Images and videos used in this are copyrighted to the BUZZED campaign, CAYAD and Auckland Council used with permission.