Sophia Yamas - Alternative High
The inspiration for my topic comes from where I live. Humboldt County is well known for its large number of people who grow marijuana. There’s even a movie and an article in the New York Times about it. I grew up in Humboldt County, specifically Kneeland, where at least half the houses are grow houses. I attend Arcata High School, where I see students come to school high every day, and their GPAs suffer the consequences. I drive through Eureka regularly and see meth addicts wandering Broadway as their bodies disintegrate around them. Not only do drugs rob them of their healthy appearance, but they rob them of their money because most highly addictive drugs such as meth and heroine are expensive. When I see all of this I want to make a difference. I want to stop drug addiction, and I realize that the only effective way to do that is to make users aware of alternative options.
Before I started investigating alternatives I knew that people did drugs so they could experience the “wonderful” high feeling, and that drugs gave people this feeling by triggering and supplementing specific naturally occurring brain chemicals. When I did some research I discovered which drugs stimulated or contributed which brain chemicals, and how to mimic this process in other ways. Most of the other ways I found involved physical activity, which not only lacks the harmful side effects that drugs have on the mind and body, but also has several benefits. Individuals who run, work out, and do yoga tend to be more disciplined and have healthier bodies than those who do not.
My goal in presenting this TEDx talk is to spread awareness of the alternative ways to experience the high that drugs give their users. If enough people learn about these ways, more people can lead healthier, more functional lives and Congress can stop worrying about the “War on Drugs” because individual citizens will win it simply by altering their lifestyles and putting their spare time to a better, more affordable use.