Advice for Making Risk-Based Decisions

People make risk-based decisions every day throughout their lives. Many teens make risky decisions whether it be about substance use, sex, or other potentially dangerous activities. Most behave this way because they are unaware of the outcome or -even worse- they might not care.

According to, “Adolescents take more risks than younger children or adults. Teens also are more likely to be injured or die as a result of such behaviors.” A key element of the risk decision process is determining if the risk is necessary. This decision must be made at the appropriate level by the individual who can balance the risk against the potential benefit. For example, if a teen is sexually active, there is always the risk of becoming pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease. It is very important to evaluate this risk and take the correct steps to ensure their own safety and future. Birth control and other forms of contraception should always be used to prevent an accidental pregnancy or disease.

High School is when many teens will experiment with substances and alcohol at the same time that they are getting their driver’s license. This causes many teens to attempt to drive while under the influence of something. Experimenting with substances at a young age is a risk in itself. Those who began drinking before age 14 years were more likely to experience alcohol dependence as adults. If you do find yourself struggling with addiction or falling into it, always ask for help.

By the time teens are in 12th grade, 46.6% of teens have tried illicit drugs. The most common is marijuana. Marijuana on its own can cause negative impacts on the brain and interfere with growth and development when used by young people. A bigger concern is that many teens buy these drugs and don’t know where they came from. Marijuana, for example, can be laced with embalming fluid, glass, laundry detergent, Methamphetamine, Heroin, PCP, Fentanyl, LSD, and Ketamine. Many of these things can cause serious injuries or overdose resulting in death. It is best to wait until you are of age before you start experimenting so you can ensure you are buying a clean, safe product.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017 approximately 1,848 fatal crashes were a result of teenage drunk drivers. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you or a friend is attempting to drive under the influence… Stop. Take a step back and evaluate the risk. It is better to be late to curfew than put yourself and others on the road in danger.

If you or your friends are drinking, here are some steps to ensure you are safe. Most importantly, always have a plan on how you will get to and from the location. Whether it be a parent, Uber, or a sober designated driver, always make sure your driver is sober before getting behind the wheel. It is also important to make sure you eat enough throughout the day and drink a lot of water before, during, and after drinking to prevent alcohol poisoning.

Every decision you make has a consequence, whether it be getting in trouble with parents, law enforcement, or losing your own life.