Issues & Topics

All different topics & issues presentation & discussions, such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs, HIV-AIDS, teen pregnancy, sexual violence, involving information, awareness & prevention.

Although we all may have been taught differently and have different perspectives, there are just some things we should follow regardless. So here are the general rules that should be followed:

  • If it’s not nice, then don’t say it before thinking about it. Everyone is obligated to their own opinions and judgments, but it is not necessary to tell that to everyone, especially if you just meet someone.
  • Be respectful. It is way better to respect people and their personal space because not everyone is going to want to be your friend.
  • Believing in out of date and strange stereotypes. Stereotypes may or may not be true for groups of people; so it’s better not to assume anything.
  • Be polite to others when you can. It is not too much to be nice once in a while or say hello!
  • Don’t talk down to strangers or acquaintances. It’s really rude to see yourself higher and act above other people. Although you may have a higher status/reputation, it is still disrespectful.
  • It is quite obvious to let elderly and disabled people, and pedestrian go first.
  • Putting your personal life and anger on social networks. It is nice to be able to communicate and share exciting news with everyone, but it’s not a personal diary. There is a fine line of what’s appropriate and what should not be viewed by the world.

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Drug Postcard 10


Substance Abuse 1

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Bullying Anthony Xiong


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Bullying copy

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“Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette.”


Have you ever wonder why so much teens are part of the overall population who smokes tobacco? It is an issue that people, programs, and campaigns have been trying to prevent because of the health issues related to tobacco. Despite the strong emphasis that tobacco use is dangerous, why exactly are teens still continuing to do it?

Well, here are some possible reasons why:

  • Access to tobacco resources. Whether it’s someone they know or a specific place that they can purchase it, illegal exchanges and distribution are widely spread in the U.S. Teens may have a lot of connections such as a dealer, friends, family, etc., that allows them to have the substance.
  • Peer pressure. Teens are easily pressured to grow up by society and people. Those who are older or ‘experienced’ consider themselves highly upon others who have not tried it. So that is why teens are influenced to fit in with everyone by doing what the ‘experienced’ group want. (And this extends more than tobacco).
  • Trying too hard to be living the ’stereotype’ teenage life. We all know that there are stereotypes of what American teens should behave like: being rebellious, crazy, wild, party animals, and unpredictable. It is how society project the way teens should act like: partying, having early intercourse, doing drugs, and drinking underage. When teens see those things, they start to accept it and think they should act like that. So some teens may want to live up to those stereotypes because they think that in order to experience the ‘teenage life’, that it is the correct way. (Which it is incorrectly presented and too overrated.) Maybe it’s time for everyone to change their mindset on how they can experience teen life?
  • Person pleaser. Sometimes, it’s the individual who is a person who can’t stand up for themselves and other teens take advantage of that. When someone is a person pleaser, they’re easily targeted and do things that they may not want to do. There might be some fear involved that they may lose their friends or judged or not fit in or are afraid and cannot speak up.
  • Some teens simply don’t care. Not everyone pays attention to the health risks of using tobacco or don’t care at all. There is not much we can do for them because it is their choice after all. We can advise teens in hope to decrease the amount of teen tobacco users, but at the end of day, it’s up to them to decide.
  • Stress? Stress can vary from mild to bad, but teens may turn to more dangerous routes to cope with it. There are other available options to deal with stress. But some teens would not want to discuss about it with someone or try another positive alternative.
  • Want to try tobacco? Teens are curious about a lot of things and that is both a good and bad thing. In reality, it is not like teens don’t know using tobacco can harm their body. Some use the excuse of how they just want to ‘try’. We can’t stop their curiosity and decisions when it comes to health related matters. We can only educate them best about the risks.
  • Outside influence. Besides the usually circle of friends and family, there are outside influence that causes teens to want to use tobacco. For example, influential people and things such as celebrities, movies, music, magazines, etc. Those kinds of things does put an image in teens’ heads that it’s socially, culturally accepted. Yes, people in the U.S. are allowed to smoke at the age of a legal adult. But it doesn’t apply to the underage population.
  • Some teens/kids start younger than expected. And it means kids younger than high school age do use tobacco too. This is a huge problem because that means tobacco use is spreading onto younger kids everyday. It is likely that these younger generations may not realize the larger consequences of using tobacco. And, young tobacco users are more likely to continue when they’re in high school and possibly after it. “In 2012, 6.7% of middle school and 23.3% of high school students currently used tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, snus, smokeless tobacco, pipes, bidis, keteks, dissolvable tobacco, and electronic cigarettes.” –
  • It could be addiction? Some teens don’t know that tobacco contains harmful chemicals such as nicotine. A substance that is founded to be addictive and could cause nicotine addiction. So that is why it’s hard for people to stop using tobacco. There are those teens who are not aware that tobacco addiction is both a mental and health issue that needs help.

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Be aware of coming spring weather! Although it is nice that the weather is getting warmer, be alert for allergies. Not everyone have allergies and some people may not even know they have it. If you have allergies, don’t worry much it’s not because you’re sick.

So what is an allergy? It is a unusual reaction from the immune system to harmless foreign substances. Therefore, those with allergies should prevent from being near those things.

What are the symptoms? Most common symptoms to determine if you’re allergic to something includes runny nose, hives, red eyes, itchiness, irritated skin, and an asthma attack. Of course, keep in mind that not everyone’s symptoms are the same. Some symptoms are more severe than others while some may experience mild reactions.

How can it be treated? People can have easy access to treatment by buying over the counter pills. Those pills usually help lessen or prevent the symptoms from affecting you. A doctor could prescribe specific medications to you if it’s more severe.

What are some things that people are allergic to?

  • pollen
  • dust mites
  • poison contact (poison ivy, etc.)
  • mold
  • foods (peanut, nuts, etc.)
  • animal foods
  • dust
  • latex
  • animals (cat, dog, fish, etc.)
  • gluten (wheat, grains, bread, etc.)
  • water
  • sun exposure


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We all have those days where we just don’t feel good about ourself. There are too many flaws to pick out and nothing is good enough, right? It’s okay to think like that but don’t let it get to you. No one is 100% perfect in any way. Instead of thinking of your imperfections as problems, think of them as ways for you to improve. Whether it’s a big or small issue, here are some tips on what you can do to improve your self-esteem!



  • Stop comparing yourself to other people. You will never be those people you compare yourself to. You may not achieve the things they have, look like them, or behave like them; therefore, pointless comparison will not make your situation any better. It’ll actually make you feel worse because then you feel like you are not meeting up to their expectations.
  • Accept who you are! Well, this is either really easy or hard for people. We can’t always change who we are to make ourself feel better. Sometimes, you just need enjoy being ‘you’. Why bother trying to be someone else? It is time consuming and disappointing because it does not change the fact that you are who you are.
  • Let go of your negative thoughts. We are too harsh on ourselves to begin with. So there’s really no need to put more negativity in  yourself. Try to stay positive about yourself because you deserve happiness for who you are.
  • Seek self-improvement! If you can’t stop feeling down, then maybe it’s time for some change. You want to have a higher esteem, then you have to work for it! Nothing comes free when it comes to yourself. Changing up your daily life (exercise, diet, behavior, mind, judgments, etc.) will help you improve gradually.
  • Treat yourself often to things that will brighten your mood. Whether it’s a movie, sweets, shopping, a vacation, reading, dancing, etc., do activities that will require your full attention. There are never enough moments for good times.
  • Learn how to love yourself! Loving yourself is being happy with yourself. The point is that when you see/think of yourself (in the mirror, in the picture, etc.) you can smile because you see yourself, not other people in place of you.  

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After eating, we don’t usually reflect on it. Although some people do because each kinds of food contains different levels of sugar, protein, nutrition, and more. You want to be in control of your food intake because it has a direct relationship with your overall health. Even eating differently whether it’s good or bad, it may change your body. Therefore, it is wise to make sure you eat enough or the right amount of food.


  • Don’t always or eat the same thing too much. Whether its a type of food, sweet, or snack, it is not good for your body to lack specific nutrients that comes from other food. There are tons of food out there can meet your criteria of someone who likes organics or someone who is a vegan. So make sure you eat a variety of food.
  • Don’t overeat! Your stomach can only stretch so much in a certain amount of time. If you overeat, you might end up puking it out because your stomach will dispense food if there’s too much inside of it. Remember that your stomach can only digest an amount of food; therefore, it’s not endless supply of space.
  • Don’t use food as a comfort! Another way to describe this is binge eating: a disorder that describes how some people deal with stress or emotions by consuming a great amount of food. Usually it is for comfort and it can go onto be a continuous cycle.
  • Don’t eat because you just want to! Okay, so you may be bored, may have nothing to do, or you just feel like it, but it doesn’t mean you need to eat it! We all have cravings, but it’s not necessary to eat food when you are clearly not starving/hungry.
  • Eat your cravings a little each day. Or every two to three days. If you can satisfy your cravings, you won’t feel the need to consume a great amount when you can have some.
  • Be wise about the portions you take in. We are all probably guilty of this one because there were times where we ate way too much. Whether it’s chips, hot-dogs, fries, donuts, chocolates, etc., try to be reasonable with your portions. Think about what you need to eat on your plate (protein, veggies, fruits, etc.) versus what you want to eat.
  • If you don’t want to eat certain food but is lacking nutrients in other areas, you can always take daily vitamin pills. It is another alternative instead of consuming the actual food. But it does not mean you should not eat at all.
  • Don’t ever try to lose weight by starving or gain weight by eating unhealthy food. There are proper ways to do both. You can eat food that have fattier content that are found in salmon, avocado, olives, etc. Or eat less fatty food such as fruits, veggies, chicken, turkey, etc.

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Teen Pregnancy Factsheet



  • According to the CDC, 329,797 babies were born to women aged 15-19 in 2011 in the United States.
  • However, 2011 was also the year of lowest recorded birthrate in 70 years of tracking adolescent childbirth.
  • But the U.S. rate of adolescent pregnancy is still the highest amongst the most developed countries in the world, and is twice as high as the rates in Australia and Canada.
  • Approximately 82% of teen pregnancies are unintended, and they accounted for 1/5th of all accidental pregnancies in the U.S. in 2006, according to Planned Parenthood.
  • There are also many racial disparities in teen pregnancy, seen on the right (from the CDC).
  • Adolescent mothers are: more likely to have lower family incomes, more likely to be poor and receive public assistance, likely to be less educated, less likely to get married.

Preventing Pregnancy

  • Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and risk of pregnancy.
  • However, some adolescents may choose to engage in intercourse, which is totally fine!
  • There are several ways to protect yourself, but they have varying degrees of successful prevention.
  • These are only a few ways to reduce the risk of pregnancy. There are several other options not shown to the left, and it’s very important to find out which one is the best option for you. Whether it fits into your lifestyle, its convenience, its effectiveness, its cost and whether it is a safe option for you are crucial considerations.

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In the Event of Pregnancy

  • Solutions to the pregnancy that teens commonly choose are adoption, abortion, or keeping the baby. It is crucial to decide which one is the best option for you and your family, should you decide to involve them.
  • Abortion is an option and does not make you any less moral should you choose to take it.
  • If you choose to keep the baby, you do not have to give up on a college education. You might have family willing to take the baby in, but there are options to get into college even if you choose to care for it yourself.
  • Teen mothers are often shamed for having engaged in sexual intercourse, however it is not your fault and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s important to build a supportive network of people who understand this.
  • How you handle the pregnancy is your choice, and you get the final say.

Things to Remember

  • Be aware of the risks of intercourse and take appropriate steps to keep yourself and your partner healthy.
  • Practice safe and consensual sex! Only engage in it when you and your partner feel emotionally prepared.

Articles by Mai Thao/Youth Media Force

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