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Alcohol and drugs
Every culture has a different attitude to drugs and alcohol, and every person has a different view about them. You are entitled to make your own decisions about these issues, but need to be aware of the legal issues and of the effect your decision may have on the community around you. It may be that in some communities men are regarded as somehow less manly if they don't drink; equally it may be that women are regarded as too forward or 'easy' if they do.
Refusing alcohol and drugs may be difficult in some circumstances, but you have every right to do so. Other substances such as betel nut and cigarettes pose similar difficulties; usually on a less dramatic scale: the sharing of these things can be a way of building relationships in the community but that does not mean you should feel obliged to take them and in any case local expectations about your behaviour may not be the same as for everyone else.
Questions you need to know the answers to:
- What are the cultural norms for use of alcohol and drugs?
- How do these apply to females? How do they apply to males?
- How can I refuse alcohol and drugs?
- How will I be viewed if I accept them?
- What are the laws of the land? Do I risk jail (or death) if I take substances?