Welcome to UMatter

Only you can make the decision not to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs. This Web site is designed to give you the facts about tobacco, alcohol and drug use in Columbia. It will also provide you with resources to find factual information about the effects of alcohol and drugs, real stories from teenagers like yourself and answer any questions you might have.

Recent Posts:

Teen Takes on Bullying by Self-Publishing

On the surface, 18-year-old Aija Mayrock seems like any other artistically inclined teenager. She enjoys reading and hanging out with friends. She dabbles in poetry and has written a few screenplays. But for the past two years, Mayrock has also been immersed in a project particularly close to her heart: she wrote The Survival Guide to Bullyingand self-published it earlier this month.

For Mayrock, the self-publishing process wasn’t easy. She started from scratch and didn’t know where to begin. But with the help of a few influential contacts, Mayrock completed the e-book just in time for an October 1 release date—the start of National Bullying Prevention Month.

Surviving Bullying

Like many young people, Mayrock was bullied throughout her childhood. As a third-grader growing up on New York’s Long Island, she was called fat, ugly, and stupid. “A nothing.” When her classmates weren’t making fun of her during gym, in the lunchroom, or in the girls’ bathroom, they took to the Internet and lambasted her on Facebook, posting mortifying photos and calling her names. It was a humiliating experience, Mayrock admits, and despite her parents’ frequent attempts at intervention, the situation only got worse. To this day, Mayrock says she’s still unsure why her peers hated her so much.

Read More

Ways to Cut Teen Driving Expenses

Few things give parents whiplash like their teen becoming a driver. Between the overwhelming desire to ensure their teen driver’s safety behind the wheel and managing the sticker-shock that comes with that, the transition to adding a new driver to the household can be dizzying.

Having a teen driver is expensive. The cost of driver’s education courses, the licensing process and insuring young drivers can be surprising. But this is not a place where you want to skimp. It is your child’s safety during a notoriously dangerous time, after all.

But adding a young driver to a family’s car insurance policy can jack up the rates by thousands of dollars.

Here are five easy ways to maintain the level of safety for your child, while keeping your expenses in check.

Read More

Smoking Weed Could Cost Teens

There’s no doubt about it—pot is a hot topic. Whether it’s a conversation about legalization laws or the celebrities who use it, the drug seems to be more popular than ever.

But there’s one thing most supporters and critics can agree on: Teens shouldn’t be using it. Several new studies are putting more proof behind this claim.

The Lancet Psychiatry reported that teens who smoke marijuana daily are 60 percent less likely to graduate high school or college than those who never use—and seven times more likely to attempt suicide.

It’s not just daily use. According to the researchers behind the study, teens who used cannabis monthly were also at risk of underachievement: By the age of 25, they were 38 percent less likely to graduate high school or earn a college degree, two and a half times more likely to attempt suicide, four times more likely to be dependent on cannabis and almost three times more likely to have used other illicit drugs.

Read More