Study Guide

Perfect Drugs and Alcohol

By Ellen Hopkins

Drugs and Alcohol

So I'll count every calorie. Train even harder./Fight for buff. And maybe I'll ask Sean/about that steroid I read about—/the weight loss phenom of the stars. (2.90-91)

Kendra says she wants to be buff, but that's different from skinny. In trying to be fit, she goes overboard, which gives her a very different type of body.

I don't want to work/that hard. There's an easier/way. He waits to see if/I bite. When I don't, he says,/I was hoping you could help/me out with some 'roids. (3.37-38)

Sean gets angry with Bobby for asking for steroids, but he decides to use them himself. He's wrapped up in the game of competition, and he doesn't want anyone to beat him.

But here in the medicine chest, between/the ibuprofen and the Benadryl, as a little/amber bottle, with Jenna's name on/the prescription label. Percocet. (14.67-68)

It's surprising that Jenna didn't finish her Percocet, given that she abuses other substances. Alcohol's her poison, which proves that the phrase "drug of choice" is a bit of a misnomer. In reality, the drug usually chooses you.

Chad, Steroid Expert/is also my supplier. And not/just mine. He underwrites/his living expenses dealing/illegal substances. Steroids/are just the tipping-off place. (15.34)

If Chad's willing to supply Sean with steroids, it seems likely that he'd be willing to supply other drugs in the future. Instead, he tells Sean he won't provide any more steroids. It's his version of sibling concern.

I have to admit I'm curious/to see if the "little blue pill"/can fix me. If it can make me/some kind of sex superstar. (15.42)

Sean goes from wanting to be functional to wanting to be a superstar. He's not only trying to beat people on the field—he's trying to beat them in bed as well.

Alcohol and backward bungee jumping?/Sounds like a bad/combination to me. (16.34)

Andre learns right away that Jenna makes bad choices due to alcohol, but he continues to date her. In a way, she's his drug.

He took her in, and when she left us/for smack again, he raised Caleb like/his own. We were doing okay, except when Mom died, Caleb freaked out./Like she'd ever been his mom, you know?/Anyway, he fried his brain on ecstasy. (17.54-55)

Kids whose parents abuse drugs often deal with it by abusing drugs themselves. It might be a bad choice, but it's easy to see why you'd seek out ecstasy if your daily life is misery.

Who knew so many answers/might be found inside/little amber bottles? Sad?/Pop a pill. Fat?/Run screaming for/the medicine chest. (18.3-4)

Drug marketing encourages us to believe pharmaceuticals can solve our problems. Prescription medication advertising can be helpful to those dealing with genuine health issues, but it can be dangerous for the vulnerable and dissatisfied.

We're going/to a party. "A Queer Spring Break/Bash" is how it's been billed. Booze./Beer. Drugs (?). And gay people. (29.14)

Cara doesn't know if there will be drugs at the party, but she's willing to risk it if she can be with Dani.

Broken bones. Stitches. And all because/she asked the wrong guy to buy her booze. (46.91)

Jenna's afraid to steal alcohol from her parents' liquor cabinet, so she chooses a much more life-threatening option. She's more willing to risk a stranger's wrath than theirs.