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Young lives

Most teenagers experience peer pressure at some time or another and Summer Bay's Kirsty Sutherland is no different. Although Kirsty [ Christie Hayes ] has a reputation for being a leader rather than a follower, she's fallen under some questionable influences recently. After dropping out of school and taking a job in a hairdressing salon, Kirsty has turned her back on her friends and begun going out with her colleague Jemma [ Thea Gumbert ].
" Kirsty is running off the rails ", Christie explains. " The reason she took this job and the reason she's influenced by Jemma is that she wants to feel accepted somewhere. She feels that her family don't understand her ". While Kirsty's sister Jade is busy protesting the closure of Summer Bay High, Kirsty and Jemma sneak out to a nightclub. Before too long she's offered an ecstasy tablet. " Deep down, Kirsty knows it's wrong but she wants to be accepted by the others so she takes the drug ", Christie reveals.
" Kirsty comes home from the club behaving strangely ", Christie continues. " After a while she goes into respiratory arrest  [ with sister Jade played by Kate Garven , below ], and then she's rushed to hospital ". Christie says that Kirsty's experience should send a clear message - drugs are dangerous. " What happens to Kirsty is typical of what's happening to kids today ", Christie explains. " It shows the audience that anything can happen when you take drugs ".
Christie hopes that any teenage viewers who may be contemplating taking drugs will learn from her character's experience. " Taking drugs can be damaging, unhealthy and the outcome can be very sad ", she says. " There is peer pressure but you don't have to give in. If your friends really care about you they'll accept you any way ".