Friday, 14 June 2013 11:33

Drugs: What Teens Need to Know

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Drugs: What Teens Need to Know

 

 

“It is a Friday Night, and there is a party happening down the road where everyone from my class is going. I suspect that there is going to be drugs at this party and I am fearful that I will be asked to take them”.

 

“I am attending this party because I like this girl in my class. She is very popular and if I am to impress her I may have to do things like take drugs”.

 

Both of these stories are very common with a large number of teenagers stating that drugs are accessible and can be found anywhere. The National Institute on Drug Abuse agrees stating that 60% of teens said that drugs were sold, used or kept at their school.

 

So what is a Drug?

 

A drug is any chemical that you take that affects the way the body works. A drug changes the message signals between brain cells and the rest of the body (www.sciencemuseum.org.uk).

 

Are all Drugs Bad?

 

No! Not all drugs are bad as some drugs are used for medical purposes to fight infections, help with terminal illness and prevent or diagnose diseases. There are however some bad drugs that when taken can cause significant harm to the body and the brain. Drugs like Alcohol, Cocaine, Heroin and Marijuana impair a person’s ability to make healthy choices and decisions.

 

What are some of the Drugs that cause Serious Harm?

 

Alcohol

 

Alcohol is a depressant that alters a person’s perceptions and senses. It is a drug that is widely accepted by the general community. Alcohol affects the brain quickly, depending on the amount consumed. Small doses have an impact on a person’s well-being with feelings of relaxation and confidence. Larger doses of alcohol can affect a person’s judgement, stance, breath and memory. Long term affects of alcohol consumption consist of liver disease, heart damage, sexual impotence and reduced fertility (just to name a few).

 

 

Depressants

 

Depressants are substances which slow down the function of the central nervous system. They are drugs which can be purchased by prescription. Depressants include Tranquilizers, Valium and Xanax. When taken incorrectly, depressants can have serious consequences including seizures, panic attacks, convulsions as well as sleep disorders (just to name a few).

 

Cocaine

 

Cocaine comes from the Coca plant. In a crystallised form it is a white powder. Cocaine is a stimulant that has a direct affect on the central nervous system. When smoked, inhaled or injected, it gives the users a feeling of power and energy. Cocaine has an immediate affect on blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that has a number of long term effects including depression, hallucinations, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders and anxiety/psychosis (just to name a few).

 

Marijuana

 

Marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs across the world. Marijuana is a mixture of the dried and shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. The mixture can be green, brown, or gray. Marijuana is usually smoked and is often referred to as the gateway drug as it can lead to people using stronger drugs like Heroin and Cocaine. The immediate effects of taking Marijuana include: Loss of Inhibition, spontaneous laughter, confusion and altered thinking and memory. Marijuana is addictive with users required to take more and more over time to maintain the same effect. The long term effects of Marijuana include: impaired concentration, drug induced psychosis, impaired learning and memory (just to name a few).

 

Ecstasy

 

Ecstasy is an artificial drug designed by underground chemists. Popular amongst the night club scene, Ecstasy speeds up the messages between the brain and the body which makes a person feel more awake and alert. The effects of taking Ecstasy include: vomiting, floating sensations, high blood pressure, hallucinations, fits, anxiety and increase heart rate (just to name a few).

 

Heroin

 

Heroin is made from the opium poppy which slows down the activity of the central nervous system. Heroin like Cocaine can be smoked, inhaled or injected. Heroin is known to give you a burst of euphoria which is often followed by drowsiness, vomiting and nausea. The long term effects of Heroin include: depression, constipation, intense sadness, and damage to heart, lungs liver and brain (just to name a few).

 

 

Amphetamines

 

Amphetamines are a stimulant that increases the messages between the brain and the body. Amphetamines are highly addictive causing a person to feel energized and alert. Amphetamines are swallowed, injected or smoked and can be a mixture of drugs, binding agents, caffeine and sugar. The long term effects of Amphetamines include: paranoia, violence, muscle rigidity, panic and confusion, damage to the heart muscle, psychological problems including poor memory and concentration (just to name a few).

 

Nicotine

 

Nicotine which is derived from tobacco is a highly addictive drug responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in the USA. Nicotine is a stimulant and a relaxant that causes a release of chemicals in the brain which creates a feeling of calmness, alertness and relaxation. The long term effects of Nicotine include high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, weight loss, cancers, blockage of blood vessels (just a name a few).

 

 

Why do Teens Take Drugs?

 

Despite what most people think, teens don’t start out taking drugs to get high. They take drugs because they want to have fun, want to be popular amongst their peers and have the status of doing something that is risky. Teens also take drugs because it can provide stress relief, reduce boredom and can help when one wants to escape responsibility or a difficult decision.

 

 

What Can Teens do if they are approached to take Drugs?

 

It is important to realise that you choose whether you take the drugs or not. Your ‘Voice’ is your greatest tool against drug use pressure. Here are some tips you can use when you have to say NO!

  • I can’t use drugs as it effects my Asthma
  • Nah – I’m good thanks
  • I don’t want to turn out like the (name) Celebrity
  • I don’t have time as I have to meet (insert person’s name) now

 

During times when you feel most pressured, try and recognise the important things in your life. As you do this ask yourself this question?

 

Is taking these drugs worth jeopardising everything that is important to me?

 

If you answer YES, you have just changed the dynamics and blurred the relationship with what is most important to you.

Read 2362 times Last modified on Friday, 07 March 2014 02:26

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