Alcohol is the main drug of choice among young people. Most teens who use illegal drugs begin with alcohol, in the sequence of beer or wine, followed by cigarettes or hard liquor, then marihuana and other drugs.
Alcohol is a Central Nervous System depressant that relaxes the inhibiting controlling mechanisms of the brain. It affects speech, vision and coordination.
Prolonged drinking can lead to physical dependence on alcohol. Young people run a high risk of dependence due to processes of puberty change, neurological immaturity, and incomplete muscle and body mass development.
Liver disease from alcohol usually occurs in three stages; fatty liver, which is usually reversible when drinking is stopped; hepatitis or inflammation of the liver, which may persist after drinking stops and may be fatal in some cases; and cirrhosis, which also can be fatal.
Chronic drinking can damage the lining of the small intestine so food is not well absorbed. It can also cause bleeding and ulcers. Congestive heart failure, hypertension and stroke are associated with heavy, chronic use of alcohol.
Alcohol consumption has been linked to numerous forms of Cancer, including cancer of the mouth, esophagus, pancreas, liver, colon and rectum.
Drinking by a pregnant woman is associated with increased risks of spontaneous abortion and lower birth weight. It also has been associated with a series of birth defects called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect.
If a young person uses drugs when their basic skills are being developed, they are unable to develop normal relationships, cope with problems, or deal with peer pressure.
Drug use lowers inhibitions in young people who already have low impulse control, are emotionally volatile, are natural risk-takers, lack a sense of limits and have little future orientation.
Accidents involving drinking and drugs are the major cause of death among teenagers.
Drug use among kids may cause negative personality and behavioral changes such as; depression, aggression and apathy.
Young drug users are often polydrug users. That means they rarely use just one drug in isolation, but a combination of drugs.
Behavioral and Personality Changes
Observed School Changes
When asked to do drugs or consume alcohol, change the subject and suggest doing other things like sports or games.
Use any excuse you can think of -"My parents would freak on me", "I'm allergic to that stuff". Think of other creative ways!
Practice peer pressure refusal techniques. Rehearse what you will say and stick to it!
Talk to your parents or someone you trust! Remember you are not alone!
If your friends push drugs on you...they are not your friends!