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All you need to know about drugs

Reaching out for help is an essential step, Richard Rawson.

A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug, Patricia Neal.

HOW WIDESPREAD IS DRUG USE AMONG THE YOUTH?

“1 out of 4 teens reports having misused or abused a prescription drug,” The Medicine Abuse Project.

“More than one quarter of adolescents drank alcohol, approximately one fifth used an illicit drug, and almost one eighth smoked cigarettes,” Samhsa. “One out of five students in America has used an inhalant to get high by the time he or she reaches the eighth grade,” Inhalant Abuse Info NIPC National Inhalant Prevention Coalition.

WHAT ARE DRUGS?

Drugs are substances which change the normal functioning of our body, the way we feel, think or behave.

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drug_timelapse_mugshot_0

TYPES OF DRUGS

Drugs can be classified according to various criteria:

  1. According to their effects:

Stimulants, such as cocaine, caffeine, and amphetamine, speed up the nervous system, they make you feel less tired, more energetic, refreshed, and focused. They may increase your confidence, and you are more likely to feel good, experience pleasure, euphoria and a sense of well being. What happens after the drugs wear off? People experience a “crash” which includes feeling exhausted, less energetic, sad, depressed, agitated, and a strong craving for more of it.

On the other hand, depressants, such as alcohol, heroin, and morphine, inhibit the central nervous system’s function. They reduce brain activity and awareness, they also relieve stress and pain, make you feel relaxed and chilled out. In the long term, they lessen your ability to deal with stress, they produce anxiety, insomnia, impair judgment and decrease inhibitions, they cause liver and brain damage, etc.

Hallucinogens are drugs that cause hallucinations, they distort the way you perceive reality, they make you see distorted images, feel things, and hear voices that aren’t real, they completely distort your interpretation of what’s going on. Examples of these types of drugs are LSD and ecstasy.

  1. Depending on the level of addiction. The most addictive drugs are nicotine, caffeine, heroin, methamphetamine (crystal meth, ice), cocaine (crack), valium, and alcohol.

  2. Related consumption restrictions.

    Legal drugs are those that can be legally sold, possessed, and used. They are readily available (caffeine), but typically some restrictions apply (alcohol, tobacco). Medicines are also drugs prescribed by doctors that help us feel better when we are sick.

    Illegal drugs are those controlled or banned by the government. They are more expensive (drug users commit criminal acts to get them), and have no guarantee.

    More importantly, it is impossible to know if they are adulterated with harmful substances, and their degree of purity or concentration so you take on the risk of an overdose each time you consume them.

WHY ARE THEY CONSUMED? There are consumed for many reasons. It ranges from pure curiosity and feel pleasure to have new experiences, some fun, and also social influence. For instance, bad influences from colleagues and friends because “everyone does it” and we all want to feel accepted and integrated in the group; parents also influence their children’s choices regarding drugs; and the media which portrays drugs as fun, making us look good and mature, and helping us to feel good.

There are also people who consume drugs to escape reality, to relieve stress and anxiety, to overcome the lack of confidence and shyness, etc. Drug addicts take them because they can no longer live without them, and some men push girls to drink alcohol or take drugs in order to get them to have sex.

CONSEQUENCES OF CONSUMPTION

  1. Health problems and death.
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cigaretteNo

Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke,” World Health Organization.

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tobacco_effects_on_body_T

Cocaine is known to cause myocardial infarction, cerebral hemorrhage, thrombosis, insomnia, paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis, mood changes, irritability, aggressiveness, anxiety, depression, mood swings, etc.

The use of “dirty” or shared needles when injecting heroin helps to spread deadly infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis. “Heroin abuse is associated with a number of serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion […] Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and gastrointestinal cramping, and liver or kidney disease,” National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Ecstasy is linked to depression, psychotic breakdowns, insomnia, severe craving, agitation, panic attacks, aggressiveness, and hallucinations.

  1. Car accidents. Drugs and alcohol raises chances of fatal car accidents because they impair our motor skills, reaction time, and judgment.
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incidente

  1. They are associated with professional and academic underachievement. Drug abuse causes poor academic results, job losses, out of control debts, and finally, family impoverishment, bankruptcy, family breakdowns, and reliance on welfare.
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fail

  1. Physiological and psychological disorders such as withdrawal, seizures, hallucinations, depression, and neurosis.
  2. Drugs are one of the most corrosive social problems of our time. As drugs are consumed, romantic relationships deteriorate, friendships and families fall apart. Many become socially isolated and develop significant emotional conflicts with feelings related to higher levels of fear, sadness, low self-esteem, hopelessness, and depression.
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personalRomantic

  1. Criminal behaviour to support consumption. Firstly, drug addicts sell personal belongings, then they resort to theft and prostitution.
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prostitution

  1. Tolerance. This refers to the process by which the body acclimates itself to the presence of the drug, and the drug no longer has the desired effects. Therefore, a higher quantity is needed to achieve the same results and, of course, a higher consumption exerts more harmful side effects on the body.
  2. Withdrawal. This is the feeling of severe discomfort, extreme distress, and intense craving for a substance that arises when the use of it is stopped. It includes depression, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, loss of appetite, and agitation among other highly unpleasant symptoms.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO ABOUT IT?

Parents should intervene by:

  1. Setting tighter limits with clear consequences for breaking house rules, Drugfree.org.
  2. Reaching out for help and support.
  3. Talking about drugs with their children. If you are a dad or a mum, choose the right moment, talk and listen actively to your child in a calm way, and learn about drugs so you can provide him/her with reliable information.
  4. Monitoring his/her behaviour and activities. Get to know other parents and your child’s friends (social influence). Ask your children a lot of questions.

MORE INFORMATION AND HELP:

* Samhsa “works to improve the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, alcohol and drug addiction treatment, and mental health services. It includes links to community programs, information resources, events and articles.” * Website for the Inhalant Abuse Info NIPC National Inhalant Prevention Coalition is “dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse by inhalants.” * Drugfree.org provides “support and resources for parents dealing with teen drug and alcohol abuse.”

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