SUBSTANCE ABUSE. Key Concepts. Types of Drugs

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1 SUBSTANCE ABUSE You have to choose who you want to be in life. This happens by making lots of decisions every day. Using substances is a choice. This is a big choice, because substances have a very real and negative impact on a person s personality, body and actions. Using any type of drug can lead to destructive behaviour, for example, aggression, hurting others and usually the destruction of your body. Key Concepts : Using something in an excessive and harmful way, for example, alcohol or drugs. Withdrawal: Symptoms experienced when not using the substance anymore, after a long period of frequent abuse. Addicted: Being dependent on a substance in order to cope with your life. Types of Drugs Although there are many substances which are not illegal, they can also be considered drugs, as they are addictive. These include: Caffeine Caffeine is found in chocolate, tea, coffee, some fizzy drinks and energy drinks. Although these snacks and drinks taste good, as caffeine has a negative effect on your body, they need to be used carefully. Caffeine gives your body a short burst of energy, but it does not last long, and afterwards you can feel very lethargic. It can also make your heart beat faster and make you feel anxious without reason. Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

2 So next time you have to make a choice between a fizzy drink and water, take a moment to choose carefully what you want to put into your body. Medication All of us need medication when we are ill. In spite of the good medication that can be used to help you when you are sick, some of these products/medicines can also be addictive and can be misused. Some people get addicted to sleeping tablets, for example, and others use certain medication to help them achieve better results in sport or in academics. Medication is only good for your body when it is prescribed by a doctor, specifically for you, because you have a certain illness. Medication is then used for a short period of time in order to help you get healthy. One of the most misused types of medication is tranquilizers. Tranquilizers calm the nerves and relax the muscles, when a doctor thinks this is necessary. When prescribed by a doctor for certain conditions, they are legal, but when they are used for non-medical reasons, this is illegal. Large doses of these drugs can lead to a lack of co-ordination, low blood pressure, a slow heart rate and slow breathing. Slurred speech and an inability to concentrate can also occur. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, sleeplessness and seizures. Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

3 Tobacco Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive and is absorbed into your bloodstream. Smoking has a very negative impact, especially on your lungs and makes a person more likely to get certain types of cancer. Elements such as carbon monoxide, tar and nicotine are found in cigarettes and can be very addictive. People find it very hard to quit smoking, as it has a very real and longlasting impact on the body. Smoking can lead to lung diseases and cancer, and in general lowers the functioning of your immune system, so your body can t fight off colds and other illnesses effectively. Smoking causes a rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, bad breath, yellow teeth and fingers and a risk of lung cancer and heart disease. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, anger, restlessness and insomnia. Cigarettes can only be sold to people over the age of 16, which means it is illegal to use until you have reached that age. No matter how cool your friends might think it is to smoke, it is not the right time to make the decision to smoke before the age of 16. It can have long term negative effects on your health and your life and is not a decision to take lightly. Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

4 Alcohol Alcohol has an impact on your central nervous system, mainly because it contains ethanol. This means that people get drunk from using alcohol, and can t function properly. They might fall over, speak in a slurred way or even become aggressive. The use of alcohol is illegal for people under the age of 18. It is only meant to be used by adults and then only in a responsible way. Your body cannot get rid of the ethanol in alcohol quickly enough when you drink too much. It can make you feel confused, affect how you walk and talk and can make you really ill. Too much alcohol in your system could lead to something called alcohol poisoning, which can lead to death. When trying to stop using alcohol, withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, seizures and even hallucinations. Illegal Drugs These include: marijuana (weed), ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and other substances which can cause great damage to your body and mind. Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

5 It is very dangerous to try drugs even once, because that is all it takes to get hooked. This means your body will want more of the drug and you will become addicted, because you will feel that you need it, in order to cope. These substances could also land you in serious trouble with the police. Cocaine This is a white powder that comes from the dried leaves of a plant. It is a stimulant, which means that it produces a fast and intense feeling of power and energy. When it wears off, the user feels depressed and nervous and wants more of the drug to feel better again. Cocaine is very addictive and a person can get hooked on it after only using it once. Snorting cocaine can damage the septum between the nostrils, causing a hole in the middle of the nose. It makes your heart beat very fast and even abnormally, so by using it even once, you stand a chance of having a heart attack or stroke and could even die. Ecstasy This is a stimulant drug that can cause hallucinations (seeing things that are not there), makes the user feel good and enables them to stay awake without any rest for long periods of time. Ecstasy increases the heart rate and can cause a dry mouth, clenched teeth, blurred vision, chills, sweating and nausea. It can make some users feel anxious, confused, and paranoid, like someone is trying to hurt them or is plotting against them. Ecstasy can cause damage to brain cells that are involved in thinking and memory. Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

6 If a person takes ecstasy, his or her body can dangerously overheat during dancing or other physical activities, which can lead to muscle breakdown, kidney, liver and heart damage, and even death. Taking the drug can cause seizures, brain swelling and permanent brain damage. The negatives far outweigh any positives the user might think he/she is getting. Inhalants Inhalants are substances that are sniffed or huffed to give the user an immediate rush, or high. They include glues, paint thinners, dry cleaning fluids, gasoline, felt-tip marker fluid, hair spray, deodorants and spray paint. Inhalants produce a quick feeling of being drunk, followed by sleepiness, staggering, dizziness, and confusion. Long-time users get headaches, nosebleeds, and sometimes lose their sense of smell. Inhalants decrease oxygen to the brain and can cause brain damage. Using an inhalant just once, can lead to life-threatening health problems, and can even cause death. Marijuana Marijuana (also known as weed) is one of the most widely used illegal drugs. It is made from the shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant (Cannibis sativa). It looks like green, brown, or grey dried parsley. Marijuana is a mind-altering drug. It makes it hard to keep track of time and to concentrate. Users have difficulty with their memory and find it hard to solve problems and learn. Marijuana raises the heart rate and blood pressure. Some people get red eyes or dry mouths or become sleepy or very hungry. The drug can also make some people paranoid (like someone is out to hurt them or is plotting against them). It can also sometimes cause hallucinations (seeing things which are not really there). Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

7 Marijuana is as tough on the lungs as cigarettes. Regular users suffer coughs, wheezing, frequent colds, and respiratory (airway and lung) infections, like bronchitis. Even though you might think that you can handle trying a drug once, getting addicted to a substance is not really a choice that you can make, it just happens and it happens quickly. The choice is whether to try it even once. If you get physically addicted to a drug, your body will crave it and keep telling you that it wants more. Emotional dependence on drugs can also occur. This means that you will have a certain feeling when using the drug and you will want that feeling more and more. This will prevent you from making good choices. Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

8 The Truth About Drugs Here are some of the thing well-known addicts had to say about being addicted to drugs: These quotes clearly convey the seriousness of addiction and how destructive it can be. Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

9 Version 1: June 2013 Copyright My Cyberwall

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