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Drugs & Alcohol

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This information is now available as a full-color trifold!

Drugs are dangerous to the people who use them, but people who use drugs don't only hurt themselves. The people around those who do drugs can be hurt in many different ways too. Saying "NO" to drugs is smart and helps to keep yourself and others safe.

There are all types of drugs and alcohol, but the main thing they have in common is that those who use them often get hooked on them and then it is very hard to stop, even when you really want to. That is what we call addiction, you may have heard of someone being addicted to something. You may have also heard of other familiar terms such as substance abuse, drug or alcohol abuse and drug addiction.

People often begin to use drugs or drink a lot of alcohol to avoid the things that bother them most. Some examples of the things people may want to avoid are: pressure from friends, stress in the family, hassles, the feeling that adults are on their case, or the lousy feeling of being different from everyone else in the world. People start to use drugs and alcohol to make themselves feel better. The problem with that is, drinking or using drugs only ends up making things worse. Alcohol and other drugs may make a person feel good for a short time when high, but when the high wears off, the person feels lousy and may even feel depressed. Once a person is addicted, all they begin to care about is getting high, and once the high wears off, they need to take more just to feel normal again. That is the problem with addiction, it means it becomes very hard to stop drinking or doing drugs. An addicted person feels like they need drugs or alcohol and may feel sick if they do not have any. Drugs or alcohol become all that the addicted person can think about and they may lie, steal or commit other crimes to get more. Some kids who do drugs end up dropping out of school and many older kids and adults may stop going to work. They may stop caring about everything except drugs after a while. Even the family and friends that they used to care about won't be important. They may become very hard to live with and to be friends with and may not want to be involved in any of the things that they used to think were fun.

As you can see, when drugs and alcohol are taken often, they can change the people who use them in all kinds of ways. Eventually, even the person's body doesn't work the same (especially the brain, lungs & liver) and they could end up with physical problems. Drugs change how people act and they change the way people feel. Someone on drugs can have all sorts of mood swings from happy to angry, upset, sad, scared, excited, tired or paranoid.

Drugs and alcohol can limit a person's ability to make good choices. People addicted to drugs or alcohol may say things that they don't really mean and do things that they normally wouldn't do. They may also lose touch with reality and think that things are better or worse than they really are. That is why there are laws that either limit or ban the use of certain drugs. Laws about drugs are to try to keep everyone safe. Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, tobacco and alcohol can cause addiction, but they are not against the law for adults over a certain age to use. Not all adults use alcohol or tobacco products in a responsible way, but most do, so they are not against the law. Most people feel that adults understand what addiction is and that they are capable of avoiding it, but this is not true with all adults, everyone is human and can make mistakes by becoming addicted to things. Drugs that are given to people with a prescription by a pharmacy can cause addiction, but most patients use their prescription drugs in a responsible way. It is the illegal drugs on the street and at parties that seem to worry everyone. These items are easy to become addicted to and usually lead to crimes being committed, so they are against the law for both children and adults. Not everyone listens to the laws. Some people still smoke wherever they want, drink or use drugs. The worst part about it is all of the innocent people who are injured or killed by those who choose to disobey the laws.

Many accidents are caused by those who decide to drink or do drugs and drive cars, boats, ships, planes or trains. Many crimes are committed by those who are on drugs and are not thinking clearly.
Sometimes things may not even seem that harmful on the surface to the person who is offending someone else by smoking in public places. Tobacco smoke can make other people sick, especially if they have asthma or allergies. Throats may burn, eyes can get red and it just makes the air unclean. Smoke can also cause serious medical problems such as cancer, heart disease, emphysema and bronchitis.

Pregnant women who use drugs harm the unborn babies inside them. Drugs make it hard for an unborn baby to grow the right way. Once they are born, these babies may need to stay in the hospital for a long time because they are usually born addicted to the same drugs that their mother was taking. The babies may also have other health problems that are caused by the drugs that did not allow their bodies to grow the right way in the first place.

Now do you see why it is smart to say "NO" to drugs and alcohol? Please encourage others you know to do the same! The smartest thing you can do is to never start doing drugs because it is so hard on you and the people who care about you when you try to quit. Your brain may know that drugs and alcohol are bad for you, but once addicted your body feels like it cannot do without it! If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs or alcohol you should talk with someone who can assist in finding the help you need in your local area. The best people to talk to might be a counselor, teacher, doctor, nurse, parent or someone from your church or synagogue. But in order to get better you or the person you know who is addicted has to admit there is a problem and make an effort to find the right kind of help.

If you wish to find more information, visit the alcohol section at Drugs resources - directory of Drug related websites. Or you may wish to access the Alcohol Abuse Directory - A one stop resource for all your alcohol abuse concerns

Need this information in print? Doctor P. Body's Health Education section has a sample. A full color tri-fold is now available for purchase. This information has come in handy for schools during Red Ribbon Week.

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