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Basic Facts About Commonly Abused Drugs

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People take drugs because they want to change something about their lives.

Here are some of the reasons young people have given for taking drugs:

They think drugs are a solution. But eventually, the drugs become theproblem.

Difficult as it may be to face ones problems, the consequences of drug use are always worse than the problem one is trying to solve with them. The real answer is to get the facts and not to take drugs in the first place.

Drugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines theeffect.

A small amount acts as a stimulant (speeds you up). A greater amount acts as a sedative (slows you down). An even larger amount poisons and can kill.

This is true of any drug. Only the amount needed to achieve the effectdiffers.

But many drugs have another liability: they directly affect the mind. They can distort the users perception of what is happening around him or her. As a result, the persons actions may be odd, irrational, inappropriate and evendestructive.

Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones with the unwanted. So, while providing short-term help in the relief of pain, they also wipe out ability and alertness and muddy onesthinking.

Medicines are drugs that are intended to speed up or slow down or change something about the way your body is working, to try to make it work better. Sometimes they are necessary. But they are still drugs: they act as stimulants or sedatives, and too much can kill you. So if you do not use medicines as they are supposed to be used, they can be as dangerous as illegal drugs.

Normally, when a person remembers something, the mind is very fast and information comes to him quickly. But drugs blur memory, causing blank spots. When a person tries to get information through this cloudy mess, he cant do it. Drugs make a person feel slow or stupid and cause him to have failures in life. And as he has more failures and life gets harder, he wants more drugs to help him deal with the problem.

One lie told about drugs is that they help a person become more creative. The truth is quite different.

Someone who is sad might use drugs to get a feeling of happiness, but it does not work. Drugs can lift a person into a fake kind of cheerfulness, but when the drug wears off, he or she crashes even lower than before. And each time, the emotional plunge is lower and lower. Eventually, drugs will completely destroy all the creativity a person has.

During the whole time I was on drugs I thought I had control over my life and that I had it great. But I destroyed everything I had built up and fought for in my life. I cut ties to all my drug-free friends and my family, so I hadnt any friends but my drug mates. Every day revolved around one thing: my plan for getting the money I needed for drugs. I would do everything possible to get my amphetamineit was the only thing in my life.Pat

I felt that I was more fun when I wasdrunk. Soon after [I started drinking] I was introduced to marijuana . . . . Later, I was hanging out at a friends house smokingmarijuanawhen someone pulled out a bag of e.Snorting equickly became a daily habit. I was stealing money from my parents business and from my grandparents on a daily basis to support my alcohol, e, marijuana andLSDhabits. Then I was introduced toOxyContinand began using it on a regular basis. By the time I realized I was addicted, snorting OxyContin was part of my daily routine. I needed something strongerand was introduced toheroin. I would stop at nothing to get high. My addiction was winning. And every time I tried to kick it, the physical craving would send me back for more.Edith

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2007 Annual Report

Drug Facts, Did You Know? Drugs and the Environment, October 2004

Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Fact Sheet.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

New Initiative Harnesses Power of Teens, Parents to Stop Teen Drug Use, Media Campaign, News Room, 29 January 2004

Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, 3 October 2004

Help for Parents: Is Your Child Using Drugs? How to Find Out,Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 12 October 2004

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

UN Office of Drugs and Crime World Drug Report 2008

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction Statistical Bulletin 2008

Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights2006

CDC Survey: As Many Teens Smoke Marijuana as Cigarettes, Cigarette Use Dropping Faster, 5 June 2008

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Basic Facts About Commonly Abused Drugs

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