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Drug Use

Drug Myths and Facts

Myth: You can stop using drugs at any time.
Fact: Withdrawal sickness, believing you must have drugs, and being around people who use can make stopping drug use difficult. But there are people and programs that can help.

Myth: You have to use drugs for a long time before they really hurt you.
Fact: Drugs can cause the brain to send the wrong signals to the body. This can make a person stop breathing, have a heart attack, or go into a coma. This can happen the first time a drug is used.

Myth: Teenagers are too young to get addicted.
Fact: Addiction can happen at any age. Even unborn babies can get addicted because of their mother's drug use.

Myth: If you smoked pot on the weekend, you'd be fine on Monday.
Fact: The effects of pot (marijuana) can last for up to three days. It decreases memory, reflexes, and coordination.

Myth: Pot isn't as bad for you as cigarettes.
Fact: Marijuana smoke has more cancer-causing chemicals in it than tobacco.

Myth: As soon as a person feels normal, the entire drug is out of the body.
Fact: Long after the effects of the drug stop being felt, the drug can still be in the body. For example, cocaine can be found in the body up to one week and marijuana up to four weeks after a single use.

Myth: Drugs relieve stress. They help people deal with problems.
Fact: Drugs can only make people forget and not care about their troubles. When the drug wears off, the problems are still there.

Myth: Sniffing glue gives an instant rush. There isn't time for it to hurt you.
Fact: Inhalants enter the blood and go through the body in seconds. Sniffing large amounts can cause a heart attack or death from suffocation because inhalants replace oxygen in the lungs. 

How drugs can hurt you

  • Drugs can make you sick or damage your body and brain. They can even kill you.
  • Using drugs can make it hard to learn and remember things. School or work may seem harder.  You can even get more colds and the flu.  
  • Many drugs can change your moods and make you feel unhappy. More than half of all teen suicides are drug-related. 
  • Drugs can make you lose coordination and not think clearly. In most fatal auto crashed involving people under 25, the driver was under the influence of drugs.

(Reference: "Drug Facts," ETR Associates, www.etr.org, 1990)

Drugs: What is it? What can happen to your body?

Drug description

At first?

Over time?

Adderall - a prescription medication for ADHD and narcolepsy. It is an amphetamine and a dextroamphetamine, which are both stimulants.
  • Heart beats faster
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Become more alert
  • May increase attention
  • May increase energy
  • Feel dizzy and shaky
  • Can't sit still or sleep
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dangerously high body temperatures
  • Cardiovascular failure
  • Seizures
Cocaine/Crack - a chemical from the leaves of the coca plant. It speeds up the brain and body.
  • Heart beats faster, blood pressure rises
  • Body temperature rises, breathe faster
  • Can't sit still or sleep
  • Become more alert
  • Permanent lung damage
  • Holes and ulcers inside of your nose
  • Personality changes and violent behavior
  • Fear of people and things (paranoia)- See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
Depressants - a chemical used to treat mental illness. They depress or slow down the nervous system.
  • Feel calm and sleepy
  • Get confused and can't concentrate
  • Muscles relax
  • Speech gets slurred
  • Become clumsy and stagger
  • Chest infections
  • See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
  • Deadly when used with alcohol
Heroin - one of the groups of chemicals called narcotics. They come from opium poppy and are used as painkillers.
  • Heart beats slower
  • Breathe slower
  • Pupils shrink and eyes water
  • Skin on face, neck, and chest turns red
  • Feel sick to your stomach and vomit
  • Lung damage
  • Lowers sex drive
  • Disrupts menstrual periods
  • Constipation
Inhalants - chemicals that give off fumes that act on the brain.
  • Feel dizzy. Get bad headaches
  • Speech gets slurred
  • Sneeze, cough, and get bloody noses
  • Feel sick to your stomach
  • Urinate and defecate without control
  • Permanent brain, lung, and kidney damage
  • Tired feeling
  • Weak muscles
  • Skin turns blue
  • Deadly when used with alcohol or depressants
LSD - a chemical so strong that a single flake can cause actions similar to mental illness.
  • Heart beats faster.
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Body temperature rises
  • Feel cold, shiver, get chills
  • Can't see or hear well
  • Get confused and panic
  • Permanent mental problems
  • See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
  • Severe depression
  • Suicide
  • Flashbacks
Marijuana - a plant called cannabis. It affects the nervous system and has been used to make rope, cloth, and paint.
  • Feel calm, relaxed, and sleepy
  • Heart beats faster
  • Reaction time slows down
  • Throat, mouth, and lips get dry
  • Eyes get bloodshot
  • Eyesight blurs
  • Lose sense of time
  • Lung damage and lung cancer
  • Can't remember things
  • Lower ability to fight off colds and the flu
  • Lower sperm count and movement
  • Disrupts menstrual periods and ovulation
PCP - a chemical used as an animal tranquilizer.
  • Heart beats faster
  • Eyesight blurs
  • See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
  • Speech gets slurred or stopped
  • Body movements, sense of time slow down
  • Permanent brain, heart, and lung damage
  • Permanent speech problems
  • Fear of people and things
  • Can't remember things
  • Flashbacks
Steroids - copies of the male sex hormone, testosterone.
  • Get acne
  • Lose hair
  • Mood changes quickly to violence or depression
  • Increased injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Lower sex drive
  • Heart attacks
  • Liver cancer
  • Stop growing taller
  • Testicles shrink.  Can't get erections. Become sterile.
  • Disrupts menstrual periods and ovulation
Stimulants - chemicals that stimulate or speed up the brain and nervous system.
  • Heart beats faster.  Blood pressure rises
  • Become more alert
  • Feel dizzy and shaky
  • Can't sit still or sleep
  • Breath smells bad. Dry mouth and lips
  • Permanent brain, heart, and lung damage
  • See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
  • Mood changes quickly
  • Severe depression
  • Lose weight