Any medication whether prescription or over the counter, when taken in amounts above the recommended dosage or that are taken for the purposes of getting “high” can be considered illegal and dangerous. Alcohol and tobacco are also considered “drugs”. At some point you may have to decide whether or not to try them. Drugs are chemicals that are taken into the body. They change your moods and sensations and harm your body. They affect your body’s immune system and its ability to fight disease. Most drugs act directly on the brain. They may cause mental disturbances, which reduce your overall ability to function. You can become dependent on drugs. You are physically addicted when your body gets so used to taking it that it craves more. You feel sick and miserable without it. If you use drugs as a crutch, you are psychologically addicted to them. Users need drugs to get them through the day.

Alcohol (back to top)

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug. It is a depressant. It can cause slowed reactions and slurred speech. It makes you do foolish things. When you drink more alcohol than your body can handle, your body tries to get rid of it by vomiting. Alcohol can cause a hangover, which is usually a headache and fatigue. The only cure for a hangover is time. If you drink a six-pack in an hour, it could take your body six hours to become completely sober. Games that involve “chugging”-drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time can kill you. You can become addicted to alcohol if you drink too often. Some people become dependent on alcohol-even if they drink small amounts. If there is an alcoholic in your family you are at special risk.

Tobacco (back to top)

Tobacco contains nicotine, one of the hardest substances to quit using. Smoking causes lung disease, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. Your smoking not only hurts you, but it also harms the people around you who breathe in your smoke. Chewing tobacco and snuff causes bad breath, bad teeth, and cancer of the mouth.

Other Drugs (back to top)

Marijuana (“Pot, Weed, Grass”) is by far, the world’s most commonly used illicit drug and far more dangerous than most people realize. Even in small amounts, marijuana can harm your body.

Cocaine and Methamphetamine are two of the hardest habits to “kick”. It is so addictive that every time you use it, you need more to get the same “high”. Cocaine and Methamphetamine in any form can cause seizures, strokes, heart attacks, lung damage and death-no matter what the age of the user. Crack is the most dangerous form of cocaine. Users become addicted the first time they use it and it causes violent and erratic behavior. Other dangerous drugs include heroin, PCP, and LSD. Mixing alcohol with narcotics, tranquilizers, barbiturates, antihistamines or other chemical substances can be lethal.

Side Effects Of Drug Use (back to top)

• Reduces learning ability

• Impairs memory, concentration and judgment

• Affects motor skills and can cause a decline in driving skills

• Causes a strong dependence

• Causes brain changes similar to those in old people when used
  over a period of time

• Alters your mood so you feel anxious and fearful

• Interferes with your ability to get along with others

Signs of Substance Abuse (back to top)

You may not recognize that you or someone you know is a substance abuser. Here are some signs to look for:

• Hallucinations or seizure

• Confusion, anxiety, and depression

• Violent, erratic or paranoid behavior

• Blaming other people for things that happen in your life

• Poor school attendance

• Loss of interest in food, friends, family, sports, hobbies, school
  and other activities

• Losing touch with reality

• Dependent on other people (do others make excuses for your
  actions or cover up for you?)

• Stealing money from your family or friends in order to buy drugs

• Denial; addicts cannot admit that they depend on drugs; they can’t
  see what their behavior is doing to other people

• Coke/Meth bugs- the imaginary sensation of insects crawling on
   the skin.

If you need help, talk to your parents, your counselor, your school nurse, religious leader, or any adult that you can trust. There are also agencies to assist you. Listed below are a few of these agencies:

Alcohol/Substance Abuse Services
Alcohol/Substance Abuse Services' Website

Alcoholics Anonymous

Georgia Drug Abuse Helpline

ICM-City of Hope

Mothers against Meth
Mothers against Meth's Website

McIntosh Trail CSB

Midway Recovery

National Drug Hotline

Pathways' Website

Surrender to Live
Surrender to Live's Website

Teen Challenge

Tomorrows Woman
Tomorrows Woman's Website

Women of Excellence