Smoking - Adictive & Adictions
Adictive & Adictions
"Come on, let's get high."
"A little bit won't hurt you."
"Addicted You won't get hooked if you just try it once!"
Sound like something you've heard Maybe you've even been tempted yourself. But no matter what anyone says, illegal drugs are harmful - and often deadly. Read on to learn more about drugs.
What Are Drugs
Drugs are chemicals that change the way our bodies work. If you've ever been sick and had to take medicine, you already know some kinds of drugs. A medicine is a drug that a doctor gives people who are sick, but even medicines can be dangerous if they're not taken according to a doctor's instructions.
Cigarettes and alcohol are also drugs, but they are legal. (In the United States, adults 18 and over can buy cigarettes and those 21 and over can buy alcohol.) But smoking and excessive drinking are bad for adults and totally off limits for kids. Other kinds of drugs are dangerous all the time. These are drugs that aren't given by doctors. Most of them are illegal and include substances like ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and heroin.
Why Do Kids Use Drugs
Kids may take drugs for many reasons. They may see older kids using them and want to be more like them. They may try drugs because they're curious. Others may feel sad, scared, or bored. They may think drugs can help them forget their problems. Many kids just want to fit in with their friends. They may think drugs will make them cool. Lots of kids say they use drugs to get their parents' attention.
The truth is, drugs don't solve problems. Drugs just hide feelings. When a drug wears off, those feelings of being sad or lonely are still there. And you just feel worse.
Why Are Drugs Bad for You
Anything you take too much of - even cough medicine or soda - can be bad for your body. And even small amounts of drugs kill your brain cells. Unlike your hair or fingernails, once a brain cell dies, it never grows back.
Drugs also interfere with your ability to think clearly. people can do really dumb or dangerous things that could hurt them - or other people - when they use drugs. Keeping up with school becomes even harder for kids on drugs. Drugs can also prevent your body from growing properly and can make you look sick all the time.
Some drugs make kids angry when they use them. These kids get into fights with their parents, teachers, and friends. And using drugs even one time may be all it takes to permanently damage your body - or kill you. One hit of crack or cocaine can give you (yes, even a kid!) a heart attack and kill you. Sniff glue or some other inhalant just once and you could go blind. You'd never be able to see again - forever.
Kids who use drugs may become dependent on them, or addicted. They have become so used to a drug that their bodies need it to function. Once you have an addiction, it's very hard to stop taking drugs. Stopping drug use brings on withdrawal symptoms - vomiting (throwing up), sweating, tremors (shaking), even hallucinations (say: ha-loo-sin-ay-shunz) - which continue until the body gets used to being without the drug. Hallucinations are when a person thinks she hears or sees things that in reality aren't there.
How Can I Tell if My Friend Is Using Drugs
Here are some of the more common warning signs of someone who is using drugs:
- stops showing interest in school
- suddenly changes friends (hangs out with kids who use drugs)
- becomes negative, cranky, or worried all the time
- doesn't want to go out anymore or play
- asks to be left alone a lot
- is always tired (maybe even sleeps in class)
- has many accidents
- becomes involved in a lot of fights
- changes moods a lot
- has sudden changes in appearance (red or puffy eyes, weight changes, lots of headaches or stomachaches, shaking, coughing that won't quit, brown stains on fingertips, stumbling, or a constant runny nose)
- loses interest in hobbies or sports
- has poor judgment
- can't concentrate
Of course, someone you know - like maybe a good friend - can have some of the above signs and not be using drugs. These signs could be from some other physical or emotional problem that's upsetting him or her.