It’s not a secret that drugs are everywhere, and easily accessible to teens who want them. It doesn’t matter where you live, what race or religion you are, how much money you have or don’t have…drugs don’t discriminate. As teens, you are faced with many stressors and many reasons why you might choose to try drugs. But you ought to be well informed before you make such an important decision. There is much to consider before you do something that could have detrimental consequences to your well-being.
Here are several potential problems and consequences of drug use:
- Many drugs are highly addictive, and some people can become addicted after minimal use. Genetics may play a role, too, so if you come from an addictive family, you are more likely to become addicted and should be mindful of this fact.
- While drugs and alcohol might temporarily alter your mood in positive ways, the long term effects of use on your mood can be devastating. For example, marijuana might temporarily ease your ADHD symptoms and allow you to focus or concentrate better for a while, it has been shown that ongoing use actually causes more trouble concentrating and issues with attention. Alcohol might make you feel happy when you’re drinking, but is actually a depressant, so it will only worsen your depression, not alleviate it.
- Drugs and alcohol cause physical harm to your body. Often, this damage is irreversible. Every single time you use, you are killing your brain cells, damaging your liver, stressing your heart, and plenty of other harmful things. Drugs can literally kill you.
- Some drugs lead to worse drugs. You’ve probably heard the term “gateway drugs”. For decades, our country has been fighting the war on marijuana for fear that it could be a gateway to heroin use. The reality is that opioids, such as prescription painkillers, are the real gateway to heroin.
- Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. The first governmental account of nationwide drug deaths shows roughly 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016. Be very careful to not become a statistic.
- You are putting yourself and others in dangerous situations whenever you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your judgement is impaired, and you are likely to make other poor decisions, such as driving drunk, having meaningless, dangerous or unprotected sex, having sex without consent, or even making deadly decisions with guns.
Obviously, it is best to not use drugs or alcohol. But, at the very least, be informed. Know what you’re doing before you do it. Consider why you might be contemplating trying drugs, and ask yourself if this is really the choice you want to make. If you do decide to do drugs or alcohol, and then find yourself in a situation where you need help, make sure you know whom to reach out to. If all else fails, call 1-800-662-HELP or go to https://www.samhsa.gov.