These are the facts about three drugs commonly abused.
Many common household products contain chemicals that, when inhaled, produce
a drunken-like state. According to a recent HHS survey, approximately one
out of five eighth-graders reported using inhalants to get high at least
once in their lives.
Most inhalants are extremely toxic to the body's organs. Inhalant use may
cause neural damage - leading to the loss of reasoning ability as well psychological
and social problems. Significant damage to the liver and kidneys may also
occur. Some inhalants may cause sudden death due to heartbeat irregularities.
Users of inhalants may have a sense of lightheadedness and experience vivid
fantasies. Long-term users often lose weight have nosebleeds, mouth sores,
and are irritable or depressed. Nausea, vomiting and extreme salivation
are common side effects. The table below fists common household products
that are used as inhalants.
Recent surveys by HHS show that tobacco use among eighth graders has increased
34 percent since 1991, despite the fact that the health consequences of
tobacco use are well-documented.
Teen tobacco users risk addiction, which can lead to heart disease, lung
cancer, emphysema, and cancers of the mouth, just to name a few of tobacco's
Research shows that young people may not understand these long-term health
effects. If the health message doesn't register with teens you know, you
may also point out that tobacco decreases their stamma, stains their teeth,
wrinkles their skin, and gives them bad breath.
If you know children or teens who smoke cigarettes to demonstrate their
independence, point out that tobacco's active ingredient - nicotine - is
a highly addictive substance. Smokers may continue using tobacco even if
they know its dangers. Instead of being "independent" they are
slaves to a dirty, unhealthy habit.
Marijuana is smoked as cigarettes, in pipes, or baked into food. The main
active ingredient in marijuana, from the hemp plant, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol
Marijuana leaves the body slowly. The effects of smoking a cigarette last
for hours, so someone who smokes at night may still be under the drug's
influence the following morning.
There are some tell-tale signs of marijuana use. Someone who has smoked
a single marijuana cigarette may be in a talkative, outgoing mood and have
food cravings. This is often followed by a period of sleepiness. Users often
show signs of paranoia. Marijuana also impairs coordination, concentration,
and short-term memory.
Heavy users may smoke several marijuana cigarettes a day. High doses can
produce hallucinations. Long-term use may lead to a lack of energy, motivation,
and impairment of memory. These effects may linger even after the user stops
using the drug.
In recent studies, scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles,
have found that daily inhalation of one to three marijuana cigarettes appears
to produce approximately the same lung and cancer risks as smoking five
times as many tobacco cigarettes. As with tobacco, lung damage and the risk
of cancer are significant hazards of marijuana use.
Key Message About Drugs
It is important to convey clear and consistent messages about drugs and
drug abuse. Here are the five key points to this program:
Drugs are dangerous and unhealthy. They harm your body and can ruin
your life. Young people should not use them.
Not everyone uses drugs. In fact, most young Americans do not use
Drugs can harm your entire body. A drug that changes how you feel
- by causing a reaction in the brain - can also produce other effects (often
harmful) on other parts of the body.
The more you take drugs, the more you harm yourself. The harmful
effects of drugs increase when drugs are taken repeatedly.
Do something positive instead of taking drugs. There are ways to
enjoy yourself that make your life better, not worse.