It’s National Drug Facts Week!
1. DEA Drug Information
You can’t predict the effect that a drug can have on you—especially if it’s the first time you try it, and even if it’s a small amount or dose. Everyone’s brain and body chemistry are different. Everyone’s tolerance for drugs is different.
Using drugs can lead to abuse, addiction, serious health problems, and even death.
Drugs that are legal—prescription and over-the counter (OTC) medications—can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs.
2. The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service provides a toll-free telephone number at 1.800.662.HELP (1.800.662.4357) for alcohol and drug information/treatment referral assistance.
3. Daily marijuana use increased significantly among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 2009 to 2010.
In 2010, more high school seniors used marijuana in the past 30 days (21.4 percent) than cigarettes (19.2 percent).
4.You can find information on substance abuse for teenagers on the NIDA for Teens website.
In 2010, cigarette smoking among 12th graders was at its lowest point in the history of NIDA’s MTF survey From 2002 to 2009, monthly cigarette use fell from 13.0% to 8.9% among 12 to 17 year-olds.
5. In 2010, nearly 1 in 12 high school seniors reported abusing Vicodin. In 2007, the number of overdose deaths from prescription pain medicines outnumbered those involving heroin and cocaine combined.
6. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides an online treatment facility locator where you can find a detox, rehabilitation, halfway house, clinic, or counseling center anywhere in the United States for both alcoholism and drug addiction.
8. According to the NIH, addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge a person’s self control and ability to resist intense impulses urging them to take drugs.
9.Drugs contain chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. There are at least two ways that drugs cause this disruption: (1) by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers and (2) by overstimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain.
10. Some drugs (e.g., marijuana and heroin) have a similar structure to chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain. This similarity allows the drugs to “fool” the brain’s receptors and activate nerve cells to send abnormal messages.
12 Other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, can cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) or to prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signaling between neurons. The result is a brain awash in dopamine, a neurotransmitter present in brain regions that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this reward system, which normally responds to natural behaviors linked to survival (eating, spending time with loved ones, etc.), produces euphoric effects in response to psychoactive drugs. This reaction sets in motion a reinforcing pattern that “teaches” people to repeat the rewarding behavior of abusing drugs.
13 .What are the physical signs of abuse or addiction?
The physical signs of abuse or addiction can vary depending on the person and the drug being abused. For example, someone who abuses marijuana may have a chronic cough or worsening of asthmatic symptoms. Each drug has short-term and long-term physical effects. Stimulants like cocaine increase heart rate and blood pressure, whereas opioids like heroin may slow the heart rate and reduce respiration.
For referrals to treatment programs, call 1-800-662-HELP, or visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration online athttp://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.