What Are drugs?
DRUG – Any substance besides food that changes the way your mind and body work.
What substances are considered drugs, where they’re found and what they do:
- What is it? Alcohol is a depressant drug. It is commonly found in beer and wine. Rum, Vodka, Scotch and Whiskey are some examples of hard liquors that contain alcohol.
- What does it do to your body? Alcohol is absorbed directly into the blood stream. It can cause loss of balance, increase in violence, and inability to learn/remember. Also, alcohol changes your personally, creates trouble with other people, slurred speech, and vomiting. People become addicted to the good feeling they get from drinking alcohol, but the good feeling does not last and is eventually replaced by bad feelings, negative emotions and can often lead to violence. Also, it stops people’s bodies from functioning properly.
- What is it? Marijuana is a drug that comes from a plant. Also called grass or pot, it is made of dried leaves and flowering tops of plants. It’s most often smoked in hand-made cigarettes called joints, though some people cook with it and brew it in tea. Many scientists classify Marijuana as a Hallucinogenic, which disrupts the ways the brain controls the senses.
- What does it do to your body? Marijuana disrupts the way the brain controls thoughts and emotions. Marijuana use can change people’s moods, making them nervous or easily upset.
- Repeated use leads to tolerance, which means that people need more of the drug to get the same effect. The regular use of Marijuana can also lead to dependence, meaning that people need the drug to feel normal. Long-term use can cause people to lose all interest in everyday activities. Also, long-term use damages the cells of the brain and nervous system. Smoking Marijuana causes lung cancer and may lead to heart disease. Marijuana also destroys the body’s white blood cells. These cells help fight infections, so it is likely that Marijuana users will get sick more often than other people.
- Today, Marijuana is the most popular drug used in America. Over 65 million people in the US use Marijuana. Smoking a single Marijuana cigarette is equal to smoking 5 cigarettes made with tobacco. Also Marijuana smoke contains over 400 chemicals that can stay in your body for months.
- What Is It? Caffeine is a substance that can be found in many different things such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, chocolate, some soft drinks (like Coke, Mountain Dew, Jolt, and Pepsi), and iced tea. Caffeine is known medically as trimethylxanthine (C8H10N4O2). It is used in hospitals as a cardiac stimulant and also as a mild diuretic (it increases urine production). It is commonly used by people, to provide a “boost of energy” or a feeling of heightened alertness and to stay awake longer. Many people feel as though they “cannot function” in the morning without a cup of coffee to provide caffeine and the boost it gives them.
- Where does it come from? Caffeine occurs naturally in many plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves and cocoa nuts. It is therefore found in a wide range of food products. Caffeine is added artificially to many others, including a variety of beverages.
- What Does It Do To Your Body? Caffeine is an addictive drug. Among its many actions, it operates using the same mechanisms that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin use to stimulate the brain. On a spectrum, caffeine’s effects are more mild than amphetamines, cocaine and heroin, but it is manipulating the same channels, and that is one of the things that give caffeine its addictive qualities. If you feel like you cannot function without it and must consume it every day, then you are addicted to caffeine.
- Negative, short term effects of having caffeine include: your body is given a message of emergency and produces adrenaline – giving you a lift, fatigue and depression after a momentary “high,” difficulty sleeping, as a result of increased adrenaline – you may get jumpy or irritable, being confused, you might be unconscious for a few minutes, thirst, high fever, difficulty breathing, stomach problems, increased heartbeat rate, severe headaches.
- Long term effects include: one of the leading causes of kidney-related illness, heart problems, ulcers and gastric problems, migraine problems, insomnia, some people get very shaky and lose control of their nervous system, and in extreme cases, people could die.
- What is it? It’s the most likely used illegal stimulant. It can be sniffed or snorted. It’s a white powder made from coca leaves. Cocaine can also be smoked in the form of “ crack” or “ rock.” It can also be injected. Cocaine base, or freebase, a smoked mixture made on the street, is the most toxic form of the drug.
- What Does it do to your Body? Cocaine causes heart attacks and increases violence. It raises your blood pressure and can numb your body. If sniffed every day, cocaine will cause painful sores and a runny nose. If you keep on using it, the drug will make a hole from nostril to nostril. Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant. AIDS or infections can occur when you inject cocaine into your body. Cocaine is toxic. People sometimes take this in order to deal with physical or emotional pain, but drugs isn’t a way out – it only makes the pain worse and people become addicted.
- What is it? Huffing is sniffing substances like paint, magic markers, white out, lighter fluid, hairspray, vegetable cooking spray, and, air fresheners. You use these objects in your everyday life. These everyday things are being abused be kids to get high and quick. They inhale them through their nose or mouth. Most kids who use these drugs don’t know the facts.
- What can it do to you? These drugs can cause you to have nose bleeds and sneezing. People who inhale too much say they fell as if their brain is falling out. Sniffing too much at once can cause death! Hundreds of people die because of inhalants. Sometimes the first time people try inhalants they die. They also depress the central nervous system. Inhalants are the most dangerous next to alcohol and tobacco. These are the most dangerous drugs. Every 1 in 5 students use inhalants.
- What is it? Tobacco is a deadly, gum-like substance. Some baseball players are bad role models because they chew it. Tobacco is an introduction drug meaning you start with it and it leads you to other drugs. If you wanted to know what it would be like to try it buy a pack of Big League Chew and put it in your mouth and imagine it tastes worse than Brussels sprouts.
- What does it do to your body? Smoking a cigar, pipe, or a cigarette which all contain tobacco you can get cancer of the lungs and become addicted. If you get addicted you can’t stop taking the drug without help from a drug-resistant gum or patch. Some people get cancer of the mouth. It becomes hard to breathe. Blood can get clogged because of the tar in cigars. Tobacco has nicotine, which can kill a human in less than an hour if injected into the blood-stream.
Wrap-Up: Questions to think about
- Why are drugs bad for us?
- What can I do if approached with drugs?
- Where can I get help, for myself or someone else?
- There are many places to go for help. Look on the internet, or talk to your school guidance counselor. Anything that you tell them will remain confidential.
Discussion: What makes a good friend?
It sounds corny but it’s true – Good friends don’t let friends do drugs. National studies show that the average age when a child first tries alcohol is 11; for marijuana, it’s 12. And many kids start becoming curious about these substances even sooner. Please, for your own sake, don’t try drugs!