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TEEN CULTURE

Tips for Teens on Drugs, alcohol, and your friends

How Can I Tell If a Friend or a Loved One Has a Problem With Alcohol, Marijuana, or Other Illicit Drugs?

Sometimes it is tough to tell. Most people won't walk up to someone they're close to and ask for help. In fact, they will probably do everything possible to deny or hide the problem. But, there are certain warning signs that may indicate that a family member or friend is using drugs and drinking alcohol.

If your friend or loved one has one or more of the following signs, he or she may have a problem with drugs or alcohol:

getting high on drugs. drinking, getting drunk on a regular basis

lying about things, or the drugs or alcohol they are using

avoiding you and others in order to get high, drinking or drunk

giving up activities they used to do such as sports, homework, or hanging out with friends who don't use drugs or drink

having to use more marijuana or other illicit drugs to get the same effects

constantly talking about using drugs or drinking

believing that in order to have fun they need to drink or use marijuana or other drugs

pressuring others to use drugs or drink

getting into trouble with the law

taking risks, including sexual risks and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

feeling run-down, hopeless, depressed, or even suicidal

suspension from school for an alcohol- or drug-related incident

missing work or poor work performance because of drinking or drug use

Many of the signs, such as sudden changes in mood, difficulty in getting along with others, poor job or school performance, irritability, and depression, might be explained by other causes.

Unless you observe drug use or drinking, it can be hard to determine the cause of these problems. Your first step is to contact a qualified Muslim counselor, Imam or alcohol and drug professional in your area who can give you further advice.

How Can I Tell if I Have a Problem with Drugs or Alcohol?

Drug and alcohol problems can affect every one of us regardless of age, sex, race, marital status, place of residence, income level, or lifestyle.

You may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, if:

You can't predict whether or not you will use drugs or get drunk.

You believe that in order to have fun you need to drink and/or use drugs.

You turn to alcohol and/or drugs after a confrontation or argument, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings.

You drink more or use more drugs to get the same effect that you got with smaller amounts.

You drink and/or use drugs alone.

You remember how last night began, but not how it ended, so you're worried you may have a problem.

You have trouble at work or in school because of your drinking or drug use.

You make promises to yourself or others that you'll stop getting drunk or using drugs.

You feel alone, scared, miserable, and depressed.

If you have experienced any of the above problems, take heart, help is available.

How Can I Get Help?

You can get help for yourself or for a friend or loved one from a Muslim counselor, Imam, friend or family member. For additional help, you can check out national, State, and local organizations, treatment centers, referral centers, and hotlines throughout the country.

There are various kinds of treatment services and centers. For example, some may involve outpatient counseling, while others may be 3- to 5-week-long inpatient programs.

While you or your friend or loved one may be hesitant to seek help, know that treatment programs offer organized and structured services with individual, group, and family therapy for people with alcohol and drug abuse problems.

Research shows that when appropriate treatment is given, and when clients follow their prescribed program, treatment can work. By reducing alcohol and/or drug abuse, treatment reduces costs to society in terms of medical care, law enforcement, and crime. More importantly, treatment can help keep you and your loved ones together.

Remember, some people may go through treatment a number of times before they are in full recovery. Do not give up hope.


HERE ARE THE STRAIGHT FACTS...
About Marijuana


Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States and tends to be the first illegal drug teens use.

The physical effects of marijuana use, particularly on developing adolescents, can be acute.
Short-term effects of using marijuana:

sleepiness

difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory

reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such
as driving a car

increased heart rate

potential cardiac dangers for those with preexisting heart disease

bloodshot eyes

dry mouth and throat

decreased social inhibitions

paranoia, hallucinations

Long-term effects of using marijuana:

enhanced cancer risk

decrease in testosterone levels for men; also lower sperm counts and difficulty having children

increase in testosterone levels for women; also increased risk of infertility

diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure

psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect

Marijuana blocks the messages going to your brain and alters your perceptions and emotions, vision, hearing, and coordination.

A recent study of 1,023 trauma patients admitted to a shock trauma unit found that one-third had marijuana in their blood.


HERE ARE THE STRAIGHT FACTS...
About Cigarette Smoking


Although many people smoke because they believe cigarettes calm their nerves, smoking releases epinephrine, a hormone which creates physiological stress in the smoker, rather than relaxation.

The use of tobacco is addictive. Most users develop tolerance for nicotine and need greater amounts to produce a desired effect.

Smokers become physically and psychologically dependent and will suffer withdrawal symptoms including: changes in body temperature, heart rate, digestion, muscle tone, and appetite.

Psychological symptoms include: irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances, nervousness, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and cravings for tobacco that can last days, weeks, months, years, or an entire lifetime.

Risks associated with smoking cigarettes:

diminished or extinguished sense of smell and taste

frequent colds

smoker's cough

gastric ulcers

chronic bronchitis

increase in heart rate and blood pressure

premature and more abundant face wrinkles

emphysema

heart disease

stroke

cancer of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, lungs, pancreas, cervix, uterus, and bladder

Cigarette smoking is perhaps the most devastating preventable cause of disease and premature death.

Smoking is particularly dangerous for teens because their bodies are still developing and changing and the 4,000 chemicals (including 200 known poisons) in cigarette smoke can adversely affect this process.

Cigarettes are highly addictive. One-third of young people who are just "experimenting" end up being addicted by the time they are 20.


HERE ARE THE STRAIGHT FACTS...
About Alcohol


Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that results in health consequences, social, problems, or both.

However, alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, refers to a disease that is characterized by abnormal alcohol-seeking behavior that leads to impaired control over drinking.

Short-term effects of alcohol use include:

distorted vision, hearing, and coordination

altered perceptions and emotions

impaired judgment

bad breath; hangovers

Long-term effects of heavy alcohol use include:

loss of appetite

vitamin deficiencies

stomach ailments

skin problems

sexual impotence

liver damage

heart and central nervous system damage

memory loss

How Do I Know If I, or Someone Close, Has a Drinking Problem?

Here are some quick clues:

Inability to control drinking--it seems that regardless of what you decide
beforehand, you frequently wind up drunk

Using alcohol to escape problems

A change in personality--turning from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde

A high tolerance level-being able to consume much more alcohol than everyone else

Blackouts--sometimes not remembering what happened while drinking

Problems at work or in school as a result of drinking

Concern shown by family and friends about drinking

If you have a drinking problem, or if you suspect you have a drinking problem, there are many others out there like you, and there is help available. Talk to school a parent or a trusted Muslim counselor, Imam or friend.


HERE ARE THE STRAIGHT FACTS...
About Methamphetamine


Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug chemically related to amphetamine but with stronger effects on the central nervous system. Street names for the drug include "speed," "meth," and "crank."

Methamphetamine is used in pill form, or in powdered form by snorting or injecting. Crystallized methamphetamine known as "ice," "crystal," or "glass," is a smokable and more powerful form of the drug.

The effects of methamphetamine use include:

increased heart rate and blood pressure

increased wakefulness; insomnia

increased physical activity

decreased appetite

respiratory problems

extreme anorexia

hyperthermia, convulsions, and cardiovascular problems, which can lead to death

euphoria

irritability, confusion, tremors

anxiety, paranoia, or violent behavior

can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes

Methamphetamine users who inject the drug and share needles are at risk for acquiring HIV/AIDS.

Methamphetamine is an increasingly popular drug at raves (all night dancing parties), and as part of a number of drugs used by college-aged students.

Marijuana and alcohol are commonly listed as additional drugs of abuse among methamphetamine treatment admissions.

Most of the methamphetamine-related deaths (92%) reported in 1994 involved methamphetamine in combination with at least one other drug, most often alcohol (30%), heroin (23%), or cocaine (21%). Researchers continue to study the long-term effects of methamphetamine use.

HERE ARE THE STRAIGHT FACTS...
About Cocaine and Crack Cocaine


Cocaine is a white powder that comes from the leaves of the South American coca plant. Cocaine is either "snorted" through the nasal passages or injected intravenously.

Cocaine belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants, which tend to give a temporary illusion of limitless power and energy that leave the user feeling depressed, edgy, and craving more.

Crack is a smokable form of cocaine that has been chemically altered.

Cocaine and crack are highly addictive. This addiction can erode physical and mental health and can become so strong that these drugs dominate all aspects of an addict's life.

Physical risks associated with using cocaine and crack:

increases in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature

heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory failure

hepatitis or AIDS through shared needles

brain seizures

reduction of the body's ability to resist and combat infection

Psychological risks:

violent, erratic, or paranoid behavior

hallucinations and "coke bugs"--a sensation of imaginary insects crawling over the skin

confusion, anxiety and depression, loss of interest in food or sex

"cocaine psychosis"--losing touch with reality, loss of interest in friends, family, sports, hobbies, and other activities

Some users spend hundred or thousands of dollars on cocaine and crack each week and will do anything to support their habit.

Many turn to drug selling, prostitution, or other crimes.

Cocaine and crack use has been a contributing factor in a number of drownings, car crashes, falls, burns, and suicides.

Cocaine and crack addicts often become unable to function sexually.

Even first time users may experience seizures or heart attacks, which can be fatal.


HERE ARE THE STRAIGHT FACTS...
About Hallucinogens


Hallucinogenic drugs are substances that distort the perception of objective reality.

The most well-known hallucinogens include phencyclidine, otherwise known as PCP, angel dust, or loveboat; lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly known as LSD or acid; mescaline and peyote; and psilocybin, or "magic" mushrooms.

Under the influence of hallucinogens, the senses of direction, distance, and time become disoriented.

These drugs can produce unpredictable, erratic, and violent behavior in users that sometimes leads to serious injuries and death. The effect of hallucinogens can last for 12 hours.

LSD produces tolerance, so that users who take the drug repeatedly must take higher and higher doses in order to achieve the same state of intoxication.

This is extremely dangerous, given the unpredictability of the drug, and can result in increased risk of convulsions, coma, heart and lung failure, and even death.

Physical risks associated with using hallucinogens:

increased heart rate and blood pressure

sleeplessness and tremors

lack of muscular coordination

sparse, mangled, and incoherent speech

decreased awareness of touch and pain that can result in self-inflicted injuries
convulsions

coma; heart and lung failure

Psychological risks associated with using hallucinogens:

a sense of distance and estrangement

depression, anxiety, and paranoia

violent behavior

confusion, suspicion, and loss of control

flashbacks

behavior similar to schizophrenic psychosis

catatonic syndrome whereby the user becomes mute, lethargic, disoriented, and makes meaningless repetitive movements

Everyone reacts differently to hallucinogens--there's no way to predict if you can avoid a "bad trip."

HERE ARE THE STRAIGHT FACTS...
About Inhalants


Inhalants refer to substances that are sniffed or huffed to give the user an immediate head rush or high.

They include a diverse group of chemicals that are found in consumer products such as aerosols and cleaning solvents. Inhalant use can cause a number of physical and emotional problems, and even one-time use can result in death.

Using inhalants even one time can put you at risk for:

sudden death

suffocation

visual hallucinations and severe mood swings

numbness and tingling of the hands and feet

Prolonged use can result in:

headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain

decrease or loss of sense of smell

nausea and nosebleeds

hepatitis

violent behaviors

irregular heartbeat

liver, lung, and kidney impairment

irreversible brain damage

nervous system damage

dangerous chemical imbalances in the body

involuntary passing of urine and feces

Short-term effects of inhalants include:

heart palpitations

breathing difficulty

dizziness

headaches

Remember, using inhalants, even one time, can kill you. According to medical experts, death can occur in at least five ways:

1. asphyxia--solvent gases can significantly limit available oxygen in the air, causing breathing to stop;

2. suffocation--typically seen with inhalant users who use bags;

3. choking on vomit;

4. careless behaviors in potentially dangerous settings; and

5. sudden sniffing death syndrome, presumably from cardiac arrest.


Messages for Teenagers

* Know the law. All of the above-mentioned and many other substances are forbidden by Islam. They are also illegal in the United States. Apart from the fact that you are accountable to Allah for what you do and could very well be punished in this life and the next for using drugs and alcohol, you could also face legal penalties according to United States law: depending on where you are caught, you could face high fines and jail time.


* Be aware of the risks. Drinking or using drugs increases the risk of injury. Car crashes, falls, burns, drowning, and suicide are all linked to drug use.


* Keep your edge. Drug use can ruin your looks, make you depressed, and contribute to slipping grades.


* Play it safe. One incident of drug use could make you do something that you will regret for a lifetime.


* Do the smart thing. Using drugs puts your health, education, family ties, and social life at risk.


* Get with the program. Doing drugs isn't "in".


* Think twice about what you're advertising when you buy and wear T-shirts, hats, pins, or jewelry with a pot leaf, joint, blunt, beer can, or other drug paraphernalia on them. Do you want to promote something that can cause cancer? make you forget things? or make it difficult to drive a car?


* Face your problems. Using drugs won't help you escape your problems, it will only create more.


* Be a real friend. If you know someone with a drug problem, be part of the solution. Urge your friend to get help.


* Remember, you DON'T NEED drugs or alcohol. If you think "everybody's doing it," you're wrong! Over 86% of 12-17 year-olds have never tried marijuana; over 98% have never used cocaine; only about half a percent of them have ever used crack. Doing drugs won't make you happy or popular or help you to learn the skills you need as you grow up. In fact, doing drugs can cause you to fail at all of these things.

Statistics on Teens in America
PBS Documentary: The Truth Behind Teen Culture
Facts on Youth Smoking, Health, and Performance
Some Tips to help you Communicate with your teen and others
Tips for Teens on Drugs, alcohol, and your friends
How parents can help kids make friends but resist negative peer pressure
[Discuss: Parent to Parent].........[Teen to Teen]



Your Comments

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The Truth, Indy - wrote on 11/2/2010 9:27:37 PM
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Comment: I like how a lot of these facts were simply rumors and old debunked myths about drugs. If you honestly want kids to be smart about drug usage you are going to need to stop lying to them. I'd like to see scientific research resources backing up all of these claims if they are true.


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tony, england - wrote on 8/21/2005 8:11:57 PM
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Comment: Good info. For Elizabeth, if you have been arrested it is your right to know what you have been charged with for Constitutional reasons and to be fully able to present a defense, should the need arise, you and your representatives should by law know the date to attend court. If either is being/has been with-held it is most probable scare tactics are being used. This is, of course a form of dishonesty.


Jazmine, chitown - wrote on 4/17/2005 7:56:13 PM
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Comment: This is a great article. I was checking it out for school research and found many things that where new to me about drugs. I didn't now all the effect of certain drugs and it amazed me once i did.


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