What You Should Know About Drugs

  • Studies indicate that the use of drugs begins at about age 12 or 13, and many researchers have observed young teens moving from the illicit use of legal substances (such as tobacco, alcohol, and inhalants) to the use of illegal drugs (marijuana is usually first). US society’s 1992 economic cost of drug abuse was an estimated $97.7 billion ($246 billion if you include alcohol). NIDA NIH Publication No. 99-4212, April 1999, NIDA Department of Health and Human Services – NIHAU Publication 98-3478.
  • Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in America. After alcohol it tends to be the second most widely used illegal drug for those under age 21. It is fat-soluble and stays in the body for weeks. Other effects include impaired short term memory, reaction time, concentration, coordination, and motor skills; an altered sense of time; increased heart rate; dryness of the mouth; reddening of the eyes; frequent hunger; and increased desire for sweets. These effects last for at least 4-6 hours. IDEA 1998-1999 Prevention Guide.
  • Using inhalants even one time can put you at risk for sudden death, suffocation, visual hallucinations, severe mood swings, numbness, loss of consciousness, tingling of hands and feet, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and bone marrow. Chronic use of inhalants has been associated with brain, chromosome, and fetal damage. Danger: Right Under Your Nose, IL Dept of Human Services; IDEA 1998-1999 Prevention Guide.
  • Tobacco use causes approximately 1 of every 5 deaths in the US, and is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in our nation. Most smokers started using tobacco between the ages of 10 and 18. IDEA 1998 Red Ribbon Campaign.
  • 70 percent of people who try cocaine/crack will become addicted to it the first time they use it. Side effects include high blood pressure, seizures, irregular heartbeat, and heart attacks. IDEA 1998 Red Ribbon Campaign.
  • Methamphetamines , also called speed or ice, is quickly becoming a widely used drug. The signs of meth use are weight loss, irritability, excitability, paranoia, wandering attention, days of sleeplessness followed by 24-36 straight hours of sleep.IDEA 1998 Red Ribbon Campaign.
  • Rohypnol is 10 times stronger than Valium and is often called the “date-rape” pill. Alcohol enhances the drug’s intoxicating effect. The victim is left incapacitated, vulnerable to rape, and likely to suffer almost universal amnesia of events while under the influence. IDEA 1998 Red Ribbon Campaign.
  • The heroin that is available on the street today has an average purity of 40 to 60 percent per gram compared to about 7 percent a decade ago. Total drug-related emergency room episodes rose 8 percent between 1992 and 1993; 45 percent of this increase involved heroin episodes. IDEA 1998 Red Ribbon Campaign.
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