The Truth About Drugs

ALCOHOL

Alcohol depresses your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), lowers inhibitions1 and impairs judgment. Drinking large amounts can lead to a coma and even death. Mixing alcohol with medications or street drugs is extremely dangerous and can be fatal. Alcohol influences your brain and leads to a loss of coordination, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses and blackouts. Teenage bodies are still growing and alcohol has a greater impact on young people’s physical and mental well-being than on older people.

Short-term Effects:

Photo credit: istockphoto.com/Lisa Young
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/Lisa Young

Feeling of warmth, flushed skin, impaired judgment, lack of coordination, slurred speech, memory and comprehension loss. Heavy drinking usually results in a “hangover,” headache, nausea, anxiety, weakness, shakiness and sometimes vomiting.

Long-term Effects:

Tolerance to many of the unpleasant effects of alcohol and a resulting ability to drink more. This leads to a deteriorating physical condition that can include liver damage and increases the risk of heart disease. A pregnant woman may give birth to a baby with defects that affect the baby’s heart, brain and other major organs. A person can become dependent on alcohol. If someone suddenly stops drinking, withdrawal symptoms may set in. They range from jumpiness, sleeplessness, sweating and poor appetite to convulsions and sometimes death. Alcohol abuse can also lead to violence and conflicts in one’s personal relationships.

  1. 1. inhibitions: ideas or rules that tend to stop a person from doing something.

REFERENCES


  1. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2007 Annual Report
  2. “Drug Facts, Did You Know?” Drugs and the Environment, October 2004
  3. Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Fact Sheet.
  4. AlcoholScreening.org
  5. Office of National Drug Control Policy
  6. “New Initiative Harnesses Power of Teens, Parents to Stop Teen Drug Use,” Media Campaign, News Room, 29 January 2004
  7. Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, 3 October 2004
  8. “Help for Parents: Is Your Child Using Drugs? How to Find Out,” Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 12 October 2004
  9. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  10. UN Office of Drugs and Crime World Drug Report 2008
  11. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction Statistical Bulletin 2008
  12. “Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights—2006”
  13. “CDC Survey: As Many Teens Smoke Marijuana as Cigarettes, Cigarette Use Dropping Faster,” 5 June 2008