Addictions

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use

There are many signs, both physical and behavioral, that indicate drug use. Each drug has its own unique manifestations but there are some general indications that a person is using drugs:

•  Sudden change in behavior
•  Mood swings; irritable and grumpy and then suddenly happy and bright
•  Withdrawal from family members
•  Careless about personal grooming
•  Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, and other favorite activities
•  Changed sleeping pattern; up at night and sleeps during the day
•  Red or glassy eyes
•  Sniffly or runny nose

Specific Drugs and their effects

Methamphetamine Effects:
“Wired”–sleeplessness for days and weeks at a time, total loss of appetite, extreme weight loss, dialated pupils, excited, talkative, deluded sense of power, paranoia, depression, loss of control, nervousness, unusual sweating, shaking, anxiety, hallucinations, aggression, violence, dizziness, mood changes, blurred vision, mental confusion, agitation.

Cocaine Effects:
Impaired thinking, confused, anxious, depressed, short tempered, panic attacks, suspiciousness, dilated pupils, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, decreased sexual drive, restlessness, irritability, very talkative, scratching, hallucinations, paranoia.

LSD (Acid) Effects:
Dilated pupils, skin discoloration, loss of coordination, false sense of power, euphoria, distortion of time and space, hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, loss of control, anxiety, panic, helplessness, and self destructive behavior.

PCP Effects:
Sometimes violent or bizarre behavior (suicide has often occurred), paranoia, fearfulness, anxiety, aggressive or withdrawn, skin flushing, sweating, dizziness, total numbness, and impaired perceptions.

Inhalant Effects:

Short-lasting euphoria, giggling, silliness, dizziness. Then come the headaches and full-blown “faintings” or going unconscious. Longterm Use: Short-term memory loss, emotional instability, impairment of reasoning, slurred speech, clumsy staggering gait, eye flutter, tremors, hearing loss, loss of sense of smell, and escalating stages of brain atrophy. Sometimes these serious longterm effects are reversible with body detoxification and nutritional therapy; sometimes the brain damage is irreversible or only partially reversible.

Heroin Effects:
Chemically enforced euphoria. “Nodding,” which is a dreamlike state, near sleep, drifting off for minutes or hours. For long-time abusers, heroin may act like a stimulant and they can do a normal daily routine; however, for others, it leaves them completely powerless to do anything.

Marijuana Effects:
Compulsive eating, bloodshot red eyes that are squinty (they may have trouble keeping them open), dry mouth, excessive and uncontrollable laughter, forgetfulness, short term memory loss, extreme lethargy, delayed motor skills, occasional paranoia, hallucinations, laziness, lack of motivation, stupidity, sickly sweet smell on body, hair, and clothes, and strong mood changes and behaviors when the person is “high”.

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Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol kills 6.5 times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.

Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for all persons age 6–33. About 45% of these fatalities are alcohol-related crashes.

More than 60% of teens said that drugs were sold, used, or kept at their school.

Crystal meth has become the most dangerous drug problem of small town America. Kids between 12 and 14 that live in smaller towns are 104% more likely to use meth than those who live in larger cities.

Youth who drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink alcohol.

About 64% of teens (12-17) who have abused pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives, often without their knowledge.

While rates of illicit drug use are declining, the rate of prescription drug use remains high. 15.4% of HS seniors reported non-medical use of at least one prescription medication within the past year.

In 2008, 1.9 million youth age 12 to 17 abused prescription drugs.

Around 28% of teens know a friend or classmate who has used ecstasy, with 17% knowing more than one user.

By the 8th grade, 52% of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 41% have smoked cigarettes, and 20% have used marijuana.

Teenagers whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base Prescription for Danger