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Drug Addiction and Its Effects on Youth

5 min read
youth and drug abuse

Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). It is also defined as “the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, etc, characteristic of one who is young”.

Youth defines the period of a specific age range vary. according to the United Nations, you are a youth when you are between age 15 to 24. You are not given to worries, you enjoy laughter and social situations. You are friendly and more outgoing.

This is a time when you are not given to worries and you seldom cry. You enjoy laughter and social situation. You are friendly, cheerful, and more outgoing.

What is Drug Abuse or Addiction?

Drug Abuse or Addiction is a disease that affects your brain and behaviour. When you’re addicted to drugs, you can’t resist the urge to use them, no matter how much harm the drugs may cause. The earlier you get treatment for drug addiction, the more likely you are to avoid some of the more dire consequences of the disease.

Drug addiction isn’t about just heroin, cocaine, or other illegal drugs. You can get addicted to alcohol, nicotine, sleep, and anti-anxiety medications, and other legal substances.

You can also get addicted to prescription or illegally obtained narcotic pain medications, or opioids. This problem is at epidemic levels in the United States. In 2018, opioids played a role in two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths.

At first, you may choose to take a drug because you like the way it makes you feel. You may think you can control how much and how often you use it. But over time, drugs change how your brain works. These physical changes can last a long time. They make you lose control and can lead to damaging behaviors.

You can also get addicted to prescription or illegally obtained narcotic pain medications, or opioids. This problem is at epidemic levels in the United States. In 2018, opioids played a role in two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths.

Drug Addiction Symptoms

Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include, among others:

  • Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — daily or even several times a day
  • Having intense urges for the drug that block out any other thoughts
  • Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
  • Taking larger amounts of the drug over a longer period of time than you intended
  • Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
  • Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
  • Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use
  • Continuing to use the drug, even though you know it’s causing problems in your life or causing you physical or psychological harm
  • Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
  • Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug
  • Spending a good deal of time getting the drug, using the drug or recovering from the effects of the drug
  • Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug.

Treatment of Drug Addiction in Youth

Drug addiction treatment can include medications, behavioral therapies, or their combination.
Treatments for prescription drug abuse tend to be similar to those for illicit drugs that affect the same brain systems. For example, buprenorphine used to treat heroin addiction, can also be used to treat addiction to opioid pain medications.

Addiction to prescription stimulants, which affect the same brain systems as illicit stimulants like cocaine, can be treated with behavioral therapies, as there are not yet medications for treating addiction to these types of drugs.

Behavioral therapies can help motivate people to participate in drug treatment, offer strategies for coping with drug cravings, teach ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse, and help individuals deal with relapse if it occurs. Behavioral therapies can also help people improve communication, relationship, and parenting skills, as well as family dynamics.

Consequences of Youth Drug Abuse

Negative consequences of youth drug abuse might include:

•Drug dependence. Youths who misuse drugs are at increased risk of serious drug use later in life.

•Poor judgment. Youth drug use is associated with poor judgment in social and personal interactions.
•Sexual activity. Drug use is associated with high-risk sexual activity, unsafe sex and unplanned pregnancy.
• Health disorders. Drug use can complicate or increase the risk of mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
•Drug driving. Driving under the influence of any drug can impair a driver’s motor skills, putting the driver, passengers and others on the road at risk.
•Changes in school performance. Substance use can result in a decline in academic performance.


Health Effects of Drugs

Drug use can result in drug addiction, serious impairment, illness, and death. Health risks of commonly used drugs include the following:

• Cocaine— Risk of heart attack, stroke and seizures

•Ecstasy — Risk of liver failure and heart failure
•Inhalants — Risk of damage to heart, lungs, liver and kidneys from long-term use
•Marijuana — Risk of impairment in memory, learning, problem solving and concentration; risk of psychosis — such as schizophrenia, hallucination or paranoia — later in life associated with early and frequent use
•Methamphetamine — Risk of psychotic behaviors from long-term use or high doses
•Opioids — Risk of respiratory distress or death from overdose
•Electronic cigarettes (vaping) — Exposure to harmful substances similar to exposure from cigarette smoking; risk of nicotine dependence

Prevention of Drug Abuse in Youth

•Know your children’s activities. Pay attention to their whereabouts. Find out what adult-supervised activities your child is interested in and encourage him or her to get involved.
•Establish rules and consequences. Explain your family rules, such as leaving a party where drug use occurs and not riding in a car with a driver who’s been using drugs. If your child breaks the rules, consistently enforce consequences.
•Know your child’s friends. If your child’s friends use drugs, your child might feel pressure to experiment, too.
•Keep track of prescription drugs. Take an inventory of all prescription and over-the-counter medications in your home.
•Provide support. Offer praise and encouragement when your teen succeeds. A strong bond between you and your teen might help prevent your teen from using drugs.
•Set a good example. If you drink, do so in moderation. Use prescription drugs as directed. Don’t use illicit drugs.

If you need immediate treatment for anybody addicted to drugs, contact us at FAVDOCTOR to book a consultation to see a doctor.

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