Your Kids are Brainwashed with Drugs

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Despite the amount of laws and regulations to keep drugs out of the hands of adolescents, teen drug usage still remains a national issue. The most common drugs used by junior high and high school students are nicotine, alcohol, amphetamines, and benzodiazepines. ‘Hardcore’ drugs such meth, crack, and cocaine are also used but with less frequency among teenagers. The seemingly general train of thought for teenagers is that if it’s not outlawed or it’s prescribed then it’s not dangerous. However, there are many facts stating the opposite.

Nicotine is a naturally occurring alkaloid that is found in tobacco. It takes effect by entering into the bloodstream after diffusing into the lungs, skin, sinuses, or gums. Once reaching the brain, it mimics the function of neurotransmitters and creates a mild feeling of euphoria. As any smoker who has attempted to quit in the past will attest to, nicotine is highly addictive and very hard to quit using. It is also very dangerous to a person’s health. The long-term effects of using nicotine are an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes, emphysema, and a variety of cancers.

Even those who do not smoke are at risk of developing an addiction via secondhand smoke. This makes children with parents that smoke particularly susceptible to getting hook on nicotine and becoming smokers themselves as they get older. The majority of new smokers are in their teens. 90% of adult smokers have admitted to picking up the habit before they reached the age of twenty-one and 20% of current teenagers are considered as having a regular smoking habit. Nationally, 1.5 million packs of cigarettes are sold to teenagers yearly so despite the laws prohibiting underage smoking, tobacco has remained easily obtainable for teenagers. Statistics have also shown that teens who smoke are more likely to use the next drug on our list: Alcohol.

Alcohol is the drug that is most used by teenagers and it is also the most available to them. Most households have some type of alcohol at hand and since it’s legal for anyone over their twenty-first birthday, it’s not always hard for a teenager to find an older friend to purchase the booze for them. Although it’s not as addictive as nicotine, there is a large risk of developing a dependency with prolonged usage. However, the fact that it’s not as addictive does not make it any less dangerous. While the worse effects of nicotine are over the long term, alcohol can have devastating effect within only one night.

Alcohol is known to impaired coordination, vision, judgment, and reflexes by slowing down brain activity. When putting someone in this state behind the wheel of a vehicle, it can have deadly consequences – not only for the driver but also for anyone else on the road. Drunk driving is one of the most known dangers of drinking but it is not the only one. Alcohol poisoning from binge drinking can be fatal. Poisoning happens when the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) gets too high and has a drastic effect on the part of the brain that controls basic life functions. When the BAC reaches dangerous levels, these functions begin to shut down and can put the drinker into a coma or even end their life. Those who survive alcohol poisoning may suffer from permanent brain damage.

Emotions can also be effected by alcohol because it a depressant. Alcohol has been linked to both depression and suicide. For teenagers, using alcohol is very risky for their mental health since it can hinder normal brain development. Over the long term, alcohol can also lead to damage of the liver, stomach, kidneys and reduce brain mass.

Amphetamines: ADD/ADHD
A common amphetamine by the name of Adderall is very easy for teenagers to obtain since it can be prescribed to them to treat ADHD. These drugs are frequently found at ‘pharming parties’ (a party where pharmaceuticals are exchanged and used), which have been increasing in popularly amongst high school students. They are also known as ‘speed’ or ‘uppers’ due to the stimulating effects of helping the user stay awake and alert. Although most often taken via swallowing them in pill form, amphetamines can also be crushed and snorted or injected. Over a period of time, they are very addictive.

When misused, amphetamines can have dangerous effects. While under the drug’s influence, the body’s blood vessels narrow and the heart has to work twice as hard to get blood through the body. This can cause an irregular heartbeat that has the potential to result in a heart attack. These drugs also have a tendency to make the user grind their teeth which can lead to some painful dental issues. The long-term effects of using amphetamines are both mental and physical. According to the Society for Neuroscience, amphetamines affect brain cell function in the brain’s cortex. They can also lead to paranoia, depression, heightened anxiety, and poor memory and concentration. When it comes to the effects on the body, the heart muscle takes the most damage. Kidney problems, a reduced immune system, and chronic sleeping disorders are also linked to amphetamine abuse.

Benzodiazepines: Depression
These are also available through a prescription. Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that affect the central nervous system. They are more commonly known as Xanax, Valium, and Clonazapam. Like amphetamines, they can be used in pill form, by crushing and snorting, or injecting. Aside from ‘pharming parties’, these drugs can mostly be found in the teen rave scene. Although dangerous and highly addictive in their own right, benzodiazepines are not usually taken by themselves but instead used in combination with other drugs like alcohol and amphetamines because they prolong the ‘high’ resulting from these other drugs.

Despite being used mostly to aid the effects of other drugs, benzodiazepines have many dangers of their own. They’ve been known to cause blackouts and violent behavior, as well as inducing sleep. Overdosing on this type of drug is not common but it is possible; marked by shallow breathing and a weak but rapid pulse and can possibly result in coma or death. The biggest danger of these drugs is addiction. Withdrawing from benzodiazepine can include seizures and can also be fatal so breaking away from this drug is not an easy task and requires medical supervision.

Though these drugs all have different properties and initial effects, they have one major factor in common: they alter the mind.

When teenagers fall victim to this, it can affect not only their development but also cause problems that will extend into their adult lives. Addiction often hinders moments of clarity and drives the user to act solely to feed that addiction. Their actions are not thought out and their desires are chemically induced. They become, in essence, brainwashed by these chemicals.

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