Health education is one of the most important kinds of classes that teenagers need, as their health and future both depend on their awareness of the problems drugs can cause in their lives. What should we do for teenagers not to become addicts? What are the first symptoms of teenage drug addiction? What type of drug harms in the most destructive way? Why can people suddenly die from heroin or methamphetamine? Why marijuana is the easiest and also the most dangerous drug? What is the average lifespan of a drug addict? Why is it almost not possible to recover from addiction? What is a necessary condition for an attempt to get rid of drug addiction? What is more harmful: physical or psychological dependence? Teenagers for their own sake should discover all of these questions.
Addiction is a terrible word. Addiction is like a huge black spider tirelessly weaving his deadly web over our entire planet. Men and women, teenagers and even children, touching even once these sticky threads of evil, are almost doomed to experience the extremely dangerous drug harm, almost doomed to disappear in the infernal abyss of the web without leaving a trace. And they become not people, but rather broken biorobots, the meaning of life for whom is frantic search for another dose of the drug as soon as possible and its intake (Seifert et al. 520).
Very young adolescents addicts that have not yet experienced the total harm of drugs, having not yet destroyed intelligence are proudly posing themselves as IDUs – injecting drug users, while claiming that there is nothing wrong with drug addiction, and they just do not want to live like everyone else. And who saw the immense horror in the depths of their eyes? Contrary to all contrived slogans of the addicts, each of them is at least a little aware that he is walking along the edge of the infernal abyss. Understanding that harm of drugs can be fatal, that every next injection can bring hepatitis, AIDS, a fatal overdose, fear of inhuman pain throughout the body without the timely injection – that's the reason for terrible, inhuman anguish in the eyes of IDUs in their rare periods of sobriety.
The average life expectancy of an addict is 3-7 years since the first acquaintance with the drug. In addition, sometimes the harm of drugs can be so strong that the addict dies after a month or even earlier. Usually, these are the people who start taking very intensively, particularly strong stimulants of the central nervous system (such as methamphetamine), or particularly strong opioids (such as heroin). Harm of these drugs of particularly dangerous types may prove to be fatal for the following reasons. With vigorous intake of stimulants, verging on overdose of a drug addict, there is incredibly increased risk of fatal heart attack, fatal stroke, and most importantly – the risk of death from exhaustion just because of lack of food and sleep (Room and Reuter 87). Not only that they are just not needed, but they also often cause an addict disgust, and the body at this time lives by releasing huge stockpiles of vital energy stored for use in extreme situations. That is why even while living stimulator addicts look terribly thin and pale, feeling as if they were very sick, and the disease takes all of their strength. As for intensive opiates, when on the verge of overdose, there can easily fail the respiratory center and a drug addict dies simply from the fact that his body, or rather the brain, roughly speaking, forgets how to breathe.
The first to die are usually those IDUs who began taking hard inject drugs in adolescence. Harm of drugs is so insidious that individuals in their thirties in addicts environment are very rare centenarians. What parent can wish such a fate for his child? Which of normal parents want to see their son or daughter who were once young beautiful cheerful kids turned into criminals – dark and evil dregs of society, ready for a dose of heroin to sell his own mother and father? The answer is obvious – no one!
The trouble is that if the child became a drug addict, to save him completely is very hard! There are rare exceptions, but only if the addict himself wants it. This requires the will, which addicts usually do not have. No matter how hard you try to treat him, pull to different drug treatment clinics – all will bring absolutely nothing. Until the addict finds the strength and decides to stop – it will not work for him, no one can do it instead. Along with intentions to quit regularly taking drugs, a lot will depend on what types of drugs the child takes and in what ways the introduction of drugs into the body takes place (smoking, smelling, eating, drinking, making injections intravenously) and for how long he has been addicted to drugs. These data indicate directly the resulting harm of drugs, i.e. degree of damage to the brain, nervous system and other organs in general, which in turn will assess the chances of the addict to return to the human world (Strasburger, Jordan and Donnerstein 758). If the time period is small, there are no intravenous drugs and the drugs are not strong, then the chances to return are more realistic, and, accordingly, on the contrary - with already long period, intravenous use of strong drugs, you can present your child who is still alive for the next birthday a nice, cozy coffin. He will need it soon.
Therefore, prevention, prevention and prevention only can protect teenagers from the terrible drug monster that feeds on people's lives. Harm of drugs in our time instantly blows the children, if we even slightly loosen the grip and then neglect to timely control. Therefore, prevention of drug abuse in the family should be aggressive and most importantly regular.
Finally, some disturbing symptoms. Start to sound the alarm if the teenager (Aggleton, Ball, and Mane 27):
• Has frequent, sudden mood swings – from the gloomy depression, apathy to uncontrollable laughter, hyperactivity.
• Appetite changes frequently, from eating almost nothing to eating everything, and he cannot be stopped.
• Sharply lower grades, truancy start, delays, complaints from teachers on inappropriate behavior.
• There develops a habit of constantly begging for money on some alleged right thing, for example, an expensive book, but at home, it does not appear, and supposedly lies at some very good friends. He was going to bring it, or teenager allegedly uses the thing elsewhere, or he is about to bring it and does not do it – be sure the money were spent on drugs, thus do not forget to constantly check your wallets, savings and valuables, they are very likely to disappear, as your child will just steal them (Sussman et al. 476).
• Strange new friends appear, which the child tries to hide from you.
• There suddenly appears obvious thinness, hollowness of the cheeks, unexplained pallor, circles under the eyes, bitten nails, facial pimples appear large, incredibly lazy or child ceases to wash, comb their hair, change clothes.
• There are movies, music, books, promoting drugs, in particular books on hallucinogens (books about other drugs are not as interesting and used only by experts, but stories of the "glitches" and “fabulous” travel to other worlds, just what is necessary).
Each of these symptoms already makes us think hard. To stop addiction is sometimes only possible in the very early stage, maybe a week or two, maximum month. Afterwards, only if you are lucky and there happens some extreme case. For example, the child with her boyfriend for the first time sniffed heroin, and the harm of drugs proved so powerful that the next day the friend of your child was in the morgue, and your child with great difficulty barely crawled out from the other side. Of course, everything will be by the full program: intensive care, police, a sea of tears, a terrible scandal with other relatives, etc. Of course, this is an extreme case, but in fact quite real. Only then, when he heard the cold breath of death, perhaps your child never touches any drugs again.
Aggleton, Peter, Andrew Ball, and Purnima Mane, eds. Sex, drugs and young people: international perspectives. Routledge, 2013.
Room, Robin, and Peter Reuter. "How well do international drug conventions protect public health?." The Lancet 379.9810 (2012): 84-91.
Seifert, Sara M., et al. "Health effects of energy drinks on children, adolescents, and young adults." Pediatrics 127.3 (2011): 511-528.
Strasburger, Victor C., Amy B. Jordan, and Ed Donnerstein. "Health effects of media on children and adolescents." Pediatrics 125.4 (2010): 756-767.
Sussman, Steve, et al. "One-year outcomes of a drug abuse prevention program for older teens and emerging adults: Evaluating a motivational interviewing booster component." Health Psychology 31.4 (2012): 476.