All illegal and legal drugs can be dangerous to use...

A girl & a drink Drugs can numb your memory, impair your judgment, and make it impossible to feel good or function without them. Even drugs like marijuana and cocaine which probably are not physically addictive (meaning that your body needs the drug in order to function), can make you emotionally dependent. Once you become used to the "feelings" you get from pot, cocaine or other drugs, you may find it harder and harder to cope with normal everyday ups and downs. People who combine drugs dramatically multiply the chances of having a bad reaction.

Did You Know?

mixed drugs Marijuana smoke does more damage to your body than cigarette smoke, (if it had a filter on it, it would be a lot safer). It has more tar than tobacco and can influence your hormones. When a substance is not legal, you don't know if it was "laced" or "spiked" until you use it. Many drugs can be "laced", not just marijuana or cocaine. Today's marijuana is more potent than the kind your parents might have experimented with in the 1960s and 1970s, for more check out the Marijuana page. Chemicals found around your home were not meant to be sniffed, they may seem harmless but can be very dangerous, can cause brain damage and be deadly, see Inhalants for more.

People may decide to snort cocaine, or use drugs made from it like crack, because it makes them feel energetic and able to handle problems and stress, or they perform better at sports while using it. Often when they discover what else it does, many of them wish they had never tried it. It costs a lot of money to get as much as they need and want, and often they may have to steal to support their habit. They may also find out that it makes their nose bleed a lot and can even "burn" a hole inside of the membranes of the nose.

pillsSeveral other things to keep in mind before you go partying with your friends. Almost all recreational drugs are illegal and use carries heavy penalties -- you can go to prison if you are caught. SO, remember, using drugs, having drugs in your possession, giving drugs away, buying or selling drugs may mean getting arrested, going to jail and having a prison record. Just try getting into college or getting a job with that record in your past. To give yourself the best chance to develop a sharp mind and body, don't do drugs of any kind, not even things you find in your own home.

There are opioid drugs that are derived from naturally occurring substances, like heroin, morphine and codeine, and then there are synthetic types of opioid medications, like Oxycodone, Vicodin, Norco,-- medicines that are used for acute and cancer pain treatment. For more on those and other prescription drug abuse, check out Opioid Abuse and Opioids.

Many young people get high on lighter fluid and hairspray, for more on inhalant abuse, check out the inhalants article. They can actually kill you, I’ve been in the ER when there was a teen who died this way... he didn’t know, no one talks about it that much. And yes, the number one 'crossover drug' is nicotine, not marijuana or cocaine.

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Saying No To Drugs and Alcohol

girl with pot Your teachers and adults call it "peer pressure", but to you it's just doing what your friends are doing. What often happens is that you're out with your friends and they decide it would be fun to do something that they know they are not supposed to do like smoke, drink or do drugs. You are in a tough spot, you either go along with them or look like a geek. There is bound to be trouble for you either way. If you do go along with the others, you may get caught and punished. Or worse, you could get hurt, or busted. If you don't go along with them, you could end up feeling left out and abandoned. What you need is a way to handle these situations that prevent either consequence.

The ideal way out of peer pressure is to tell your friends that you don't want to smoke, drink or use drugs. It's not so easy to announce this to the whole group at once, so you might explain this to your friends a couple at a time. Some of them are bound to understand and will stick by you. Others might need the comfort they get from the "crowd" too much to understand and appreciate what you are doing or saying. They might make you feel left out or give you a hard time. That's when you need your other friends or family to support your beliefs and remind you that you don't have to do unhealthy or dangerous things. Those are the friends that really care about you. Your good friends will not want you to get into trouble or to do any harm to yourself.

Two Examples of How Not To Give In To Pressure

school kids Okay, you're walking home from school and a friend's friend pulls out a pack of cigarettes or even marijuana. You don't want to smoke, but you don't want to make them feel stupid because they do. You are offered a cigarette or "joint", so you can say: "Thanks, but I really don't feel like it now." If you keep getting offered again and again, tell them the truth -- you don't want to start smoking because you know how hard it is to stop, and you are not a smoker anyway, so you don't want to smoke anything at all, especially something that is illegal.

Another example:

Y ou're at the library studying and you see some friends there. They decide to go out back and get high. You feel funny telling them you don't want to do drugs, so you play up your need to get your homework done and say something like, "I'm in real trouble in Mr. Haskins' class. He said he'll flunk me if I screw up on this assignment." Later, when you have time to explain yourself, you can let them know that you're not about to get involved with drugs. The sooner you tell them the better, so you won't find yourself having to make up excuses again.

A n important part of growing up is deciding what's important to you, how you're going to act and what you're going to do with your body. Growing up involves thinking for yourself, and taking responsibility for your actions, even if it means leaving behind certain friends who aren't willing to be as responsible or independent. Remember, there are plenty of other people who feel like you do. It is not cool to do drugs, it’s dangerous to your health and illegal, just try getting into college, or getting a decent job with a police record.

M aking decisions that go against your friends can make life lonely for a while. You will find other friends who feel the same way you do about not taking drugs. Before long you'll discover that the rewards of good health, self-confidence and better friendships are worth all of the trouble you went through to get them.

Read “ To Anyone Who Will Listen: One Man's Story of Drug Addiction” - A Teen Health Secrets exclusive for you. Check out the Drug Experiences page if you want to know what ecstasy or another drug is like, many of our readers have shared their experiences so you don't have to try them yourself.

If you can talk to your parents about drugs, do it, you might be surprised that they want to hear your opinions. Many young people don't have that kind of relationship with their parents. A lot of parents drink or use drugs themselves, so it can be hard to approach them about drinking or drugs -- many of our readers have found that to be the case in their own situation. Get informed, make decisions for yourself and take care of you and your body; one day you'll be glad you did.

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