In St. Johns County:
81% of middle and high school students are NOT using alcohol
97% of middle and high school students are NOT smoking cigarettes
90% of middle and high school students are NOT using marijuana
98% of middle and high school students are NOT using synthetic marijuana
98% of middle and high school students are NOT using inhalants
98% of middle and high school students are NOT using prescription drugs
Source: 2014 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey
The Teen Brain
The human brain is still developing well into a person’s early 20s. During adolescence, connections in the brain increase to allow different parts of the brain to work together better. The capacity for a human to learn is also the highest during this period in their life, but it can be severely hindered by drug abuse. Alcohol and drugs do impact:
- Your brain growth
Drugs can have immediate and long-lasting effects on your physical health, mental and emotional well-being, your relationships and future goals.
- Physical injuries. When you’re under the influence of drugs, you might do things that you wouldn’t normally do. This can increase your chances of getting hurt or having an accident. Drug-related injuries can be from things like falling and car accidents.
- Violence. Some drugs can increase the likelihood of violent behavior. Drug-induced violence can lead to serious injury to you and to others.
- Internal damage. Use of some drugs can damage your internal organs, like your liver, brain, lungs, throat and stomach.
- Addiction. When you take drugs, there’s a chance that you could become dependent on them. This means that you might feel like you can’t operate without drugs in your system or that you spend a lot of your time and energy finding and using the drug.
Your mental and emotional well-being
- Stress. You might think that using certain drugs will help you relax and forget about the issues that cause stress. But long-term drug use can have a big impact on the way your brain works, and lead to increased anxiety and stress.
- Depression. Feeling low after using some drugs-including alcohol-is common. Sometimes people use drugs as a way to cope with their depression, but drug use can often worsen these feelings.
Your relationships and your future
- Legal issues. Making, selling or having illegal drugs in your possession is against the law. It’s also against the law to give prescription drugs to people who don’t have a prescription from a doctor. Punishments for breaking these laws include having to go to court which might result in being sent to jail, having to pay hefty fines, or enter a rehabilitation program.
- Your relationships. When drug use becomes a larger part of your life, your relationships suffer. Conflict and breakdowns in communication can become more common.
- Your safety. Being under the influence of drugs could increase your chances of being in dangerous situations. The effects of some drugs can cause you to do things you might not usually do. You might also be putting yourself at risk of overdosing. Buying drugs or trying to get the money to buy drugs can also put you at risk.
- Your school work. You might not immediately notice the impact that your drug taking is having on your school work, but habitual drug use can prevent you from focusing on your responsibilities, like homework or concentrating in class. Your grades will suffer as a result.
- Your job. Drug use can also affect your ability to concentrate at work. Poor performance at your job could cause you to lose your job all together and find yourself in great financial difficulty.
The decisions you make today with affect your goals in life.
Resources for Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs:
The Cool Spot. The teen’s place for information on alcohol and resisting peer pressure.
Above the Influence. This website is for teens and has information on drug facts and advice on how to help friends who are using drugs and alcohol.
NIDA for Teens. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) created this website just for teens. Find out facts on drugs, read about challenges real teens face, and play games to test your knowledge.