Chapter 3

What You Need to Know About Drugs —

An Overview

I don't know the first thing about drugs!

This chapter provides an overview about drugs and their effects. The word “drugs” means all street drugs, prescription drugs found in the home or that can be purchased illegally, non-prescription drugs available in stores, household products such as inhalants, drug substances, tobacco and alcohol. Chapter 4, focuses on alcohol and tobacco, and Chapter 5 addresses other drugs including cannabis, the most common illegal drug.

We know it is important for parents to have reliable information about drugs and their effects. Some parents are so worried and alarmed that they falsely attribute normal behavioral changes during adolescence to involvement with drugs. Others glance at headlines about youth drug-use rates and drug-related deaths, but quickly disregard them because those tragedies happen to “other peoples’ kids".

The reality is that drug use can harm teenagers in several ways, such as:

  • contributing to poor judgment and making bad decisions;
  • increasing the chances to get into fights, accidents and other dangerous situations,
  • damaging the growing body and developing brain;
  • leading to addiction during adolescence, although this does not happen at a high rate.

Learning the facts about drugs and their effects can help you decide how best to support your teen during this period of his or her life.

Prevention-Smart launched for initial evaluation on June 26th 2009. If you have any comments or feedback, please email us via the contact form.