A drug is any substance, other than food, that affects how the body and/or mind functions.
Some drugs, like the ones prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical issue, are legal and safe to take as long as you own the prescription and follow your doctor’s orders. Prescribed drugs can cause harm if they are someone else’s medication because you don’t know how it could affect you. Medication that is sold over-the-counter, at a pharmacy, can also be very harmful to your mind and body if you take it to get high and not for what is intended. Just because a drug is sold in a drug store, doesn’t mean it can’t cause harm! Alcohol is considered a drug, and it can cause just as much damage as other drugs if misused. Other drugs that are produced and sold illegally are commonly known as street drugs, and are illicit. Marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin are a few examples of illicit drugs. These drugs can cause a lot of damage to a person’s mental and physical well-being.
Not everyone that uses alcohol or other drugs will become addicted, but substance use can cause problems in your life, especially if it affects other peoples’ lives too! It can cause arguments between you and your parents, difficulties at school, problems with your money, and it can also make you feel physically and mentally unwell. It is important to look at the different ways alcohol and other drugs are affecting your life and seek help before it gets worse.
Addiction can take many forms and shapes. Addiction involves a compulsive or uncontrollable need to find and use a substance. Addiction can be psychological, which means that you need it to feel better mentally; or addiction can be physical, which means that your body craves the substance. Addiction also makes it tough to give up using a substance; usually someone who quits needs extra support from friends, families or professionals.
Prescription drugs, when used to get high and not for medical reasons, can have terrible results when they interact with your body’s chemistry. Just because prescription drugs are sold by a pharmacist doesn’t mean that they’re okay for anyone to take, rather they should only be used under doctor’s orders.
People who abuse substances might do things they wouldn’t normally do like lie, steal or sever important relationships in order to continue using drugs or alcohol. The most important thing to do is be there for your friend if he/she needs to talk. Addiction is difficult to deal with and your friend will need your support. It is important to remind yourself that you cannot fix it, but you can support your friend if he/she chooses to get help. Remind yourself of the four C’s: you didn’t create it, you didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it and you can’t control it. It can be really tough to watch a friend or loved one struggle with addiction, and you need to make sure you take care of yourself first! You will also want to talk to a trustworthy adult who can help you sort out your feelings and help you decide what is best to do.
Sometimes people with an addiction give up drugs or alcohol all at once. This is called “cold turkey”. However, some people find it difficult to stay clean after they quit cold turkey. The reason? For some, not having the drug in their body causes a lot of physical and emotional pain, and they may start using again to cope. For others, hanging out with people that use, or exposing themselves to alcohol or other drugs, can trigger them back to use again. For others, their biological make up (genes) can put them at risk of substance abuse. Most people with an addiction will need professional help to end their addiction because their brain’s chemistry makes it harder for them to give it up