There are some things we just do not understand. There are things in every household that would never cross our mind’s as dangerous. There are situations that you wouldn’t think our teens will ever have to encounter. When it comes to drugs and addiction, logical thinking can be compromised. There are some things we should know and talk about.
Things to Know
There are different types of drugs. Some we know about because they are the ‘classic’ drugs, like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Some we recognize as dangerous because they have been in the news, like prescription drugs. There are different types of drugs that have chemicals that create highs like those ‘classic’ drugs. There are drugs that may not create a high-like effect, but the effect on the body is what keeps people using. Drugs like:
- Inhalants- These are chemicals that are inhaled, or breathed in, that give the user an immediate rush. Glues, paint thinners, gasoline, spray paint, even whipped cream dispensers.
- Steroids- Anabolic steroids are a, illegal, human-made copy of the male sex hormone testosterone. These are usually injected, taken in pill form, and gels rubbed onto the body.
There is a lack of awareness surrounding how popular and dangerous these drugs truly are.
Inhalants have a horrible effect on the body. Most inhalants affect the central nervous system and slow down brain activity. They cause a light-headed feeling, hallucinations, or delusions. The chemicals in all types of inhalants are short-acting. Chemicals such as toluene or naphthalene (the volatile ingredient in mothballs).
This high lasts only for a few moments, leading to repeated use in a short amount of time. The more you inhale, the further away you drift from reality. Repeated use can result in vomiting, hours-long headaches, and drowsiness. One of the scariest problems with inhalants is the possibility of ‘sudden sniffing death.’
The chemicals used in these paint thinners, aerosol cans, and gasoline are highly concentrated. Overdosing can cause a user to seize or go into a coma. Even the first use can cause a user to fatally overdose. Inhalants can be put into plastic bags sometimes causing suffocation. Another issue with these types of drugs is they are readily available. The dangers of using these are printed on the bottle, but not many people understand that there can be long-term effects. There can be:
- Nerve damage causing muscle spasms, and loss of coordination.
- Kidney and liver damage.
- Brain damage from lack of oxygen.
- Hearing loss.
- Bone marrow loss.
The dangers of inhaling common household chemicals are something to discuss with young teens, even children. These chemicals are found in everyday items.
Steroids are found in high schools around the nation. This drug is not discussed as much as it should be, either. These are called anabolic-androgenic steroids. “Anabolic” refers to muscle building, and “androgenic” refers to increased male sex characteristics, as explained by The National Institute on Drug Abuse.
You may have heard the term “performance-enhancing drugs” in relation to professional athletes. They are also commonly associated with body builders. However, these drugs are being used by young adults. They use them for the same reason as professional athletes. They are a ‘quick’ way to boost performance and create muscle mass. The problem is the adverse effects steroids have on the body. These drugs are being illegally made causing the dosage to fluctuate depending on who made them. Steroids can cause:
- Extreme aggression or irritability. “Roid rage”
- Kidney and liver failure.
- Enlarged heart or high blood pressure.
In men, steroids can cause the testicles to shrink and decreased sperm counts. They can cause the male to develop breasts. With woman, steroids can cause facial hair, changes or stopping of the menstrual cycle, or an enlarged clitirous. These are the types of effects not commonly discussed.
There is treatment for both inhalants and steroids. The quicker a user takes action the better. These two drugs cause serious damage to the brain and body. A medical professional can help with the withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from both inhalants and steroids can be depression or anxiety.
There is help for those using these drugs. Inhalants and steroids are much more common than one would think. Just because you do not hear about them as much as prescription drugs or cocaine does not mean they are any less dangerous. If you notice any sudden changes in mood, personality, or drastic body changes- ask questions.