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No-Nonsense Drug Information for Teens

Facts about alcohol and other drugs for teenagers

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You've probably gotten some information about drugs already: The adults in your life have undoubtedly told you that drugs are bad about a million times. However, what does that mean, and why are drugs so risky for teenagers? Here are a few of the drugs that you must be well-educated about as a teen.

1. Marijuana

Marijuana, whether it's smoked in a pipe or eaten in a batch of pot brownies, messes with the way your brain works and impairs your ability to make good decisions. These bad decisions can involve driving a car while under the influence of the drug, making sexual choices that are unsafe or out of character for you, or saying things that you regret to other people. What's more, it can have a negative effect on your memory and your ability to learn.

2. Inhalants

Inhalants are everyday products such as glue, gasoline, and hairspray, which some teens use to get high by sniffing or "huffing" them. Though this may not seem dangerous, huffing is one way many teens hurt themselves -- or die -- each year. Plus, using inhalants is addictive: Many teens need more and more of these drugs each time they use in order to get high.

3. Prescription Drugs

From OxyContin to Ritalin, prescription drug abuse is on the rise among teens, and it's no surprise: Many teens find it's much easier to score prescription drugs than marijuana or even beer. However, using prescription drugs recreationally carries some very serious risks for teen health, and it's very easy to form deadly combinations of alcohol and prescription drugs.

It's important to know what types of prescription drugs are being abused and how to spot these drugs if someone offers them to you.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol use is very common among teens, especially in the form of binge drinking. Binge drinking - drinking five or more alcoholic beverages over the course of a few hours -- is dangerous for you as a teen because it puts you at risk for a variety of health problems, both now and in the future, and impairs your ability to make smart choices about things such as driving, drugs and sex.

5. Cocaine

Though most people know cocaine as a white powder, it can also be smoked (as crack), chewed or injected. No matter how it's used, it is very risky for your health. Not only is cocaine very addictive, it can trigger mental illness and lead to paranoia, heart palpitations, sleep problems and even sudden death.

6. Tobacco

If you're 18 or older, smoking tobacco's not illegal, but it does carry some very serious risks to your health. It's estimated that half of all long-term smokers die from a tobacco-related disease such as lung cancer or emphysema, and cigarettes and the smoke they produce are filled with tons of other toxic chemicals as well such as benzene and hydrogen cyanide. Plus, nicotine -- a major component of tobacco products -- is one of the most addictive substances out there.

If that's not reason enough to quit or avoid smoking in the first place, consider this: People who buy only a couple of packs of cigarettes per month spend hundreds of dollars each year keeping up the habit.

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