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///// Copyright © 2003 Drugs & Addiction Magazine Ltd. all rights reserved

President and Stephen Kathnelson Publisher Vice President Jeff Whelan Graphic Designers Cole McKelvie Terah Jans

Just say ‘know.’ If you’ve read this far into the magazine, we know that you’re at least a little interested in learning more about drugs. Good for you! Right now you’re at an age where it’s really important to learn all about drugs and some of the risks they pose to you and your friends.

Team Leader Melanie Smith Administration JamieRose Mutrey Pam Majeau Kaylee Hewitt Accounting Amber-Lea Braithwaite Institutional Erin O’Neill Relations Manager

A lot of people may have lectured you about drugs, and told you all sorts of terrible things about them. You also might have heard other people brag about their drug use, and tell you how great drugs can make you feel. We know how hard it is to find the truth, especially when everybody seems so convincing. That’s why we’ve created this magazine. We believe that explaining the straight facts about drugs and alcohol is the best way to prepare you for this type of environment and help sort out some of these confusing messages.

We hope you enjoy reading this magazine. We hope it makes you think. Most of all, we hope that after finishing with this booklet you will have a better awareness of how drugs can affect you, and how you have the power to live proudly, happily and drug-free.

Elana Sures Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR >> Elana Sures has been providing substance abuse counselling and education to youth, families and adults for seven years. She is currently employed as a counsellor at West Coast Alternatives Society in North Vancouver, BC and has a private practice in Vancouver (www.elanasures.ca). Elana has her Masters degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

Elana would like to acknowledge Mark Haden of Westside Addiction Services team for the vast amount of current information he has provided that has helped shape this book, as well as his generosity in sharing his wisdom on substance abuse.

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contents

>Meet the experts

Justin, Kara and Zach. Three teens who are seeing it all and are just trying to make their way through.

8

>Why do people use drugs?

Why are your friends taking something that makes them feel so good then so gut-wrenchingly bad?

13

>...but I won’t get addicted.

Of course you won’t. Your little marijuana habit may turn into a little coke habit and then maybe a little heroin for kicks and then...

18

>Different types of drugs

Chemistry 101: A detailed introduction to the chemicals in drugs and their effects. Yes, there’s a test, and study hard because your life depends on it.

31 Crystal Meth 38 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder 40 In case you’re wondering 44 Hear from the experts again 48 Drug Effects Assessment 52 Resources for parents 55 Concurrent Disorders 59 Behavioural Checklist 62 Community resources WWW.DAFACTS.COM

PAGE // 5


\\\\\

Meet the>>>>>

experts

We’d like to introduce you to our panel of experts! >> You might be surprised to learn that these “experts” are neither scientists, politicians, nor doctors, but are youth like you. >> Have you ever noticed that the words expert and experience come from the same root? Well, that’s why we consider these guys experts. Their experiences make them the ideal people to help you learn more about drugs. Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

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“Hey. I’m Kara.

I was told to come here and tell you my honest opinion on drugs. I guess I should start off by telling you that

I do drugs. Every day. I never planned on letting it get to this point; first it was just smoking weed on weekends, then it turned into after school every so often. Now I’m cutting classes to get stoned with my friends. I’m not proud of that, but it’s gotten to the point where when I’m not getting high, I feel grumpy and unable to deal with things. When I’m bored, I smoke weed. When I have to go to class, I smoke weed. When I have to deal with my parents, I smoke weed. See what I mean? If I quit, I don’t know how I’d cope with all those things. The funny thing is, I don’t even feel high anymore. It’s like, I just smoke the stuff to feel normal.”

Justin

“I don’t know why they asked me to talk about drugs. I mean, I don’t even do them! If anything, I’m the one who needs to be asking the questions. Since seventh grade started, a lot of people have been talking about drugs-what they’re like, who does them and where to get them. At first I thought that drugs were really bad, but now I’m not so sure. Anyway, my friend Chad seems to think that they’re fine as long as you don’t get addicted. So I guess I’m a bit confused. All I’ve ever heard from my parents and teachers is that drugs are bad. But I know that a lot of really cool people are doing them, and they seem fine. I just want to know what really happens when people do drugs. Next weekend there’s a party at an eighth grader’s house, and I’m pretty sure there will be drugs there. If I’m offered some, I really don’t know what I’ll do! I don’t want to look like a dork!”

“I’m Zach.

I’ll be seventeen on my next birthday. I just started ninth grade. You might wonder what someone my age is doing in the ninth grade, with a bunch of

fourteen year-olds. Well, I guess you can say I’ve been busy over the past few years. First, I was busy with alcohol. Then, I was busy smoking marijuana. Then I got bored with the ‘soft stuff’ and went for the harder drugs, like crystal meth and crack. The past three years have really been a blur. I lost a lot: I lost my friends, two years of school, and most of all, I lost respect for myself. Man, I sunk to lows I thought I’d never sink to. I made a mess of my life, and even though I’m putting it back together now, I often think about how different things would be for me if I’d never been into the drugs in the first place.”

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PAGE // 7


Why do people use

>>

Before we go on about the effects of drugs on your

body, brain, and behaviour, let’s talk for a little while about why people would even use them in the first place. >> We’ve heard some people say that only stupid people use drugs, while other people say that people use drugs to look like a rebel. We think that it’s not that simple. People use drugs for a whole variety of reasons. If we could pinpoint one common theme running through most drug use, it would probably be this: people use drugs because they think it helps them deal with some of the more difficult parts of life. If that doesn’t make sense to you yet, it will. Keep reading: we’ve tried to answer some of the most common questions kids ask about drugs.

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

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I want to try using drugs because I’m curious about how they’ll make me feel. The mystery of drugs and how they can transform people’s feelings, moods and behaviours is pretty interesting. Being curious is natural, and some people are willing to take great risks to satisfy their curiosity. The problem with satisfying your curiosity by trying drugs is that drugs are very unpredictable; you just never know what to expect from them. Unfortunately, many young people who don’t plan on getting themselves into trouble by using drugs often find themselves knee deep in it.

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PAGE // 8

Some of my friends are starting to drink and use drugs, and I don’t want to feel left out. I want to join them.

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So do I just pretend I’m not curious? No; curiosity is natural, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. We believe that the best way to satisfy your curiosity about drugs is by learning about them instead of trying them. Most people who get really involved with drugs haven’t bothered to learn about them first, and we really don’t want that to happen to you. Please learn about all the risks and effects involved with using drugs before trying them. It could make all the difference.

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\\\\\ We all want to feel accepted by our friends, and sometimes we want to impress people who aren’t even our friends. This is especially true when we’re young. Between the ages of 12 and 19, friends and fitting in are a huge part of who we are. Suddenly, we might find ourselves doing things that are harmful or risky just to avoid standing out from our friends. Am I supposed to ditch all of my friends? By refusing to join in your friends drug-use, you are sending a powerful message: that you are confident enough not to be a follower, and that you respect your health and well-being. You don’t need to ditch your friends or even criticize them to make this point. You are allowed to make your own decisions about what you put into your body. Sometimes I feel kind of depressed, like things will never get better. If I used drugs maybe that would improve my mood. Growing up can be really hard. Have you ever felt really down, when you just can’t seem to shake feelings of sadness or loneliness? What about being really angry at some of the people in your life, like your parents or teachers? When people first try drugs, one thing they experience is a change in mood. All of a sudden, drugs seem like the answer to many

FAST

of life’s problems! Unfortunately, our feelings are much too complicated to be fixed with a dose of drugs. When we take drugs to avoid unpleasant feelings, what usually happens is that the feelings return after the drugs wear off – only now they are even worse. This is what often leads people to become addicted; when the drugs wear off, people sometimes keep using more to avoid dealing with their true feelings. Does this mean that I should just walk around feeling depressed and lonely, then? Absolutely not! There are far more constructive and positive ways to deal with sadness, anger and loneliness than by using drugs. The truth is, everyone experiences these feelings from time to time, but when these feelings are seriously hard to deal with, it’s important to reach out to others who can help you. You can help yourself by learning to cope, too. At the back of this magazine you’ll find a list called 25 Drug-Free

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Drugs seem to be fun. I mean, people don’t use them because they make them feel bad, they use them to feel good-don’t they? Very good point! Drugs do seem to be a lot of fun, especially when you see drunk and stoned people laugh, party, and carry on like they don’t have a worry in the world. The reason why this happens is that all drugs contain chemicals that, upon entering your body, work their way into the brain. Once they get there, these chemicals change your brain’s natural balance, causing you to experience really extreme feelings:

could no longer work up the nerve to go to a party and socialize unless I had just used. I.T. GUYS

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Drugs had me cornered when I

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PAGE // 9


Sometimes I feel kind of depressed, like things will never get better. If I use, maybe that would improve my mood.

>>>>>

< CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9

hyper activity, power, happiness, attractive-ness and relaxed, to name a few. So, what’s the problem then? Well, the problem occurs when your brain realizes its natural chemistry has been tampered-with. In order to get back to normal, the brain will change its chemical activity, actually preventing you from experiencing all of these great feelings naturally in order to overcome the powerful effects of the drugs. When this happens, you’re no longer having fun. “You can say that again!!” Oh. It seems that Zach would like to have a word with you again.

The question was about fun, right? The truth is, drugs are pretty sneaky. Drugs fool you into thinking they’re fun, and for a while they do a pretty good job of it. I remember being at parties, stoned out of my mind on drugs, thinking life couldn’t get much sweeter. After a couple of weeks of that, drugs were laughing in my face. Drugs had me cornered when I could no longer work up the nerve to go to a party and socialize unless I had just used. They knew they had me when I was up all night, unable to get to sleep while the drugs were wearing off. That was definitely not fun! Drugs show you a good time at first. Then, once you’re hooked, they just get you to use them – over and over and over.” ////

“Thanks for the science lesson, but I think I can take over from here.

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

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JOHNA B. SMITHER C.A. Chartered Accountant

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

SMITHER & COMPANY 90 Twelfth Avenue Anytown, Province V8V 3P3 Tel: • 555 • 681-0696 Fax: • 555 • 682-3595 Toll-Free: 1-866-681-0696 E-mail • smither@fake.com

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PAGE // 10

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“ What is a

drug

?

A drug is any substance other than food which changes the way the body or mind functions. >> When used by prescription from a medical doctor, drugs can heal illness and injury or take away pain >> Drugs can come from plants (e.g. marijuana, cocaine, heroin, tobacco) or be made in labs (e.g. ecstasy, crystal meth, LSD) >> Both legal and illegal drugs can be harmful

>> Psychoactive Drugs Drugs that change our feelings, thoughts or behaviour include >> Marijuana >> Alcohol >> Crystal Meth >> Heroin >> Cocaine >> “Magic” Mushrooms

>> Appropriate Uses of Substances >> To get better if you are sick (i.e. a doctor’s prescription) >> To reduce pain from illness or injury >> To manage mental illness (i.e. depression, anxiety)

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Say NO to Drugs and help your friends say NO.

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PAGE // 11


What I didn’t realize is how easy it is to get sucked in.

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

this message brought to you by a caring member of the community

JOHNA B. SMITHER C.A. Chartered Accountant

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

SMITHER & COMPANY 90 Twelfth Avenue Anytown, Province V8V 3P3 Tel: • 555 • 681-0696 Fax: • 555 • 682-3595 Toll-Free: 1-866-681-0696 E-mail • smither@fake.com

IN A HURRY

PACKAGING & DISTRIBUTION Your Packaging & Distribution Solution

Only YOU Can Keep Your Future Bright! 7383 Maple Tree Rd. Anytown, BC Tel: (250) 681-0696 • Fax: (250) 682-3595

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PAGE // 12

Bill’s Woodshop 7383 Maple Tree Rd. Anytown, Prov Tel: (555) 681-0696

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“...but

I

\\\\\

won’t get addicted!”

THE DIFFERENT STAGES OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE Nobody wakes up one day and discovers he or she is addicted

\\\\\\\\\\

to drugs. >> Drugs become a part of our lives through a slow process. >> Each time you move from one stage of drug use to the next, you are doing so for one, and only one, reason: because you choose to do it. >> Not because school is a drag, your friends made you do it, or your parents are making life difficult. >> Here, we will describe in detail all of the different stages of drug use. As you will see, drug use can get out of control so gradually that you don’t even know it is happening. >>

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7383 Maple Tree Rd. Anytown, Province Tel: (555) 681-0696 Email: your_name@name.com

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PAGE // 13


...before I knew it, I was struggling through the day until I could smoke some weed. >> >> NON-USERS They are people who don’t use any drugs, including alcohol and tobacco Their reasons include: >> Health reasons >> Religious beliefs >> Athletic ability >> Bad experiences in the past with drugs and alcohol >> Lack of interest

>> EXPERIMENTAL USE This is the stage when someone is trying drugs for the first time. It could be at a party, or at a friend’s house. It is almost always with other people. The “experimental stage” is very brief, and is characterized by: >> Curiosity about drugs >> A belief that doing a given drug won’t lead to any harm >> A social atmosphere After experimenting with a drug, a person makes a decision about whether or not to use it again. If the decision is not to, the person will go back to non-use. If the decision is to use it again, the person moves on to… This is kind of what Justin was talking about, right Justin?

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

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PAGE // 14

“Yep. My friends pretty much fit every one of those types. Interesting – I wonder how much further they’ll go….” Kara: “Remember how I told you earlier that I never planned on using drugs as much as I do now? Actually, when I first started using, I totally thought I would just use ‘once in a while’ but so much for that! What I didn’t realize is how easy it is to get sucked in. Once a week becomes three times a week, ‘only after school’ turns into ‘only during lunch, breaks and after school,’ and before I knew it, I was struggling through the day until I could smoke some weed. “Occasional” use? Good luck!”

>> REGULAR USE When drugs and alcohol start to show up more and more often; when you notice that you’re thinking about drugs and alcohol and talking about ‘getting high’ or ‘getting drunk’ a lot, and when you realize that most of your friends are using, it’s fair to say that use has become regular.

JOHNA B. SMITHER C.A. Chartered Accountant

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

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...but I won’t get addicted!

You do not need to be an addict/alcoholic to have a problem with substances. >>

\\\\\

Other qualities of regular use include: >> Using automatically, without thinking about it >> Starting to find it difficult to enjoy social situations without using drugs and alcohol >> Some areas of life are becoming affected (e.g. school, family, money) Gosh. Can you imagine needing to use drugs or alcohol just to get through the day, or even the hour? I guess you can understand now what Zach meant when he said that drugs started to have more control over him than he had over them. I wish I could tell you that it ends there, but unfortunately, it gets even worse. Coming up is the final stage of drug use, and the most desperate: addiction.

>> ADDICTION

At this stage: >> Drug or alcohol use is the most important thing in the person’s life; other things that were once important, like school, family, sports, and other interests become less important >> The person using often has been ‘cut off’ by important people in his or her life; others feel increasingly frustrated and helpless >> It is almost impossible to remain committed to school work and family; the user surrounds him or herself with other users that replace former family and friends A person’s emotional and physical health is very affected; depression, mood swings, and serious health problems often emerge.

This is the most frightening stage of drug and alcohol use, when the user experiences an utter sense of desperation to continue using, despite repeated attempts to cut back and despite extremely negative consequences.

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PAGE // 15


It is almost impossible to remain committed to school work and family... >>

\\\\\

>> BINGE USE

Ways of Abusing Substances

Refers to heavy and excessive drinking or drugging on a sporadic basis, with periods of little or no use in between.

>> Taking too much of a drug/alcohol at one time (i.e. bingeing) or taking smaller doses more often

Problems associated with binge use include: >> Higher levels of aggression >> Fighting and violence >> Getting into serious trouble when on a binge, such as sexual assault, verbal fights and domestic violence >> Alcohol poisoning or drug overdose, leading to medical treatments >> Increased risk of accidents (e.g. impaired driving)

>> Taking a prescribed drug after it is no longer needed (like sleeping pills or pain killers) >> Taking a drug that has been prescribed to somebody else (e.g. Ritalin, often prescribed for ADD and ADHD, has a stimulating effect on people who do not suffer from those conditions and is therefore abused quite often.) >> Taking a drug to cope with everyday stress >> Combining drugs

Binge use is unpredictable and scary for both the user and friends and family members. ////

Other Forms of Addiction People can become addicted to things other than drugs and alcohol. Let’s take a look at some other addictiions: >> Sex >> Food >> Dieting >> Gambling >> Exercise

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

this message brought to you by a caring member of the community

JOHNA B. SMITHER C.A. Chartered Accountant

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

SMITHER & COMPANY

Your Packaging & Distribution Solution

Only YOU Can Keep Your Future Bright! 7383 Maple Tree Rd. Anytown, BC Tel: (250) 681-0696 • Fax: (250) 682-3595

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PAGE // 16

Bill’s Woodshop

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>> Shopping >> Dangerous sports >> Internet chat rooms >> Video games >> Television

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...but I won’t get addicted!

So if it’s so horrible, why do people keep using? >> Let’s look at some of the reasons people stay “stuck” on drugs. even when it’s no longer fun: >> Drug use provides an instant group of “friends” >> As people grow more and more dependent, reality becomes harder to deal with; drugs offer an escape >> Drugs give us an excuse to avoid responsibilities >> It’s a way to numb oneself from painful events >> To prove to parents they have no power >> Acting out of self hate >> Powerful cravings that only subside with drug use

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PAGE // 17


Nicotine is addictive, which means it’s extremely difficult, though not impossible, to quit.

>>nicotine Basically, the younger you are when you start, the more ingrained the habit becomes and the harder it is to quit.

“You mean cigarettes are a drug?!”- Justin You bet they are. Not only that, but they are the most addictive drug, and cause more long term health problems than any other drug. Interestingly, while adults are finally starting to smoke less, young people have been smoking more and more. In fact, the number of teenagers smoking has been steadily rising over the past ten years. Why? Well, despite loads of convincing information telling us how harmful cigarettes are for our health, to most young people these risks seem too far off in the future to worry about now. Unlike other drugs, the harm from nicotine shows up later on in life, making the need to quit seem much less urgent.

How Does Nicotine Work? When a person smokes tobacco (by far and away the most common form of nicotine use), nicotine is absorbed very quickly into the blood through the lungs and passes within seconds to the brain. Therefore, very soon after having your first drag of a cigarette, you can feel its effects. Within ten minutes, there is a peak concentration of nicotine in the lungs, blood and brain. Then, the nicotine starts to distribute itself to other body tissues and levels of nicotine in the brain decline. Thirty minutes later, the nicotine has left the brain, leaving the smoker ready for another cigarette. It happens very fast. Nicotine, as a powerfully addictive drug, causes three predictable behaviors in smokers:

“So I’ll quit later, when I’m older or something.” - Kara. >> It makes them want more. Because the desire to get more outweighs logic, people will continue to smoke despite knowing that it is harmful to their health. They will also spend increasing amounts of money on cigarettes – from hundreds to thousands of dollars a year per smoker.

That’s the idea that a lot of young people have. “I’ll quit before the wrinkles, the discoloured skin, the breathing problems and the lung cancer have a chance to set in.” The problem with that? Nicotine is addictive, which means it’s extremely difficult, though not impossible, to quit smoking. In fact, most addicted smokers began smoking as teenagers!

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

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\\\\\

Quitting There are a lot of different methods used for quitting smoking. The truth of the matter is, quitting smoking is painful and difficult no matter which way you slice it. Bearing through the cravings and stress, especially at the beginning, is the most important thing to do. Quitting smoking is difficult for a couple of reasons. So far, we’ve been talking mainly about the physical aspects of the addiction. But let’s not forget that smoking is a habit - a habit that can provide a lot of comfort to people. Quitting

can be very difficult, for example, if you are used to having a cigarette after lunch, or in the smoke pit with your friends. Smoking can provide a way to socialize and connect with others, even if it’s only a surface connection. All of a sudden, you may not know what to do with your hands, or you may find yourself feeling really antsy in the situations you would normally be smoking in if you’re trying to quit. These are all common struggles experienced by people trying to quit, and it’s normal to be tempted. Whether or not you give in to your temptations is all up to you.

>> Tolerance. If you were to smoke for the first time, you would likely experience dizziness and nausea. If you continued to smoke, these effects would go away within days. Tolerance to the other effects of nicotine develops even more rapidly, and smokers will increase their dosage and frequency of smoking in order to still feel the effects of nicotine. So if you started out just having drags of your friend’s cigarette, you would probably go on to having one all to yourself; first bumming one off another person, and then gradually buying your own. When a smoker stops smoking, he or she will quickly go into withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine are:

Effects on the body, brain & behavior >> Adolescents who are smokers are twice as likely as non-smoking adolescents to suffer from an episode of major depression, and teens with longterm depression are more likely to be smokers than teens without depression >> Smoking causes lung cancer and chronic lung diseases, like emphysema >> Smoking increases the risk of heart disease by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, creating extra stress on the heart >> Smoking effects circulation, making the skin of smokers thinner and more wrinkled >> Smoking can delay the physical and mental development in the fetuses of pregnant women

>> Cravings (i.e. powerful urges to use the drug) >> Irritability (i.e. everyone and everything is getting on your nerves) >> Preoccupation (i.e. you can’t stop thinking about how badly you need a smoke) It’s no wonder, then, that most people find it so difficult to stop.

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PAGE // 19


Being drunk screws you up just as much as being high, and don’t let anyone tell you different.

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

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JOHNA B. SMITHER C.A. Chartered Accountant

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

SMITHER & COMPANY 90 Twelfth Avenue Anytown, Province V8V 3P3 Tel: • 555 • 681-0696 Fax: • 555 • 682-3595 Toll-Free: 1-866-681-0696 E-mail • smither@fake.com

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Bill’s Woodshop 7383 Maple Tree Rd. Anytown, Prov Tel: (555) 681-0696

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\\\\\

“Alcohol was the first ‘drug’ I tried. I figured because it was legal that it had to be okay. Out of all the drugs I tried, alcohol was one of the most impairing. Being drunk screws you up just as much as being high, and don’t let anyone tell you different. At first it was just fun to be all hyper and silly, but then the fighting started, and after a long night of drinking, sometimes I’d black out and not remember what happened the next day. It got to be pretty bad….” — Zach

>> alcohol

Alcohol is legal, sold in every province, and used for many different reasons – to socialize, relax, party, and overcome shyness being major ones. Some of the signs of problem alcohol use are:

CRAVING //

Physical Effects: >> Co-ordination is impaired, leading to clumsiness, difficulty walking and slower reflexes, resulting in an increased possibility of serious accidents >> With continuous use, high blood pressure and damage to the heart >> Liver damage >> If drinking when pregnant, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – resulting in physical and mental impairments to the baby >> When alcohol is mixed with other drugs, it can be life threatening

a strong need, or compulsion, to drink.

IMPAIRED CONTROL //

the inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion.

PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE //

withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking.

TOLERANCE //

the need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects.

Mental and Emotional Effects:

Factors influencing alcohol dependency: family history of alcoholism, influence of friends, stress, and the ease of obtaining alcohol can all influence an individual’s vulnerability to alcohol misuse. Rates of alcohol problems tend to be highest among young adults aged 18-29.

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>> Disinhibition, or the tendency to behave in which one would not normally behave >> Increase in aggressive and violent behaviour (i.e. fighting, crime) >> Depression >> Problems with school and learning: the more a student drinks, the lower his or her grades

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PAGE // 21


>>alcohol and

energy drinks

The newest trend amongst partying youth is to mix an alcoholic beverage (vodka, rum, gin, etc.) with a commercial energy drink. You’ve probably seen energy drinks before. Most energy drinks are carbonated, and contain large amounts of caffeine and sugar. Some of the additional ingredients include B vitamins, amino acids such as taurine, and some include herbal stimulants such as guarana and ginseng. Energy drinks are marketed primarily to youth as a stimulant. Mixing alcohol with energy drinks may seem like a great idea. After all, even though alcohol initially helps you to feel outgoing and boisterous, there is that inevitable point when you crash, and feel tired and lethargic. The stimulating qualities of an energy drink can counteract the fatigue and help you party all through the night. Sounds great! Alcohol, energy drinks and related heart problems. Combining alcohol and energy drinks can actually be dangerous and harmful. Energy drinks, either as a mixer or on their own, initially feel like the perfect solution to perk up when that slow, sleepy feeling sets in. However, when an energy drink like is consumed along with alcohol, the high levels of caffeine in these drinks can boost heart rate and

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

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"Energy drinks have a lot of stimulants in them like ginseng and taurine, while alcohol is a depressant; by mixing the two you're sending mixed messages to your nervous system which can cause cardiac related problems," Steve Clarke, director of the College Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, explains. Non medical problems. One major study conducted by researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine showed that students who mixed alcohol and energy drinks had double the risk of being hurt or injured, requiring medical attention, driving with an intoxicated driver, being taken advantage of sexually, or taking advantage of another sexually. "Students whose motor skills, visual reaction times, and judgment are impaired by alcohol may not perceive that they are intoxicated as readily when they're also ingesting a stimulant," describes Mary Claire O'Brien, lead researcher.

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blood pressure, causing palpitations, according to National Institute of Health in the U.S.A. Mixing these drinks with alcohol further increases the risk of heart rhythm problems.

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\\\\\ Mixing these drinks with alcohol further increases the risk of heart rhythm problems.

"Only the symptoms of drunkenness are reduced -- but not the drunkenness. They can't tell if they're drunk; they can't tell if someone else is drunk. So they get hurt, or they hurt someone else." In other words, energy drinks can trick people into thinking they are more sober than they really are, when in actuality they are every bit as drunk - they just feel less drunk. Sara (not her real name), a popular 16-year old high school student who loves to party, described her experience mixing a popular energy drink that has a whopping 80 mg of caffeine, with vodka. “Not only did it make the drink go down easier due to the sweet taste, I also felt like I was able to keep going all night! I was dancing until 3 am without getting tired or feeling like I needed to take a break.” Don’t see a problem with that? Well, listen to the rest of what Sara has to say. “Although it was fun at first, I actually ended up drinking way more than I did before I started mixing with Red Bull. So that meant worse hangovers, sometimes so bad that I spent the entire next day in bed.”

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Effects on the body & behavior >> Can boost heart rate and blood pressure, causing palpitations and other cardiac rhythm problems. >> Increases the risk of: >> being hurt or injured. >> driving with an intoxicated driver. >> being taken advantage of sexually, or taking advantage of another sexually.

Of course, we would prefer that you didn’t drink at all, as alcohol is an addictive substance that has many harmful physical and social consequences. However, if you must drink, avoid mixing alcohol with any caffeinated beverages or stimulants. Instead, alternate every alcoholic drink with water or Gatorade. Staying hydrated will prevent the ill effects of dehydration that result in those wicked hangovers you get from drinking to excess. Not only will you feel better the next day, but hydration actually prevents fatigue and burnout, leaving you with more energy. Not only will you feel better, but you are also far less likely to be the subject of the morning-after gossip!

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7383 Maple Tree Rd. Anytown, Province Tel: (555) 681-0696 • Fax: (555) 682-3595

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PAGE // 23


Somewhere along the line I just got way too into smoking up with my friends, and nothing else was as important.

Don’t be fooled! Drugs and alcohol aren’t as glamorous as they seem!

this message brought to you by a caring member of the community

JOHNA B. SMITHER C.A. Chartered Accountant

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

SMITHER & COMPANY 90 Twelfth Avenue Anytown, Province V8V 3P3 Tel: • 555 • 681-0696 Fax: • 555 • 682-3595 Toll-Free: 1-866-681-0696 E-mail • smither@fake.com

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PAGE // 24

Bill’s Woodshop 7383 Maple Tree Rd. Anytown, Prov Tel: (555) 681-0696

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“I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with weed. I mean, right now it’s like a comfortable old friend. I feel safe and good

Common Terms:

when it’s around. But when I look at the direction my life has gone in the past couple of years, I know that things would be really different without weed. I was never a straight ‘A’ student, but now school is a total write-off. I don’t think I’m passing anything! Somewhere along the line I just got way too into smoking up with my friends, and nothing else was as important. I have the life to show for it now, and I’m not sure how to get out of it.” — Kara

Short Term Effects: >> Increase in heart rate, possibly leading to anxiety and paranoia >> Distorted concept of time and space >> Decrease in concentration skills, short-term memory capacity >> Feeling tired after the high wears off. >> Increase in appetite, weight gain

>> Marijuana is most commonly rolled and smoked in a “joint” or “doob”. It can also be smoked through a pipe or a bong; smoking marijuana through a water bong is considerably less harmful to lungs >> The main active chemical in marijuana is THC. The THC potency of marijuana has increased significantly since the 1970’s. Many hydroponically grown forms of marijuana have a very high (up to 20%) THC content

Long Term Effects: >> Marijuana contains many of the same chemicals found in tobacco smoke. People who smoke marijuana over a long period of time often develop the same breathing problems as smokers do. Their risk of developing lung cancer is also significantly higher than for non-marijuana smokers >> THC can also damage the cells and tissues in the body that help protect people from disease >> Lack of motivation >> Difficulty processing new information

>> There are over 400 additional chemicals in marijuana

What are the Effects of Marijuana? Marijuana is frequently smoked socially; therefore, people who smoke pot tend to smoke as a group activity. Marijuana use can negatively impact a person’s life, particularly in the areas of school, work, sports and motivation.

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pot weed bud doob spliff

>> marijuana

Marijuana is the most common and mainstream of all the “illicit” drugs; it is smoked by a wide range of people of different ages, backgrounds and professions.

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PAGE // 25


While inhalants may seem safe because they are found in household items, they are in fact extremely harmful.

>>inhalants Some examples of inhalants… >> Common household items, such as paint thinners, cleaning fluids, gasoline, glue, white-out and felt-tip markers >> Aerosols, which are sprays that contain propellants and solvents and include spray paint, deodorant, vegetable oils and fabric protector >> Gases, such as nitrous oxide, butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream dispensers and refrigerants >> Nitrites, which relax the muscles and are sold on the street as “poppers” or “snappers” Who uses inhalants? Because inhalants are usually found in the household, they attract younger children (under age 12), or adults who cannot afford the price of alcohol or street drugs. Inhalant abuse reaches its peak during the seventh to ninth grades, and can be a gateway to abusing other kinds of drugs. Poverty, a history of child abuse, poor grades and dropping out of school are all associated with inhalant abuse. How are inhalants used? Inhalants are breathed in through the nose or mouth in a variety of ways, such as: >> “Sniffing” or “snorting” fumes from containers >> Spraying aerosols directly into the nose and mouth >> “Bagging” – sniffing or inhaling fumes from substances sprayed into a paper or plastic bag >> “Huffing” from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth >> Inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide

PAGE // 26

What are some of the risks of inhaling? Within minutes of inhalation, the user feels effects similar to those produced by alcohol, including lack of coordination, dizziness, euphoria and difficulty speaking. Intoxication from inhalant use only lasts a few minutes, so abusers often try to keep the high going by continuing to inhale repeatedly over the course of several hours – which is very dangerous. With repeated inhalations, abusers can lose consciousness and even die. Using inhalants can lead to uncontrollable use. Some of the symptoms that long-term users exhibit are weight loss, muscle weakness, disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of co-ordination, irritability and depression. What are the medical consequences of inhalant abuse? Inhalants are very dangerous, and in some situation can lead to brain damage, organ damage or death caused by choking. Inhalants damage brain cells beyond repair, and therefore can lead to permanent abnormalities in thinking, learning and memory. While inhalants may seem safe because they are found in household items that you don’t have to buy on the street, they are in fact extremely harmful.

Signs of Inhalant Abuse: >> Chemical odours on the breath or clothing >> Paint or other stains on face, hands or clothes >> Hidden empty spray or solvent containers and chemical-soaked rags >> Drunk or disoriented appearance >> Slurred speech >> Nausea or loss of appetite >> Inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability and depression

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


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>> cocaine + crack “Well, I guess I’m the resident drug expert here! Cocaine, out of all the drugs I took, was the most instantly transforming. One snort and I felt like a different person. I couldn’t sit still, I was talking a mile a minute, and I felt full of confidence and importance. Twenty minutes later, I landed back on earth with a crash. All I could think about was how I could get more so I could get that feeling back. I switched to crack after a while because it was cheaper and I could buy it right on the street. Later, when I started to use it all the time, I’d be really irritable and depressed when I came down. It took almost a year for the depression to go away after I stopped using.” — Zach

Cocaine is a white powder that comes from the leaves of the coca plant. “Coke” can be snorted, smoked or injected. It is a stimulant with a very short high that lasts between 5-20 minutes. Crack is a smokable form of cocaine that is highly addictive even after only a few uses. Crack and cocaine are both extremely powerful drugs that take over all aspects of an addict’s life. Both drugs are very habit forming and both physically and psychologically addictive.

Over time, and/or larger doses: >> Aggressive, hostile, erratic behaviour >> Hallucinations >> Rapid and irregular heartbeat >> Increased paranoia >> Impotence >> Depression

Psychological effects: >> Paranoia and confusion >> Cocaine psychosis: losing touch with reality, loss of interest in friends and family, self-harm >> Crashing: after doing coke, people “crash” and become very depressed and tired

Use/abuse of cocaine and crack will cause: >> Increased blood pressure and heart rate >> Rapid breathing >> Constriction of blood vessels >> Decreased appetite >> Sweating >> Restlessness, insomnia >> Paranoia, anxiety >> Dilated pupils

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PAGE // 27


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Common Terms:

ecstasy e.

>> mdma Nicknamed the “love drug,” ecstasy is known for the feelings of warmth and empathy experienced while on the drug, as well as the sense of energy and alertness it produces in users.

Physical Effects:

Negative Effects: Users often experience jitters and teeth clenching. Overdose can lead to hypertension and kidney failure.

>> Dehydration

>> Increased heart rate, hyperactivity, excess energy

>> Nausea and loss of appetite >> Clenching of jaw muscles

Dangerous Combinations with Other Drugs: MDMA can be dangerous if taken in conjunction with antidepressants that are MAO inhibitors. It also should not be taken with alcohol.

Mental Effects: >> Mild distortions of perception

How MDMA Works in the Brain: MDMA increases levels of serotonin and makes it more available to the brain, which leads to the notorious mood boosting properties of the drug. However, repeated use of ecstasy leads to possible serotonin loss, which feels like chronic depression. Furthermore, ecstasy use – especially repeated use of high doses – has been responsible for a number of psychiatric/psychological problems, such as panic attacks and paranoia.

>> Psychological dependence >> Withdrawal from ecstasy causes fatigue and depression

“All of the above about Ecstasy is true, but there’s one more thing: ‘E’ is what introduced me to all the other ‘club drugs’. Read on for more details….” — Zach

PAGE // 28

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


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>> hallucinogens “Being on acid was the weirdest experience I’ve ever had. I needed to separate myself from everyone around me, so I just sat in this room alone for, like, three hours and stared at the walls. At first it was really cool and I was tripping out and seeing all these wild things, but then I felt really scared and alone. I started to think really dark, depressing thoughts, and I felt like I was alone in the world. That is one drug I’ll never do again.” — Kara Hallucinogens are drugs that drastically alter one’s thought processes, mood and perceptions. At high doses, these drugs cause users to perceive an experience as actually happening when, in fact, it is not. At lower doses, they cause milder distortions in perception, thought and emotion, but not imagined events. The experience is determined by the user’s previous drug experience, expectations and the context in which the drug is taken, as well as the amount of the dose.

and isolation one might develop while using (often called a “bad trip”).

PSILOCYBIN (‘MAGIC MUSHROOMS’) //

has very similar, although slightly milder effects as those of LSD. As with LSD, the most negative effects caused by mushrooms are the intense feelings of anxiety and/or depression that sometimes develop while using.

PHENCYCLIDINE (PCP, “ANGEL DUST”) AND KETAMINE (“SPECIAL K”) // are frequently taken for the euphoria and stimulation they produce. At the same time, they also cause a drunken-like state in their users, characterized by poor coordination, slurred speech, and drowsiness. At higher doses, it leads to a detachment from one’s environment, often noticed as a consistent blank stare. PCP users frequently find themselves in trouble with the law as a result of their poor reflexes and judgement, and general state of agitation.

Types of hallucinogens LSD (ACID) //

is one of the most common hallucinogens. It is the longest-acting of the hallucinogens; the drug remains active in the body for up to 12 hours. The physical effects of LSD include numbness, muscle weakness, trembling and often nausea. Slight bodily pain is also common. Despite widespread rumours, LSD is not stored in the spinal fluid for months, and does not remain hidden in any organ. It also does not cause long-term damage to the brain. Short-term side effects are tolerance and exhaustion. However, there are definite risks involved with taking LSD. People who are on acid experience things not as they really are, including visions, sounds and feelings. Therefore, driving, swimming and any other activity which requires a grasp on reality can be potentially hazardous and/or life threatening. Another unpleasant effect of taking LSD is the high state of anxiety

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Common Terms:

h. horse down brown mojo smack

>> heroin Heroin is either smoked or injected, and is extremely addictive. People who use heroin become dependent very quickly, drawn to the rush of pleasure they experience when using. However, the withdrawal effects of heroin use are very painful (anyone see the movie Trainspotting?), making it a really difficult drug to quit. Once people become addicted to heroin, they continue to use–mostly to prevent themselves from feeling sick. Heroin is a depressant, and therefore slows down all the processes in the mind and body.

Physical Effects: >> Slower breathing >> Flushed skin >> Pinpoint pupils >> Nausea and vomiting >> Constipation

OVERDOSE //

Because of the profound physical effects of using heroin, death by overdose is a major possibility. This happens because breathing slows down to the point where it stops altogether. This can happen with a single dose, meaning someone can die of a heroin overdose the very first time they use! Unfortunately, the composition of street heroin varies widely, and the purity of the drug is never known to the user. Therefore, it is very possible for the user to receive a dose that is much higher than expected.

WITHDRAWAL //

Withdrawal from heroin is miserable, but not life threatening. Physically, it feels like a very bad flu: fatigue, sweating, aching and diarrhea. These symptoms go away after about a week.

>> Nodding of the head (looks like nodding off to sleep) >> Decreased ability to feel pain >> Increased risk of contracting Hepatitis A and C, and HIV, through infected needles

Mental and Emotional Effects: >> Dreamy, pleasant state >> Psychologic addiction; user becomes preoccupied with how to get more heroin

“Never did it… I was too scared I’d never get off it, like everyone else I know who tried it.” Zach

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DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


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methamphetamines

>> speed, meth, crank, crystal meth “These are the ‘club drugs’ I was talking about – drugs that you do at a party, rave, or nightclub. Crystal meth became my drug of choice when I realized it was a combination of ecstasy and cocaine: it gave me the energy and rush of coke and crack, but lasted all night, like ecstasy. I would go for days without eating or sleeping when I used crystal. When I came off the drug I would sleep for a couple days, then go out and use again. Quitting this drug was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.” — Zach

Physical Effects: >> Increased heart and respiratory rate >> High blood pressure >> Dizziness and blurred vision >> Anxiety and restlessness >> Decreased appetite

Methamphetamines are stimulants that are very similar to amphetamines and are becoming very widely used by teenagers. Speed, one form of methamphetamine, can be swallowed in pill form, snorted or injected, and has a high that lasts from 2-4 hours. Crystal meth is usually snorted or smoked, and sometimes injected. The high lasts from 4-14 hours and is highly addictive, both physically and psychologically.

Mental and Emotional Effects:

Crystal meth and speed are used to increase alertness, stay awake, feel stronger and more confident, and to create euphoric, “feel good” effects.

>> Exhaustion

>> High energy when on the drug; extremely low energy when coming down from the drug >> Depression and irritability when withdrawing >> Powerful urges to use the drug and extreme difficulty resisting use

Signs of use: >> Excessive activity and movement >> Talking a lot, often argumentatively >> Irritability and paranoia >> Nervousness >> Noticeable weight loss and sleeplessness >> Euphoria

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“ I’d never before felt so happy, so powerful, and in control. I felt amazingly good...until I started coming down.” Hayley* and Lisa* are animated and articulate seventeen year-olds. They are attractive and neatly dressed, yet have enough edge so that they wouldn’t be passed off as “preps.” Enthusiastic and bright, at times they interrupt each other as they speak. It doesn’t hurt that they are fascinated by their subject matter. *Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the interviewees.

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No matter where you grow up,

crystal meth can weasel its way into your life.

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DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


“I’d never before felt so happy, so powerful, and in control. I felt amazingly good…until I started coming down.” ���I had a crazy sense of freedom and energy when I used. The best part was being part of one big happy family. Even once we moved to the street I felt a sense of meaning and purpose.” Hayley and Lisa are talking about their experiences with crystal meth, the drug that at one point took over their lives. Perhaps you’ve heard of crystal meth from a school presentation, sound bites on the radio or TV, or your parents telling you to stay away from it. Or, if you’re like Hayley, the first time you’ve heard of it was when it was offered to you in a friend’s basement. Hayley was in grade 11 at the time and into the rave scene. She had been doing ecstasy at raves, but was getting tired of some of ecstasy’s side effects, especially the depression and fatigue. She hadn’t really thought much about crystal meth, let alone had it offered to her, until one night when she was hanging out with friends and it was offered to her. “It was the first time I’d ever seen it,” she recalls, “and I’d hardly heard anything about it before. I’ve never been afraid to try anything, so I took some, and from then on I used it every day. It was cheaper than anything else, the high lasted longer and it was easy to get. I was hooked.” Lisa was in grade 8 living in a small town. She was smoking weed so much that she wasn’t getting stoned on it anymore. One day she saw her older sister and her boyfriend smoking crystal meth. “They were having a lot of fun,” she remembers. “Grade 8 was my worst year. I was having a really hard time. I saw them and they looked happy… I figured I had nothing to lose.” Like Hayley, Lisa had never seen crystal meth, and didn’t even know what it was. “As soon as I could get it every day I was a full fledged addict.” Getting it every day, she explained, was not difficult. Every high school has a couple of dealers, and just a few bucks will get you high. When Hayley describes her initial experience with crystal meth, it sounds like the beginning of a typical teenage romance. “At first it was wildly exciting. I felt free and untroubled. I felt like a different person when I was using –

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“As soon as I could get it every day I was a full fledged addict.” confident, sexy and full of energy.” Soon, however, meth started to resemble the boyfriend usually imagined in a parent’s worst fears. ”My love of meth took me to the streets of downtown Vancouver, because that’s where all the action was. Life on the streets meant no nagging parents, no homework and, most importantly, no boredom. The fighting, stealing and sexual assaults came along as part of the package, but by then I was already sucked into that scene. At the time, my parents were going through a divorce, and I couldn’t handle them anymore. So I left. The street was my new home.”

The highs were becoming shorter and shorter and the lows were unbearbale.” When asked what finally ended their love affair with meth, Lisa and Hayley become quieter and more reflective. “The highs were becoming shorter and shorter and the lows were unbearable,” Lisa recalls. “I was anxious, depressed and angry all the time, and the only thing that could bring me out

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of it was more drugs.” Lisa took the initiative to contact a former teacher who had previously expressed concern about her drug use. “I went to see her and told her I was ready for her to help me.” Shortly after, Lisa entered a residential treatment centre that helped her detox from the drug and stabilize. Shortly afterwards, she moved to the city and started a day treatment program for youth who are overcoming substance abuse.

>>>> “ There’ve been a lot of ups and downs, but I haven’t gone back to using. I am finally starting to feel my feelings instead of controlling them with drugs, and I’m finding other ways to cope with them.” Hayley’s decision to stop using was more sudden.

“My love of meth took me to the streets of downtown Vancouver, because that’s where all the action was....”

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“I got caught stealing and I spent 5 nights in the youth jail. That was the worst experience of my life. When I got out, I was set up with a probation officer who made drug and alcohol treatment a mandatory condition of my probation.” Through weekly counselling sessions and daily participation in the same day treatment program Lisa attended, Hayley became aware of the destructive pattern of her drug use, and made some important changes in her life. “I’ve always been really independent and a total risktaker,” Hayley says proudly. “I like that quality in myself, and I realize now that I can find healthier ways to be that way.” Although not always enjoyable, an important part of the counselling process for Hayley has been family counselling. “My parents and I had a lot of anger towards each other, and counselling has helped us work through that. We’re starting to understand how we can relate to

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


one another with more respect and tolerance, and we’re learning to communicate without becoming hostile or freaking out.” Hayley and Lisa believe strongly that if they had known more about crystal meth and its powerful effects they would not have been so quick to try it. Both declare it their mission to inform and support other young people who are at risk of becoming heavily involved with drugs. “The best way to treat serious drug use,” Lisa says thoughtfully, “is to stop it before it starts.”

Hayley and Lisa believe strongly that if they had known more about crystal meth and its powerful effects they would not have been so quick to try it. Both declare it their mission to inform and support other young people who are at risk for become heavily involved with drugs. “The best way to treat serious drug use,” Lisa says thoughtfully, “is to stop it before it starts.”

“ The best way to treat serious drug use is to stop it before it starts.”

>>>>

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Methamp >> METH>> CHALK

CRYSTAL METH, AKA: SPEED

Crystal meth is part of a category of drugs known as “methamphetamines.” Methamphetamine (MA), which is known by various street names including speed, meth, crystal meth and chalk, is a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that readily dissolves in water or alcohol. It can be snorted, swallowed, injected or smoked. In its smokable form it is referred to as: ‘ice,’ ‘crank,’ ‘crystal,’ ‘glass’ or ‘tina’ because of its transparent, sheet-like crystals, and is smoked in a pipe like crack cocaine. The smoke is odourless and leaves a residue that may be resmoked. Immediately after smoking or injecting the drug, the user experiences an intense rush that lasts for only a few minutes but is

PAGE // 36

extremely pleasurable. This rush is followed by a prolonged euphoria, or "high." Snorting or taking the drug orally produces euphoria but not the rush. Snorting produces effects within 3-5 mins and oral use produces effects within 15-20 mins. The duration of the effects can vary and depends on the amount taken. Effects tend to last for 4-12 hours or more. MA is a powerful stimulant that increases attention, decreases fatigue, increases activity, decreases appetite and increases respiration. The actual prevalence of crystal meth use amongst adolescent students is low (4%) compared to alcohol (58%), marijuana (37%) and mushrooms (13%). However, this number jumps dramatically for street youth; 70% have used crystal meth.

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


phetamines high body temperature, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, stroke and death. The risk of overdose is highest when the drug is injected.

try it, even experimentally, end up becoming dependent. Tolerance to the effects

of methamphetamine builds up quickly in regular users, which means they need more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effect. When dependent users stop taking methamphetamine, they have strong cravings for the drug, and within a few days will experience withdrawal symptoms including stomach pain, hunger, headaches, shortness of breath, tiredness and depression.

depression paranoia delusional thoughts and psychosis mood swings rage and violence possible long-term damage to brain cells

>>>

The addictive potential of crystal meth is much higher than that of other drugs, meaning that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very difficult to use meth in moderation. Many people who

The effects of crystal meth on the brain, body and behaviour can be severe and long-lasting. These include:

Crystal meth can present very dangerous threats to people who use it occasionally, or even to first time users. Methamphetamine causes the heart to beat faster and blood pressure to rise. Since the content of the drug sold varies widely, it is difficult to judge the size of a dose. An overdose of methamphetamine can result in seizures,

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Fetal Alcohol >>Spectrum Disorder What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?? Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) - also referred to as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)– is a series of problems with physical development, learning and behaviour caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. FASD can include a range of birth defects including: >> Abnormal facial features >> Central nervous system problems >> Problems with memory, learning and attention span >> Problems communicating and expressing oneself >> Problems with vision or hearing >> Difficulties in school and problems getting along with others Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a permanent condition, and cannot be cured. It is only caused by drinking during pregnancy, and is therefore 100% preventable; if a woman does not drink alcohol while she is pregnant, her baby will have no chance of developing FASD.

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Is there any safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant? Is there a safe time during pregnancy to drink alcohol? Think of it this way: when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her unborn baby. There is no “safe” way to consume alcohol when pregnant. There is no “safe” time to drink during pregnancy: the harmful effects of drinking on an unborn fetus can happen in every stage of pregnancy. Therefore, women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should not drink. If you are sexually active and not using an effective form of birth control, you are at high risk for becoming pregnant and should not drink. How does alcohol cause these problems? Alcohol in the mother’s blood crosses the placenta freely and enters the growing embryo or fetus through the umbilical cord. Exposure to alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy can cause structural defects (like facial abnormalities). Growth and central nervous system problems can stem from the effects of alcohol at any stage in the pregnancy. The fetus’ brain is developing throughout the pregnancy, and can be damaged at any time.

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a permanent condition, and cannot be cured.>> What kind of alcohol can cause damage? All drinks containing alcohol can harm a baby. A 12-ounce can of beer contains the same amount of alcohol as a 4ounce glass of wine or a 1-ounce shot of hard alcohol. What if Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m pregnant now and have been drinking? Is there any point to my stopping now? If a woman has been drinking during pregnancy, it is never too late for her to stop. The sooner a woman stops drinking, the better her babyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chances for normal development. Any woman who has a problem with drinking and is sexually active should use an effective method of birth control, like condoms or the Pill, until her drinking is under control. What if I know someone who is drinking during her pregnancy? Is there anything I can do to help? Mothers are not the only ones who can prevent FASD. Significant others, family members, friends, schools and counsellors can prevent FASD through education and support. If you know someone who is pregnant and still drinking, gently share share this information with her, and encourage her to seek help from the Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network (www.region6fasd.ca.)

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...and in case you’re

>>>>>

wondering

How come one of the common side effects of ecstasy is depression? The reason ecstasy produces such a noticeable high is because it stimulates production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that controls mood. However, it doesn’t take the brain too long to figure out it is out of balance, so it reacts by preventing serotonin from being absorbed by the brain. Because serotonin is needed to keep our moods balanced, in its absence we feel down and depressed. How does smoking marijuana affect your lungs? Aside from THC (the active chemical in marijuana that gets you “high,” there are over 400 other chemicals in marijuana, many of which are also found in tobacco smoke. Prolonged use of marijuana has the same effect on the lungs as smoking cigarettes. What influence does frequent pot smoking have on your short-term memory? Smoking marijuana interferes with one’s ability to process and retain information and to concentrate. This makes it difficult to study and absorb information in school. Forgetfulness is also common, as is losing one’s train of thought easily. What are some of the signs of a physical dependency to a substance? Physical dependency occurs when your body is so used to drugs that it

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gets really sick without them. Withdrawal, the body’s reaction to not getting the drug, is a sign of physical dependency. Withdrawal symptoms depend on the drug. For stimulant drugs like cocaine and crystal meth, withdrawal usually entails depression, lack of energy and fatigue. For depressant drugs, like alcohol and heroin, the withdrawal symptoms are usually shaking, sweating, headaches and nausea. Withdrawal effects usually last up to a week. Tolerance is also a sign of physical dependency. This is when the same amount of the drug that used to get you high/drunk is no longer enough, and your body needs larger or more frequent doses.

What are some of the signs of a psychological dependency on a substance? Psychological dependency means that while your body might not necessarily need drugs, you have trouble coping with everyday life without drugs. Drugs start to be used to manage stress, deal with boredom and give you a lift in your mood, and without them, anxiety, irritability, and emotional flatness is experienced. What are the potential risks of the following methods of taking drugs by injection? Infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C are easily transmitted through sharing needles used to inject drugs. Overdose is also a risk, as the purity of street drugs is often not known to

the user, and injection delivers the drugs directly into the bloodstream.

How does doing drugs affect school? Drugs affect school in all kinds of ways. First of all, the time spent doing drugs, being high and trying to get drugs doesn’t leave a lot of time left for going to class regularly and doing homework. Also, drugs interrupt our ability to concentrate and retain information, making it difficult to learn and remember important material for tests. Most people with problem drug use start to notice their grades dropping; some people stop going to school altogether when drugs start to take over. Do drugs really kill brain cells? There is no doubt that drug use alters brain chemistry and can slow down normal processes, but there are only two types of drugs that actually kill brain cells beyond repair: inhalants (gasoline, solvents, glue, etc.) and alcohol. Yes, it’s true: alcohol is not the fun-and-games all those beer commercials would like you to believe it is. Again, it is not usually one factor that is the cause of drug use. Usually, it is a combination of two or more factors from each list. As a general rule: encouraging environment + at risk person + access to drugs = problem drug use. ////

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


> >> what makes us use? There are many factors that contribute towards drug and alcohol use in young people. Usually, there are a few factors that contribute to drug use. Whatever these factors may be, it is important to remember that the

most important factor determining drug use is your decision to use or not to use.

Personal Factors that Increase Risk of Drug Use >> Family history of drug use >> Depression >> Age (teenagers are more likely to use drugs than other age groups) >> Low self-esteem >> ADD or ADHD >> Learning disabilities >> Personality style (e.g. impulsive, risk-taking etc.)

Environmental Factors that Increase Risk of Drug Use >> Unstable family environment >> Highly controlling family environment >> Drug / alcohol use in family members >> Lack of strong attachment to adult figures >> High stress >> Having friends who use drugs >> Struggling with school >> Having problems fitting in with peers

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What is OxyContin? “I was just sick as a dog. Flu-like symptoms. You get jumpy and cranky. Also stomachaches and diarrhea. It's not fun... in fact it sucked really bad.”

OxyContin is a prescription painkiller similar to morphine, prescribed to people experiencing moderate to severe pain. Recently, OxyContin has shown up on the streets, being sold at a high price to people looking for a new and quick way to get high. OxyContin abuse has become a serious enough problem to alarm medical practitioners and parents, largely because of the increasing number of youth who are becoming hooked on this drug. Like other addictive prescription drugs, OxyContin abuse artificially stimulates the pleasure centres in your brain. In cancer patients and other people suffering from debilitating pain, this effect is necessary because it blocks the feeling of pain that would otherwise be unbearable. However, for those abusing OxyContin, the effect can lead to addiction, harm, and even death. How do people abuse it? Many people chew, snort or inject the medication to get an instant and intense "high." Frequent and repeated use of the drug can cause the user to develop a tolerance to its effects, so larger doses are required to elicit the desired sensation and the abuser becomes increasingly addicted to the drug.

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If you, or any of your friends, have taken OxyContin or other prescription pain relievers, here are the danger signs to watch for:

Side Effects and Danger Signs: >> Slow breathing (less than ten breaths a minute is really serious trouble) >> Small, pinpoint pupils >> Confusion >> Being tired, nodding off or passing out >> Dizziness >> Weakness >> Apathy (i.e. not caring about anything) >> Cold and clammy skin >> Nausea >> Vomiting >> Seizures A lot of these symptoms can make you think that your friend is drunk. You may be tempted to let him sleep it off, or tell his parents he had too much to drink. But don’t; your friend could go to sleep and never wake up. Anyone showing the above signs should be taken to the hospital immediately.

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


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>> oxycontin What makes people want to continue using it? If you continue to use OxyContin, it will eventually change the way your brain “works.” What this means is that it will become more and more difficult to experience pleasure from the things that used to put you in a good mood, like playing sports, spending time with friends and listening to good music. In other words, OxyContin outwits brain chemistry, causing users to derive more pleasure using OxyContin than they do in normal life. As the abuse continues, the body develops an increased tolerance for the drug, and will powerfully crave it in order to avoid unpleasant withdrawal effects. How should OxyContin abuse be treated? Characteristic of many substance abuse problems, OxyContin abuse cannot be treated effectively at home, but requires close supervision by a trained medical professional. Because OxyContin affects the brain's chemical make-up, drug abusers who attempt to detox at home will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. In a medical environment, these symptoms can be eased and someone undergoing detox can be made more comfortable. Contact your doctor or a local substance abuse counselling centre for more information on treating OxyContin addiction.

What some people who have experienced OxyContin addiction have to say… “It's pure hell. The hot and cold sweats, leg cramps, some abdominal problems, diarrhea and/or vomiting. You need not only to detox, but also to receive treatment. If you are really at your end, you will do WHATEVER it takes to get your life back. I did. I love life today. Good luck. The withdrawals are a long 2-3 weeks of no sleep. I know; I've been there. That's why it's almost impossible to do it out-patient or at home. You have issues to deal with, and need the reinforcement.” “I didn't sleep at all for almost 10 days. All of my bones severely ached. I could not sit still. I had a lot of back pain and headaches. I would have done anything to get the medication back.” “I was just sick as a dog. Flu-like symptoms. You get jumpy and cranky. Also stomach aches and diarrhea. It's not fun...in fact it sucked really bad.” Source: http://www.oxyabusekills.com/stories.html

Sources: http://www.oxycontin-addiction.us/oxycontin-abuse.htm http://www.gov.nf.ca/oxyinfo/factsheet.html

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Lets hear from the

experts >>>>>>

again...

Reading things on a list and hearing about them from someone who has been through or is going through them can be totally different. >> That’s why we invited Zack, Kara and Justin back for one last conversation. C’mon in, guys. >>

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Zack: Hey. Kara: What’s up? Justin: Hi. DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED DRUGS TO KNOW & ADDICTION: // VANCOUVER FACTS AND YOU LOWER NEEDMAINLAND TO KNOW


>>> So, I’m curious about something. You guys all seem pretty different. Zack, you’ve been on the streets, and you’ve been through a lot of tough life experiences. Kara, you look like the type of girl who’d be really popular at school, and Justin, you have that skateboarder thing going. How did each of you end up getting into drugs? Or, Justin, with you the question would be “What is drawing you towards drugs?” Z: For me, it was a few things. First of all, there’s a long list of people in my family with an addiction. My uncle and my grandfather are both alcoholics, and my mom was addicted to tranquilizers and sleeping pills for a long time. I was always a bit of a loner growing up. I couldn’t really relate to anyone in my family and, even though I had some friends, I felt like an outsider. Looking back, I know I struggled with depression; I just didn’t know it then. In high school, all-of-a-sudden drugs and alcohol were all around, and everyone who did them seemed to have instant confidence and popularity. So I started to experiment — first with drinking, then with the drugs. And that is how three years of my life disappeared before my eyes. So for you, Zack, it really was the interaction of a few different things going on in your life that led you to abuse drugs. It’s amazing that you managed to get yourself out WWW.DAFACTS.COM

of it, considering how far in you were. Z: Yeah, well it wasn’t easy....When I made the decision to stop using drugs, I expected that things in my life would immediately improve. But instead, I realized how many things stayed the same. My family was still screwed up. My friends were still going nowhere. What’s more, I started to get depressed again, and this time I couldn’t turn to drugs to hide from it all. So what did you do? Z: I picked myself up and learned to cope. I went for counselling. I learned how to communicate better with my family. I registered in school again. It’s taken a while, but I feel like I’m finally figuring things out. Good for you, Zack. It has not been easy for you, that’s for sure. I feel really inspired by your story. Kara, are you ready to talk now? K: Yeah, although I’m not quite the hero that Zack is. That’s okay, Kara. We don’t care whether you’re a hero or not; your story and your insights are still important to us. K: Well, I don’t have a lot of the family problems that Zack had. I’m the youngest of three, and my two older sisters are both really good students and good at PAGE // 45


Somehow... weed always seems to make my motivations go up in smoke. sports. My dad’s a lawyer, and my mom used to teach until I was born, and now she stays at home. We were always a pretty close family; we used to go on family vacations together and stuff. As a kid, I used to dance a lot. I was pretty good at it, too. After seventh grade I gave it up because it was taking all of my time. I wanted to hang out with my friends after school, not go to dance class. My parents were pretty disappointed, because other than dancing, I was never really into that many things. School was never that easy for me, unlike my sisters. I always hated to do homework, and I basically felt like it took me longer to get things than other people. It got even harder as I got older. Drugs? I guess that started in eighth grade. I

remember the first time I smoked a joint with my friend Cheryl. We acted like total goofs! It was the first time in a while I didn’t feel really hard on myself, and I just relaxed and had fun. After that, weed just seemed to be around all the time, or maybe I just followed it around. The rest is kind of history. School hasn’t been too great - in fact, I’m pretty much failing everything. My parents are barely speaking to me, except to yell at me. My sisters think I’m a royal screw-up, too. Once in a while, I think about smoking less pot and trying to at least pass my classes so I can graduate high school. Sometimes I even think about getting back into dancing. Somehow, though, weed always seems to make my motivations go up in smoke.

>>>

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DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


I think you’re capable of much more than you’re willing to admit right now, Kara. When you are ready to make different choices, I bet you’ll see things change. Justin, what do you make of all this — are you any less confused than you were when we started off? J: Hearing Zack and Kara talk about their experiences and how drugs messed up their lives really made me think. I still want to be cool and fit in, but I definitely don’t want to screw-up school or get kickedout of my house. I guess I’m still a bit nervous about how to turn drugs down when they’re offered to me. Any ideas? K: How about just saying, “No thanks.” There’s no need to get fancy. Z: I wish I’d thought of that one!

>>>

J: I’ll try it out this weekend. “No thanks” doesn’t sound too hard. K: As for looking cool, just keep practicing those tricks on your skateboard. You can’t go wrong. You’ve all been very helpful. Your honesty and openness have helped to educate people and give them a dose of reality as far as drugs are concerned. K: You know, hearing myself tell my whole story like that was kind of different. It really made me realize some things. I don’t know where I’ll go from here, but things just might start to change one of these days. Well, we’d love to hear about it. In fact, I’d love to hear how all of you are doing in the future. You are all such interesting people. I wish you the best of luck. Keep in touch. ////

How about just saying, “No thanks.” There’s no need to get fancy.

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Drug Effects Assessment A common question young people ask is, “How do I know if my drug use is really becoming a problem?” >> We set out to discover the answer to this question by consulting the experts (youth just like you!). >> What follows is the product of our efforts: a list of over 100 drug related experiences that youth identified as negatively impacting their lives. But only YOU can determine how much drug related grief you’re willing to tolerate in your life. >> This checklist will help you get started in clarifying this question. Are you OK with having a score of 45 (meaning drugs have negatively affected your life in 45 different ways)? Or are you more comfortable with a score of 0, 5 or 10? After completing the questionnaire, you may want to discuss the results with a counsellor at school, or someone you really trust – maybe even your parents.

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Check off any of the following ways in which drugs or alcohol may have directly or indirectly affected your life

>>

Terry Bulych has been a Youth and Family Counsellor for the West Coast Alternatives Society for over 12 years. During that time, Terry has worked with thousands of teens and their parents, and is widely recognized as a leader in the youth addictions field. During the twelve years Terry worked at Alternatives, she also managed to obtain a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from Simon Fraser University.

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


\\\\\ School/Work>> not completing assignments, homework or studying

being defensive or having an angry attitude

skipping class to use, avoid being caught or to sleep

toward teachers

slipping grades

poor attitude toward school in general

failing classes

little motivation to participate in school

suspension from school

little motivation to look for a job

expulsion from school

difficulty finding a job

dropping out of school

being fired from a job

attending an “Alternative” school program difficulty concentrating; distraction poor memory skills feeling “dumb” difficulty learning withdrawing from school activities (sports, clubs, etc.)

Total:

Family>> experiencing increased conflict with parents

feeling fear of being caught by family members

or siblings

neglecting household chores

withdrawing from family members (i.e. not wanting to

avoiding family outings

be around them)

exposing your family to negative people by using the

breaking the family rules (e.g. curfew)

home to use or deal drugs

lying to family members

feeling different from your family

increasing secrecy from family (e.g. hiding drugs,

running away from home

money, etc.)

being kicked out of the house

making secret phone calls feeling guilt over hurting or disappointing family members breaking trust with family members

WWW.DAFACTS.COM

Total: PAGE // 49


\\\\\ Money/Law>> spending most of your money on drugs

stealing items from your home to sell or pawn

always feeling “broke”

(e.g. jewelry, CD’s, etc.)

owing friends or dealers money

“jacking” youth for money

worrying about paying off debts

being involved with the police

being the target of violence or intimidation because

being arrested by police

of unpaid drug debts

being charged with a crime

stealing money from your family

being on probation

stealing money from friends or other people

going to jail

committing crime to get money for drugs (e.g. B'n Es,

experiencing fear of being caught

fraud, breaking into cars, etc.)

experiencing paranoia of police or other

selling drugs

authority figures

exchanging sexual favours for money or drugs

rebelling against authority

Total:

Self>>

Peers>> experiencing rejection from old friends

believing you're not good at anything

losing a romantic relationship

not liking yourself

listening to peers tell you you’ve “changed”

not living your dreams

mistreating or victimizing other youth

having a reputation you don't like (e.g. druggie, pot

peer group is largely made up of using friends

head, burn-out, etc.)

losing interest in and quitting activities (sports,

being unable to follow through on small goals you've

hobbies, etc.) you once enjoyed

set for yourself

experiencing strained relationships with friends over

difficulty motivating yourself

money or drugs

feeling “lost”

experiencing increased conflict with friends

feeling alienated or different from everyone else feeling afraid to try new things

Total:

feeling like your life is stuck in a rut feeling like a tug-of-war is going on inside you between “good and bad” or “right and wrong”

Total: PAGE // 50

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


\\\\\ Health>>

Mood>>

low energy

irritability when not using

chronic fatigue

mood swings

sleeping-in on school days

feelings of anxiety or nervousness

sleeping during the day (e.g. after school naps)

feelings of depression or hopelessness

difficulty going to sleep without using at night

feelings of confusion

using drugs to go to sleep

feelings of loneliness or isolation

increased coughing

feelings of guilt

frequent colds, flus, bronchitis

feelings of shame (e.g. "I'm no good,” "I'm a

aggravation of asthma

bad person," etc.)

shortness of breath when exercising, going up stairs

feeling bored with your life

or running short distances

feeling numb (i.e. no feelings)

headaches

having suicidal thoughts

weight loss

attempting suicide

high-risk sexual activity (i.e. unsafe sex)

having cravings when you haven’t used

regrets about sexual choices

having an “I don’t care” attitude

physical injuries resulting from accidents while under

Total:

the influence of drugs car-related incidents (tickets, fines, accidents, charges, etc.)

Total:

Add up all the totals from each section. Add these totals to make a total score. Record your total score in the blank below.

Drug use has negatively affected my life in

different ways.

How do you feel about your score? Is your score higher or lower than you originally guessed? Are you prepared to continue paying this price to have drug use in your life? What would you like your score to be? How can you start to work towards making changes in your score? The only way to reduce your score is to reduce your drug use. Copyright 1999 Terry Bulych, Youth and Family Counsellor (Alternatives)

WWW.DAFACTS.COM

PAGE // 51


\\\\\

Resources for parents ////// If you are a parent who has been flipping through this book in the hopes that you will better understand teenage drug use, you’re definitely off to a good start. >> However, when parents suspect or find out their children are using drugs and alcohol, they find themselves in a difficult position. >> Your natural instinct is probably to “set them straight,” “lay down the law,” or to try to scare them out of using drugs and alcohol again. >> That’s when parents sometimes get into trouble. >>

PAGE // 52

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


The most important message you can convey to teenagers is that you care about them... >> WHOA. YOU MEAN PARENTS CAN’T CONTROL THEIR KIDS? Isn’t that their job? Well, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. When children are under the age of twelve, they look to their parents for security and guidance. In these years, parents have an enormous influence on their children – in the values they instil, in helping them make appropriate decisions, providing necessary nurturing and love, and modeling healthy behaviours and communication skills. While these remain important characteristics of the parent-child relationship, as children grow older their developmental tasks shift from seeking security and acceptance from their parents to struggling for individuation and control over their own lives. At the same time, they are drawn more and more to their peers for acceptance and belonging.

\\\\\ >> LEARN THE FACTS ABOUT DRUG AND ALCOHOL use instead of relying on popular myths and assumptions (see the resources at the back for more information) >> PREPARE HOW YOU WILL APPROACH your children with your concerns. The most important message you can convey to teenagers is that you care about them and that you are a person with whom they can discuss this sensitive topic. >> TREAT YOUR SONS OR DAUGHTERS as though they are the experts on their own lives. They are. The term “I need you to help me understand this” can be very useful.

Parents have good reason to be concerned about substance abuse in their teenagers. Drugs are extremely easy to obtain, and alcohol is present at many parties and socializing events. However, as a parent it is important to respond carefully to substance abuse concerns.

>> Teenagers will often give CONVINCING EXCUSES to respond to your suspicions or concerns. Saying “I would like to trust you enough to believe you” or “I’m not looking for an excuse, true or not true; I’m more concerned with the mixed messages I’m receiving” is a way to respond to the real issues rather than the excuses.

>> FIND SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOUR CHILD to whom you may vent your feelings of anger, fear, and guilt. It’s important to identify and express these feelings before approaching your son or daughter.

>> BE CLEAR on the fact that no matter how much you would like to, you cannot control your child’s choices. You can, however, learn to cope.

WWW.DAFACTS.COM

PAGE // 53


Don’t blame yourself or other people for your child’s drug use... >> Some common traps to avoid… >> DO NOT ASSUME you know exactly what is happening with your child, or that you understand all of the reasons behind his or her drug use. Give your child the opportunity to tell his or her story. >> IT IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to over-react by grounding your children indefinitely or using harsh punishment for experimentation; this simply sends the message that you don’t understand them, and that they need to hide everything they do from you. It is much more effective to engage them in a conversation about the pros and cons of experimenting with drugs. >> SCARE TACTICS OR THREATS are usually used out of desperation and only tend to work in the shortterm. They don’t foster responsible decision making in youth, and usually create mistrust towards parents.

>> DON’T BLAME YOURSELF or other people for your child’s drug use. As you will learn, there are many factors that contribute to substance abuse. Learning how to cope more effectively with this problem and how to communicate your concerns is far more important than laying the blame on yourself or others. >> LASTLY, DON’T FOOL YOURSELF into thinking that you can single-handedly change your child’s interest in drugs and alcohol. There is no magic formula for preventing teenagers from trying drugs: the best buffer is having honest discussions, exposing them to information, and letting them know that they are responsible for making choices about drugs, and that they are responsible for any consequences of their drug use.

>> LOADING ON THE GUILT (i.e. “how could you do this to me; what did I do wrong?”) is almost always a mistake – it usually only creates brief changes in behaviour, and invokes resentment. The same goes for nagging. >> DON’T PREVENT YOUR CHILDREN from experiencing the natural consequences of their drug use; for example, calling school to excuse absence to prevent suspension. “Rescuing” reduces the chance that your children will learn to take responsibility for their actions.

PAGE // 54

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


Concurrent >> Disorders KARA: Have you ever heard about Concurrent Disorders before?

Submitted by: Julie Green M.ED. Mental Health and Addictions Prevention Services, Vancouver Island Health Authority, South Island

able to sleep” could be a sign of something else, like depression. There are a number of people I know who have difficulty getting to sleep at night and are feeling tired all of the time, too. Does this mean these are withdrawal symptoms from their alcohol and other drug use, or a sign of a mental health issue?

JUSTIN: Concurrent….what? ZACH: It’s hard to tell. You can never really know unless ZACH: Yes, I heard about it a few months ago from my doctor when I went to see him because I couldn’t sleep and had basically no energy. All I wanted to do was stay in bed, because I didn’t see a point to getting up. My doctor asked me a bunch of questions, like about my appetite, my motivation and my moods. It was tough for me to talk about…but when he diagnosed me with depression even I had to admit it made sense. Concurrent Disorder is just a really medical way of explaining what happens when you are using drugs or drinking heavily AND have depression, anxiety or some other type of concern.

you go see a counsellor or a doctor. For example, my new doctor told me because I have a family background of addictions, and my mom was hooked on sleeping pills for a long time, I am more at-risk of developing a mental health issue. That surprised me. I knew because of my family background I was at-risk of becoming addicted to alcohol or other drugs, but I did not think this also meant I was at risk for mental health concerns.

JUSTIN: I don’t get it: What makes your doctor think you are at-risk of developing a mental health problem because your mom was addicted to sleeping pills?

JUSTIN: Why do they use the term concurrent disorder? ZACH: My doctor knows that 90% of the time the ZACH: My doctor knows that I recently quit using crystal meth. He is not sure if my sleeping problems, lack of energy, constant worrying and depression are symptoms of withdrawal from crystal meth or signs of another issue that may be surfacing, like depression or anxiety. My doctor says the symptoms of withdrawal look very similar to the onset of a psychological issue, making it difficult to decide what behaviour is related to what cause – especially when they show-up together.

addiction problems show up first. See, many people who experience something like depression, anxiety or delusions will try to cope with it by using drugs, because sometimes the effects of drug use help to hide some of its unpleasant symptoms. For example, my doctor suspects that my mother started to use sleeping pills to help her escape the terrible insomnia she was experiencing, not knowing at the time that her sleeplessness was related to her undiagnosed anxiety and depression.

KARA: Oh…now I get it. When you explain it that way it makes more sense.

diagnosed with clinical depression?

JUSTIN: I never knew it took the body that long to

ZACH: Actually, my mother is relieved. My mother is

withdraw from a drug like crystal meth!

happy to finally know what the real problem is. She has never really felt very energetic or happy since

JUSTIN: Isn’t your mom concerned about being

KARA: That’s the first time I have thought that “not being WWW.DAFACTS.COM

PAGE // 55


she was a teenager. It concerned her when she noticed me starting to feel the same way. This is why she insisted I see the doctor.

JUSTIN: What are you doing to help with your depression? ZACH: My doctor has prescribed an anti-depressant for

KARA: What do you think about being labelled as someone experiencing depression?

the short-term to stabilize me emotionally, since I was feeling so depressed I was becoming suicidal.

ZACH: Well, first of all, my doctor has reassured me

KARA: You didn’t tell us about that before.

I am normal and okay. Most people will be depressed at some time in their lives as a normal reaction to high levels of stress, disappointments, loss, changes in relationships or home situations, or withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs. My doctor told me a recent survey showed 40% of youth have felt really depressed. Drugs and alcohol are one of many ways to deal with depression, which explains why so many people experiencing a problem with drugs also happen to be depressed. Up to 50% of people who are suffering from depression are also abusing drugs or alcohol!

KARA: What are the signs of clinical depression? ZACH: It’s normal to feel bummed out once in a while, but when you feel really crappy and it won’t pass after a couple of weeks, it becomes really hard to get through the day, let alone go to school, have fun with friends and talk to your parents; anything that requires energy becomes a real challenge. For me, I just wanted to stay in bed all day, and sometimes for no apparent reason I’d feel like crying. I knew it wasn’t just an average bad mood when I realized I had stopped getting enjoyment out of anything.

ZACH: I know. Feeling suicidal is not easy to talk about. JUSTIN: I’m glad you told us. Are the antidepressants helping you to feel better?

ZACH: Taking anti-depressants has been an important first step for my healing. I know taking medication is not necessarily right for everyone, but it is for me right now. I hope that one day I am able to feel okay and manage stress without them. Medication is one part of my holistic recovery plan. I see a counsellor once a week to talk things out and work on how I cope with stress. It really helps me to understand that I can get through this. I am also drinking lots of water, eating healthy, exercising, learning relaxation techniques and have reduced my school work load.

KARA: Do your teachers know you have a concurrent disorder? How are they responding? ZACH: Yes, my teachers know I have a concurrent disorder. My doctor has given me some information on concurrent disorders to share with them, about stimulants

For me, it’s the first time I have thought that “ not being able to sleep could be a sign of a mental health problem.

>>

PAGE // 56

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


...40% of youth have felt really depressed. Depression affects people of all ages and is the second most serious health concern in the world.

ZACH: No, treatment for depression is the same whether it is caused by withdrawal symptoms related to alcohol or other drug use or a mental health issue. JUSTIN: I guess when you’re going through withdrawal it’s tough to tell whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are because of the drugs or because of the depression. How do you know?

ZACH: You don’t know until you see your doctor. But you can still try and be on the lookout for some of the symptoms we’ve been talking about, especially if you come from a family with mental health or addiction concerns. My doctor told me teens who come from families who have schizophrenia should realize there is no “safe dosage” of using drugs, especially drugs like marijuana, because even a small dose may cause the onset of this illness. Some people think of it as an allergic type of response to the marijuana. My doctor says anyone with a family history of mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression or anxiety is advised to avoid using marijuana.

KARA: Wow. I didn’t know that using marijuana could be and mental health. This has helped my teachers to understand that when someone has been using alcohol and other drugs, it may be difficult to determine what has caused the depression a person is experiencing. The teachers understand stimulants like crystal meth cause the release of the hormones called dopamine and serotonin in the brain and, over time, the body loses its ability to release them, which makes people feel depressed. They now realize symptoms of depression can last from 6 months to 2 years, depending on how long a person has used the drugs, and how much stress is in his or her life.

JUSTIN: Is there a different type of treatment for depression depending on the cause? WWW.DAFACTS.COM

such a risk for my mental health. I only thought harder drugs like LSD and crystal meth were risky to use. I’ve heard those drugs can cause short-term or long-term “substance-induced psychosis,” which may look similar to schizophrenia.

JUSTIN: I wonder how many people out there using drugs know about concurrent disorders?

KARA: I bet not that many. It’s hard enough to be honest about drug use, let alone things like depression and anxiety. It seems like we need to have conversations like this more often, with more people.

PAGE // 57


...Suicidal feelings are not easy to talk about.

>>

Concurrent Disorders: when

Dopamine: thought to be the main chemical

substance abuse occurs alongside a psychological or mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression or psychosis

messenger in the reward centres of the brain, which promotes the experience of pleasure; dopamine production in the brain is increased by various drugs

Depression: an emotional state characterized

Serotonin: a neurotransmitter than can be

by feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy and sadness that persist for longer than two weeks

produced naturally by the brain, or synthetically through drugs, that regulates mood and produces feelings of well-being

Anxiety: a state of feeling uneasy, apprehensive or worried about what might happen, often to an excessive and irrational degree

Schizophrenia: a mental illness characterized by various symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behaviour, or paranoia

Delusion:

a false, persistent belief that is not confirmed by fact or reality

Insomnia: a chronic inability to sleep

Substance-induced psychosis: hallucinations or delusions that occur during withdrawal or acute intoxication; usually it is brief, but early recognition is very important

Anti-depressant: prescription medication used to treat depression by effecting neurotransmitters in the brain

...symptoms of depression can last from 6 months to 2 years depending on how long a person has used the drugs, and how much stress is in his or her life. PAGE // 58

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


Behavioural >> Checklist Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol and Other Drug Use and/or Mental Health Issues

>>

The Behavioural Checklist assists in the early identification of the signs and symptoms of substance use problems and/or mental health issues. The signs and symptoms of both have been included in this Behavioural Checklist as there is an overlap or similarity between them. Research has shown that people with a family background of mental illness and/or problematic alcohol or other drug use are more vulnerable to developing similar problems. If you are concerned about this, or have any questions and would like more information, please contact your local Addictions or Mental Health Community Services.

*May be signs and symptoms of BOTH Alcohol and Other Drug Use and /or Mental Health Issues.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Alcohol and other drugs may be used to manage underlying mental health issues, and may precipitate an early onset of mental health problemsâ&#x20AC;? WWW.DAFACTS.COM

PAGE // 59


CLASSROOM CONDUCT (Please CHECK all behaviours that apply.) Changes in usual classroom behaviour:* I avoids participating in class

I slow in thought process and decision-making and responding to questions

I has memory and concentration problems I asks for more assistance than normal

I may ask for advice without a specific problem I late for class

I skipping classes

Difficulty maintaining normal, focused conversation:* I loses train of thought easily

I has difficulty expressing thoughts or feelings

I may change subjects inappropriately

Quarrelsome and suspicious:* I argumentative

I irritable

I verbally abusive

I sudden temper outburst

I defiance

I defensive

I breaking rules

I violent

I extreme negativity

I frequently requiring discipline I vandalism

Changes in personality:* I silliness, outbursts of laughter or giddiness (more than usual) I irritability

I paranoia

I nervousness or hyperactivity

I mood swings

I erratic behaviour

I anxiety or agitation

I depression

Changes in general appearance:* I decline in personal hygiene

I differences in body posture and movement (slower or faster)

I frequent trips to nurse, health room or bathroom I or may be frequently sick

Lack of motivation:* I sleeping in class

I daydreaming

I time disorientation

Withdrawing from relationships:* I isolation

I avoids eye contact

Changes in friends:* I new friends

I secretive regarding friends

I sudden unexplained popularity

Compulsive overachieving:* I preoccupied with academic or other success

>> PAGE // 60

I perfectionism

I difficulty accepting mistakes I obsessive

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW


ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE I requesting more help*

I decline in quality of work*

I incomplete work or work not handed in* I drop in grade or failing*

Possession of alcohol and other drug paraphernalia: I pipes

I eye drops

I rolling papers I needles

I burnt spoons or knives

I lighters

I roach clips

OTHER BEHAVIOURS I borrowing money

I stealing

I suspected involvement in the sex trade

Physical signs and symptoms of intoxication:*

I foil

I small bottles I bags

I selling, delivering alcohol and drugs I fear of school, contact with parents or other authority figures*

I smell of marijuana or alcohol on or “around” person I red, glassy eyes; burns around the mouth I sores on body

I picking at skin

I droopy eyelids

I acts slightly sedated

I slurred speech (different than usual) I staggering

I obsessive and repetitive behaviours

• About 18% of children and youth in some surveyed regions of Canada have a mental health problem • 50% of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia have a substance use problem • 60% of individuals with a diagnosis of depression have a substance use problem

I hallucinations

• 43% of those with a substance use disorder met the criteria for another mental disorder

I depression

• “Within populations of concurrently disordered youth, in 90% of cases the mental health problem precedes the substance use problem”

I sudden weight loss

• “The median age for the development of early mental health problems is 11 years old”

Preoccupation with alcohol or other drugs: I brags and talks freely about alcohol or other drug use

I associates with known users

(Children’s Commission 1999 report)

• Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of Early Psychosis can lead to significantly improved recovery • Delays in starting effective interventions for psychosis may diminish the chances of complete recovery and or slow the recovery process.

People may have BOTH alcohol and other drug problems and mental health issues WWW.DAFACTS.COM

PAGE // 61


Community Resources for Youth Substance Abuse > Anytown and surrounding area

\\\\\

DISCLAIMER>> The following listing of community resources for youth substance abuse for Anytown and surrounding areas is intended to serve as a guide. The omission of an agency, program, or counselling service from this guide does not imply any disapproval, just as inclusion of any agency, program or counselling service in no way implies endorsement by Drugs & Addiction Magazine Ltd. For changes or additions, please e-mail info@dafacts.com

ANYTOWN >> Alcohol & Drug Information And Referral Service: Provides 24 hour toll-free

>> Adult Mental Health & Addiction Services #207, 10505 Maple Tree Rd Fern Tree Village, Prov V8V 3P3 Phone: (555) 681-0696

information for people throughout the province needing help with of

Resources Society

Includes information for local

10505 Maple Tree Rd

contacts.

Fern Tree Village, Prov V8V 3P3

Toll-Free: 1-000-000-0000

Phone: (555) 681-0696

>> Fern Tree Village Band

Toll-Free: 1-000-000-0000

Phone: (555) 681-0696

>> Laichwiltach Family Life Society #207, 10505 Maple Tree Rd Phone: (555) 681-0696

10505 Maple Tree Rd Fern Tree Village, Prov V8V 3P3 Phone: (555) 681-0696

>> Ministry of Children & Family Services #207, 10505 Maple Tree Rd

mental health disorders and support groups

#207, 10505 Maple Tree Rd

Apple Town, Prov V8V 3P3

24 Hour Service

Provides information about

>> Harm Reduction Society of North Island Apple Town, Prov V8V 3P3

->> Fern Tree Village Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

any kind of substance abuse

>> Mental Health Information Line

APPLE TOWN

>> Fern Tree Village Hospital Substance Abuse Program

Apple Town, Prov V8V 3P3 Phone: (555) 681-0696

10505 Maple Tree Rd

FERN TREE VILLAGE >> Fern Tree Village Holistic Centre

Fern Tree Village, Prov V8V 3P3 Phone: (555) 681-0696

>> Child & Youth Mental Health

>> North Island Alcohol and Drug Education Information Society (NADIS) #207, 10505 Maple Tree Rd

PO Box 88

10505 Maple Tree Rd

Apple Town, Prov V8V 3P3

Fern Tree Village, Prov V8V 3P3

Fern Tree Village, Prov V8V 3P3

Phone: (555) 681-0696

Phone: (555) 681-0696

Phone: (555) 681-0696

PAGE // 62

DRUGS & ADDICTION: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW



Drugs and Addiction Magazine