Saturday, April 26, 2014

Teens talk about Addiction, Harm and What Parents and Teens NEED to KNOW….

Q.  What do you think are the physical harmful effects from alcohol? Marijuana? Rx drugs?  Other drug use?
Teens Answer:

  • Alcohol, marijuana and RX drugs all affect the brain in negative ways if used frequently and incorrectly, there are negative long and short term effects of both. 
  • Vomiting, memory loss, damage to the brain cells and impaired vision.
  • I think the physical effects include brain cells dying and a lack of proper functioning in different organs and brain structures.
  • For all of them it slows down the brain functions and can affect your overall wellness and performance in school and sports.      
  • Damage to your memory, your heart, your liver.  They can also cause behaviors that can put your entire life at risk.
  • There are many harmful effects from drug and alcohol use.  The decisions you make as a teen today can and will affect who you are in the future.

Q.  What do you think addiction means? 
Teens Answer:

  • Addiction is a brain disease that is the result of persistent use that alters the brain chemistry and reward system.
  • I think addiction means when you have a constant wanting or necessity for something.
  • Addiction means not being able to get through a certain amount time without using a substance.
  • Addiction means that your body starts to think that it needs the substance and you start to NOT function -- you are consumed by your addiction.
  • An addiction is when you don’t know your stopping point.  You don’t know when your body has had enough.
  • Addiction means that you no longer have control over you own body.

Q.  What does it take to become addicted to alcohol or other drugs?
Teens Answer:

  • There are many factors that determine one’s susceptibility to addiction.  The two main factors are genetic disposition as well as social environment.
  • It can take just the use of one time to become addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • Recklessly overusing the substance.
  • Repeated us over a period of time.
  • It only takes one time – one sip of alcohol, or one time smoking marijuana to become addicted.
  • There are genetic factors, but there are more influential environmental factors as well:  your family, your community, your friend group.

Q.  Do you think teens today think there is harm from alcohol or other drugs?  Why or why not? 
Teens Answer:

  • I think they know there is harm but it does not persuade them from participating in risky behavior.
  • Yes, but they don’t think it’s harmful enough to make them stop using these substances.
  • No, teens are ignorant to the facts.  They see a lot of people who do it and turn out fine, so they think it can’t hurt them.
  • No, they do NOT think of the repercussions and teens do not think that drinking will have a negative effect.
  • Many teens are aware of the harmful consequences of drugs and alcohol, but they have that “invincible” mindset that nothing bad can happen to them.
  • I think teens have a mindset that nothing bad could ever happen to them when in reality it can and will.
  • I think they think there is harm, but the instant “pleasure” in doing drugs or using alcohol trumps the long-term harm.

Q.  What do Parents NEED to KNOW about teen substance use today?
Teens Answer:

  • They need to know that habits formed at a young age can be difficult to break.  Teen substance use can be a phase or turn into long term use with future problems.
  • That teens ARE doing these illegal activities more than they think and they are doing them at younger and younger ages.
  • It happens more than they think and they need to talk to and educate their children.
  • That it’s happening in their neighborhoods and it’s THEIR job to get involved, step in and do something about it.
  • How to properly educate themselves and their children on the effects of substance use and abuse.   They need to know how to talk to their kids about it.
Q.  Do you think Adults, Schools, Parents and the Community do what’s needed to cover harm and addiction?  What more can be done?
Teens Answer:

  • A lot more can be done with much more involvement from people in the community.
  • No, I believe the topic is ignored and teens do not truly know the dangers of these substances.  People/adults need to focus more on talking about the issue.
  • A lot is being done, but prevention is important and can always be improved.
  • Yes, but they could try to increase awareness of the harmful effects.
  • I think the YAB does a tremendous job, but we just need to keep working to spread the message further.
  • I think much more could be done to educate youth on the subject of substance abuse.  It’s NOT a topic that should be avoided.
  • There MUST be an emphasis on long-term harm consequences.

What's Your Influence?