Youth Reference Guide
Millions of people have a problem with alcohol and illicit drugs. These problems
are not only common, but can happen to anyone. People struggling with drugs are
individuals who come from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. The best way
to protect yourself is to know the truth about drugs. What would you do to protect
yourself from the effects of drugs?
The following are the most common questions youths have about drugs.
Drug addiction is a complex brain disease
characterized by compulsive, uncontrollable
drug craving that persists even when knowing
the extremely negative consequences. Addiction
becomes compulsive due to the effects of prolonged
drug use on brain functions and behavior.
What Is Drug Addiction?
For emergencies, call 911
National Drug Awareness Resources:
-U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
-Partnership for a Drug Free America
www.checkyourself.com & www.drugfree.org
There is no easy answer. If and how quickly addiction
develops depends on the drug and factors like
individual sensitively, genetics and biology. While
one person may use a drug many times and suffer
no ill effects, another person may be vulnerable and
overdose with ﬁ rst use. All drug abuse is potentially
harmful and has life-threatening consequences.
How Quickly Do You Become Addicted?
Deﬁ nitely! But ﬁ rst, they must admit there might
be a problem and they want help so THEY can do
the work to kick the habit. People do not have to
hit “rock bottom” before successfully getting help.
They must recognize the need for change. It’s not
impossible to get clean on your own, but it’s easier
Can Drug Users Get Help?
One of the hardest things is to admit you might have
a problem. Don’t be scared. Breach the subject in
an easy manner. No matter what you think, your
parents care about you and your well-being. If you
can’t talk with them, try a school counselor, clergy,
family doctor, older relative, close friend’s parent or a
teen help hotline. Someone can provide solid advice
and another point of view. Most young people report
feeling better after “spilling their guts” to someone.
I’m Not Sure I Can Talk To My Parents…
Most users are secretive about their dependency and
it’s hard to tell. Watch for any of the following signs:
◊ Gets drunk or high on drugs on a regular basis
◊ Lies about the amount of drugs they use
◊ Avoids you to get drunk or high alone
◊ Stops activities that were a big part of their life
(sports, homework, or hanging out)
◊ Constantly talks about and plans drinking or
drug use in advance
◊ Must drink or use more drugs to get the same
◊ Doesn’t have “fun” unless drunk or stoned
◊ Has lots of hangovers and “blackouts”
◊ Is withdrawn, depressed, tired, and cares little
about personal appearance
◊ Rapid weight loss and changed sleeping patterns
◊ Has difﬁ culty concentrating
◊ Red-rimmed eyes or runny nose not related to
cold or allergies
◊ Pressures others to drink or use drugs
◊ Feels run-down, hopeless, depressed or suicidal
◊ Doesn’t care about others
◊ Gets in trouble with the police
◊ Drives while under the inﬂ uence of drugs or
◊ Gets suspended from school for drug-related
Is My Friend Out Of Control?
Bremerton Police Department