The mixing of prescription drugs and alcohol, usually “to get high,” also has deadly consequences. There have been reports of teenagers and young adults mixing Xanax with cola drinks to make them feel very drunk and that others are taking Vicodin before they start drinking to get drunker faster. These drugs are often seen in fatal traffic accident reports.
What are the dangerous effects of drug use in teens?
Unfortunately, teenagers often don’t see the link between their actions today and the consequences tomorrow. They also have a tendency to feel indestructible and immune to the problems that others experience.
Using alcohol and tobacco at a young age increases the risk of using other drugs later. Some teens will experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally, without significant problems. Others will develop a dependency or addiction, often moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others.
Just a few of the many dangerous effects of drug use in adolescents include:
- Drugs of any kind decreases teens’ ability to pay attention.
- The younger a person is when they begin using drugs the more likely they are to develop a substance-abuse problem and the more likely they are to relapse into drug abuse when trying to quit.
- Juveniles who use drugs are more likely to have unprotected sex, sex with a stranger, as well as to engage in sexual activity at all.
- Substance use can cause or mask other emotional problems, like anxiety, depression, mood swings, or hallucinations (for example, hearing or seeing things). Either of those illnesses can result in death by suicide or homicide.
- Anabolic steroids have been associated with impotence in boys and men, clitoral enlargement in girls and women, as well as baldness, stunted growth, heart attacks, strokes, liver disease, cancer, acne and infections, including HIV/AIDS in both sexes.
- Depending on how the body takes in and processes each kind of drug, substances of abuse can affect virtually every one of the body’s systems. Examples of this include permanent brain damage associated with inhalants, heart attack or stroke from stimulants, and halted breathing from sedatives. Any of these problems can result in death.