What are drugs?
Drugs are chemicals and substances which have a physical or psychological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Not all drugs are necessarily bad. Some drugs can be legal (e.g. alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (e.g. cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin). Drugs can also refer to prescription or over-the-counter medicines. When drugs are abused or misused, they can cause significant harm, affecting parts of our bodies, such as either intensifying or dulling senses, making people more alert or sleepy, and even altering a person’s thinking, mood, or behavior.
Click here for a list of commonly used illegal drugs!
What are prescription drugs?
Prescription drugs are prescribed by doctors to treat medical conditions. Prescription drugs are also known as opioids, depressants, or stimulants. Abusing or misusing prescription drugs occurs when people use drugs that aren’t prescribed specifically for themselves. The misuse of these drugs can lead to addiction and even overdose deaths.
Factors that lead to drug addiction:
- Home environment
- Peer pressure
- Early use
- A history of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression
What can drug use lead to?
Drug overdoses, either self-inflicted or unintentional. Unintentional drug overdoses are the result of taking drugs on purpose or mixing them together. There have been more accidental deaths than suicides due to drug use.
In 2017, there were a total of 5,455 deaths due to drug overdoses. 1,663 of those were females and 3,792 of those were male. 3,401 of those deaths were due to Heroin and other illicit opioids.
How do I know if someone has a drug problem?
The following questions do not indicate that someone is addicted, but answering yes to any of these questions may suggest a developing problem.
- Have you ever ridden in a car driven by someone (including yourself) who had been using alcohol or drugs?
- Do you ever use alcohol or drugs to relax, to feel better about yourself, or to fit in?
- Do you ever use alcohol or drugs when you are alone?
- Do you ever forget things you did while using alcohol or drugs?
- Do family or friends ever tell you to cut down on your use of alcohol or drugs?
- Have you ever gotten into trouble while you were using alcohol or drugs?
How can I get help (for myself or someone else)?
Grassroots Crisis Intervention provides daily walk-in drug abuse screenings and treatment referrals.
HCHD Peer Recovery Specialists provide substance use resources, support, harm reduction services, and referrals.
Call/Text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8 (they cover issues other than suicide and will connect you with someone close by)
Call Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP
Look for a treatment center online at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
For more information, check out NIDA’s “Easy-to-Read” Drugs facts page at https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/
Did you know that excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year?
Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug in the United States. There are many different ways that misuse can be handled and even prevented. The first step is to become more aware and understand the effects of alcohol on your body, especially since it impacts all people differently. These differences are due to experience, genetics, history of dependence with you or someone in your family, psychiatric disorders, environmental factors, and more. Oftentimes, the consequences and risks increase due to those factors.
Why Do Some Adolescents Drink?
- Risk Taking
- Sensitivity and Tolerance to Alcohol
- Personality traits and Psychiatric Conditions
- Heredity Factors
- Environmental Aspects
What Are Some Health Risks?
- Brain effects/defects
- Development delays
- Liver damage
- Growth and Endocrine Effects
- Overdose/ sudden death
Warning signs that someone may have a substance abuse problem:
- Relying on drugs or alcohol to have fun, forget problems, or relax
- Having blackouts
- Drinking or using drugs while alone
- Withdrawing or keeping secrets from friends or family
- Losing interest in activities that used to be important
- Performing differently in school (such as grades dropping and frequent absences)
- Building an increased tolerance to alcohol or drugs — gradually needing more and more of the substance to get the same feeling
- Lying, stealing, or selling stuff to get money for drugs or alcohol
Reasons to Drink Less or Stop Drinking
- Health risks
- Religious reasons
- Be a role model for youth and others
- Save money
- No hangovers
- No legal troubles relating to consumption
- You will look and feel better
- There are other, more productive ways to have fun
How Can We Prevent, or Lessen the Consequences of Underage Drinking?
- Limit alcohol consumption and usage
- Tell your friends and family to limit alcohol consumption or usage
- Spread awareness to your communities about the consequences of underage drinking
- Look out for one another. Take care of those that are seemingly intoxicated, and take appropriate action when necessary
Think you may have a drinking/drug problem? Here’s what to do!
Have you heard your friends or family say they think you have a drinking or drug problem? It’s usually hard for people to recognize they have a problem, which is why friends or family often step in.
Using alcohol or drugs regularly is usually just a step away from addiction. We understand quitting can be hard to do, but help is available! Talk to someone you trust so you don’t have to deal with the problem alone. Adults are preferred because they can often better support you in many ways.
There are also plenty of resources available for people with substance abuse problems. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous offer information and recovery programs for teens.
You can also call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). It’s a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
Tobacco & Vaping
If you use Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) you could be inhaling:
- Formaldehyde, lead, nickel, tin and other dangerous chemicals that can damage your lungs and cause cancer
- Nicotine, which is addictive and can harm your brain
The FDA and CDC issued a public alert to not use any vaping products containing THC. Consumers who choose to use any vaping products should not modify or add any substances such as THC or other oils to products purchased in stores and should not purchase any vaping products, including those containing THC, off the street or from other illicit channels. These unknown additives to vaping products are causing severe lung disease and death.
Vitamin E acetate should not be added to any e-cigarette, or vaping, products as it been directly linked to e-cigarette vaping associated lung-injury (EVALI) cases, hospitalizations, and death.
Want more info? Read to the following:
· The Vape Experiment
· ESD Infographic
What are Electronic Smoking Devices?
Electronic Smoking Devices, or ESDs, are hand-held devices that operate by heating a solution to produce an aerosol that the user inhales. The heated solution can contain a variety of harmful chemicals. ESDs come in a variety of forms and are separated into three main types.
Some look like traditional pipes, cigars and cigarettes, others look like USB flash drives and pens, and others are large tank systems. ESDs can also be referred to as e-cigs, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, and mods.
Can you get addicted to E-cigarettes?
Yes!! 99% of e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. There is increasing evidence that the use of e-cigarettes significantly increases risk for the use of other tobacco products, especially among teens.
Need help quitting?
Addiction to any substance significantly decreases an individual’s quality of life but there are a variety of resources to help.
The Health Department offers a free educational course for youth about the dangers of ESDs and strategies for quitting. Call 410-313-6292 or click here for more information.
For additional support, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
A confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing substance use disorders.
Underage Tobacco Enforcement Investigators (UTEI) assist Howard County Enforcement Officers with tobacco sales enforcement compliance checks in relation to Maryland Retail Tobacco Control laws and local tobacco laws in Howard County. Click here to learn more about this program.
Substance Use Resources
Asking for Help is A Sign of Strength
Provides referrals to outpatient treatment, detoxification programs, and inpatient substance use disorder treatment.
Call 410-313-6202 to request substance use information, resources, and referrals from the Bureau of Behavioral Health.
FREE Tobacco Awareness Program for Teens
Youth-focused agencies, faith organizations, and other community partners interested in hosting a Tobacco Awareness Program for Teens presentation can complete the Community Health Education Request Form.
Provides prevention, treatment, recovery, health and wellness resources to help Howard County residents develop knowledge and skills to understand and address behavioral health disorders.
Wilde Lake Community Association
5305 Village Center Dr #206, Columbia, MD 21044
Tobacco Cessation Resources
Maryland Quit Line
The Maryland Quitline provides web and phone services to individuals looking to quit smoking age 13 and up. Youth services begin with 5 coaching calls (compared to 4 for adults).
This website provides texting services (SmokefreeTXT for teens) as well as other tools such as smartphone apps (quitSTART) for teens to aid them in their quit attempt.
This website serves as a resource center for tobacco use cessation and prevention for youth in the State of Maryland.