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Alchohol and Drugs

Yeah, yeah, yeah, JUST SAY NO and all that right?

Well, not really. Today's teens are surrounded by drugs and alcohol at school, parties, sporting events...all the time! Let's figure out here what the dangers are and think about how to deal with them as a Christian.

We'll look at a few of the most popular drugs, what they are all about, and the dangers they pose.


What's the Deal?

By nature, all alcohol and drugs are illegal, drugs for obvious reasons, alcohol until you are 21 years old and tobacco (considered a drug for this article) until you are 18 in most states. Because they are illegal, using them and possessing them is sinful for several reasons - (1) intentionally breaking the laws of the land, (2) not respecting your parents (assuming they don't want you using drugs and alcohol, whether stated or implied), and (3) doing anything that will lead you down a path away from God.

That all said, what should you do as a Christian to deal with the ever-present threat of these substances? First of all, don't use them yourself and encourage your close friends to avoid them as well (this is an act of boldness, and will require you to stand up for Christ A LOT!)

So, does this mean that every Friday and Saturday night, you should be home reading your bible and watching "The Ten Commandments"? Not necessarily, but maybe, depending on your ability to resist the temptations of peer pressure, your willingness and ability to be bold and stand up for Christ in a situation like this, and finally, continuing to show respect for your parents' wishes. We're not saying that there is anything wrong with reading your bible on Friday nights, after all, that also gives glory to God. All we're saying is if you find yourself called to be in those situations, make sure you are living 4Him there.

As Christians, we are called to go out into the world and spread the good news. We've got news for you, God isn't just talking about Youth group and Sunday school, he's talking about taking it to the streets and showing that there is something special about you. What is it? Christ is in your heart and you are surrounded and loved by the Holy Spirit. When you go to that party and choose to be the only one (or one of a few) not drinking or doing drugs, you are sending a message that you are different...IN A GOOD WAY! People will notice and when they ask what it's all about, you can start telling them what makes you who you are...Jesus Christ.

How do you deal with your friends and school mates drinking and partying? Tell your story, and help other teens dealing with these and other issues every day.


What's Out There?

Below, we cover the basics of 4 drugs: Ecstasy (a growing problem on the party scene), Marijuana (considered the most accepted illicit drug), Alcohol (#1 substance abused by teens), and Tobacco (Top cause of death in the US).

Ecstasy
Marijuana

What is It?

Ecstasy or MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a stimulant that combines theEcstasy Pill properties of "speed" with mind-altering. Considered the most commonly used designer drug, Ecstasy is a close derivative of methamphetamine and can be described as a hallucinogenic stimulant. Designer drugs are illicit variations of other drugs. Because of many different recipes used to manufacture Ecstasy, deaths have been caused by some other substances inadvertently created during production. Ecstasy is illegal, and is classified as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance.


How Much Does it Cost?

Known on the street as Adam, X-TC, Clarity, Essence, Stacy, Lover's Ecstasy PillSpeed, Eve, etc., Ecstasy is most often found in tablet, capsule, or powder form and is usually consumed orally, although it can also be injected. Ecstasy is sometimes packaged in capsules or generic tablets to imitate prescription drugs with the average dose costing anywhere from $7 to $30 per pill.

What are the Effects?

An Ecstasy high can last from six to 24 hours, with the average "trip" lasting only about three to four hours. At moderate doses, Ecstasy is reported to cause euphoria, feelings of well-being, enhanced mental or emotional clarity, anxiety, or paranoia. Heavier doses can cause hallucinations, sensations of lightness and floating, depression, paranoid thinking, and violent, irrational behavior. Physical reactions can include the following symptoms: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, increased heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension, faintness, chills, sweating, tremors, reduced appetite, insomnia, convulsions, and a loss of control over voluntary body movements. Deaths have occurred from the use of Ecstasy.

What to Look Out For:

A lot of Christian Teens go to Ecstasy Pillparties, that's pretty much a given, some even go to "Raves." In this, there's no inherent danger. However, make sure you know what you are drinking and eating, and from whom. Ecstasy is often mixed in bottled water or other drink and you may not even know you are taking it. Be careful!

What is It?

Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowersMarijuana Cigarette of the hemp plant. You may hear marijuana called by street names such as pot, herb, weed, grass, boom, Mary Jane, gangster, or chronic. There are more than 200 slang terms for marijuana. All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. In other words, they change how the brain works. They all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. They also contain more than 400 other chemicals. Marijuana's effects on the user depend on the strength or potency of the THC it contains.

How Much Does it Cost?

Marijuana is most often smoked in a cigarette form, but can also be ingested or smoked in pipes or bongs. Marijuana can be purchase in various quantities, mostly in leaf form for rolling, but also in cigarette, "joint" form. It costs between $10 - $25 for a 1/4 ounce and up to $300 per ounce.

What are the Effects?

The short-term effects of marijuana include: problems with memory and learning; distortedMarijuana Cigarette perception (sights, sounds, time, touch); trouble with thinking and problem-solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate, anxiety. Marijuana affects memory, judgment and perception. The drug can make you mess up in school, in sports or clubs, or with your friends. Athletes could find their performance is off; timing, movements, and coordination are all affected by THC.

What to Look Out For:

Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. For example, the risk of using cocaine is 104 times greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never tried it. Using marijuana puts children and teens in contact with people who are users and sellers of other drugs. So there is more of a risk that a marijuana user will be exposed to and urged to try more drugs.

Alcohol
Tobacco

What is It?

Alcohol is a central nervous system No Alcoholdepressant. It affects virtually every organ in the body and chronic use can lead to numerous preventable diseases, including alcoholism. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment which can lead to risky behaviors, including practicing unprotected sex. This can lead to acquiring HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancy. Alcohol also hinders coordination, slows reaction time, dulls senses, and blocks memory functions.

How Much Does it Cost?

Alcohol is readily available and Two Beersrelatively inexpensive, one of the reasons it is so dangerous. A normal drink (beer, wine, cocktail) can range between $2-$7.

What are the Effects?

Alcohol goes directly into the bloodstream which is why it has effects on every system in the body. Heavy drinking can cause cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. Children in families with alcoholic members are at a higher risk for alcoholism. Excessive drinking can decrease the amount of testosterone in a man's body and cause impotence. Alcohol abuse can lead to both homicides and suicides. Drinking can cause serious injuries and death -- over 38% of drowning are alcohol-related. Long-term effects of heavy alcohol use include loss of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, stomach ailments, sexual impotence, liver damage, heart and central nervous system damage, and memory loss.

What to Look Out For:

According to the 1994 Monitoring the Future survey, alcohol remains the number one substance used by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. Over 50 percent of 12th graders report drinking alcohol within the past month.

The relationship No Alcoholbetween alcohol and motor vehicle crashes is widely acknowledged. In 1993, 40 percent of the 5,905 traffic fatalities of 15- to 20-year olds were alcohol related.

What is It?

Tobacco is a large leafy plant that when smoked, gives of numerous chemicals, including Nicotine, which acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system.

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable causeNo Smoking of death in the United States, causing more than 400,000 deaths each year and resulting in an annual cost of more than $50 billion in direct medical costs.

How Much Does it Cost?

Tobacco is widely available, but not cheap (in relative terms). A pack of 20 cigarettes can range from $3-$5.

What are the Effects?

Nicotine is a powerful, multipurpose drug that is used as both a stimulant and a depressant. It is often a child's first experiencePack of Cigarettes with using a mood altering addictive substance to dose him or herself for a psychological and physiological effect. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug with both short and long term negative health effects.

Each year, smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides, and fires---combined! Nationally, smoking results in more than 5 million years of potential life lost each year. Approximately 80% of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18. Every day, nearly 3,000 young people under the age of 18 become regular smokers. More than 5 million children living today will die prematurely because of a decision they will make as adolescents---the decision to smoke cigarettes.

What to Look Out For:

Juvenile onset of nicotine addiction is a serious public health threat.

Studies have shown that 75% of U.S. adults become regular tobacco users by the time they are eighteen years of age. An estimated 3 million children under the age of 18 consume 947 million packs of cigarettes annually.

It's simple, if you smoke, QUIT, if you don't DON'T START!

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