When it comes to drugs, age doesn’t matter. Addiction doesn’t discriminate.

Alcohol and drugs affect each and every one of us. Try as you might, you cannot escape alcohol and drugs. They are in our homes, in our families, in our school, and in our community. More than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs affecting millions more people — parents, family members, friends and neighbors.

Teens who abuse drugs are more likely to struggle with addiction later in life and have permanent and irreversible brain damage. Unfortunately, too many die from their very first hit.

Common effects of drug use are:

  • Emotional problems. Drug abuse can cause or mask emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia. Unfortunately, drug use can also increase the severity of these emotional problems. For example, teens that use marijuana weekly double their risk of depression and anxiety.
  • Behavioral problems. Teens who abuse drugs have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence.
  • Addiction and dependence. Studies prove that the younger a person is when he/she begins using drugs, the more likely that person is to develop a substance abuse problem and relapse later in life.
  • Risky sex. Teens that use drugs are five times more likely to have sex than teens who don’t use drugs. Teens that use drugs are also more likely to have unprotected sex and have sex with a stranger. This leads to higher risks of STDs, teen pregnancy, and sexual assault.
  • Learning problems. Drug abuse damages short-term and long-term memory and can lead to problems with learning and memory later in life.
  • Teens who abuse drugs with needles increase their risk of blood-borne diseases like HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.
  • Brain damage. Drug abuse among teens can result in serious mental disorders or permanent, irreversible damage to the brain or nervous system. Brain damage among teens who abuse drugs includes brain shrinkage; impaired learning abilities; amnesia and memory problems; impaired reasoning, perception and intuition; increased or decreased socialization; and changes in sexual desire.
  • Car accidents. Teenagers who abuse drugs are more likely to be involved in car accident-related injuries or death.

No one wakes up wanting to become an addict… Don’t do Drugs.