The importance of being informed

Published 8:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2014

QUESTION: I need two and three sentence reasons that explain why specific drugs are dangerous. My kids ask questions, but they don’t listen to long explanations.

 ANSWER: Kids expect the adults in their lives to have the answers, even though they may spend a lot of time and energy testing our authority. It’s important to be informed and personally confident in our own value judgments. Here’s what the American Council for Drug Education has to say. If you agree, it will take 15 seconds to share the information with someone else.

Alcohol is the most widely used and socially costly drug of abuse, responsible for much crime and violence. Alcohol-related accidents are the leading killer of Americans 15 to 24, and alcohol is a major cause of birth defects.

Email newsletter signup

Marijuana is far more potent today than the pot of the past and its harmful effects are longer lasting. Moderate doses induce a sense of well-being and a state of relaxation that encourages fantasies, makes users highly suggestible and distorts perceptions. At stronger doses, reactions as extreme as paranoia and hallucinations can occur.

Tobacco is a powerfully addictive substance and is the leading cause of preventable premature death in the United States. Heart disease, cancer, strokes and respiratory disease are common results of tobacco use.

Abusing prescription drugs becomes addictive and mixing prescription drugs without medical supervision can have serious consequences: anxiety, delusions, heart and respiratory reactions that can be deadly.

Inhalants produce a quick high, are the easiest to get and are the most dangerous. Breathing fumes of chemical products can cause permanent brain damage or death the 60th time or the first time used, because they were never meant to be taken into the human body.

Methamphetamine users often become agitated and feel “wired.” Nerve sensations feel like biting bugs, so users may scratch until they bleed. They feel compelled to repeat meaningless tasks. They don’t sleep, or eat, for extended periods of time. Their behavior becomes unpredictable. They may be friendly and calm one moment and then turn paranoid and violent.

Nearly 3 out of 4 substance abusers hold jobs. They are five times more likely than other workers to injure themselves or co-workers and cause 40 percent of all industrial fatalities. They raise costs and reduce profits. They can cost you your job or your life.

If you would like more drug prevention information for the kids in your family, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out and the free resources at the PRC Specialty Library (105 First Street S.E., Austin)