Drug Abuse and Your Brain

Alcohol can interfere with developmental processes occurring in the brain. For weeks or months after a teen stops drinking heavily, parts of the brain still struggle to work correctly. Drinking at a young age is also associated with the development of alcohol dependence later in life.

Health Effects of Marijuana

“Besides being addictive, marijuana is cognitively impairing even beyond the phase of acute intoxication and regular use during adolescence may cause a significant, possibly permanent IQ loss. Brain scans in users who started when they were young show impaired neural development, probably because cannabis interferes with normal brain maturation.” —Nora Volkow, MD, Director, National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institute of Health

Tips and Advice

Prescription medications can help us lead longer and healthier lives when used under the supervision of a healthcare professional, like a pharmacist or doctor. Our life expectancy is the longest in history, and people are now able to live with many diseases that were once fatal. We are preventing or curing many illnesses and relieving troublesome symptoms, in part, because of prescription medications.

College Student Statistics

The National Vital Statistics System collects data on drug use on college campuses. These researchers take the data and analyze trends in drug overdose deaths, describe demographic and geographic patterns, and identify shifts in the types of drugs involved.

Want to know what is really going on at college?

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Saying NO Will Help You

Saying “No” to Opioids

Saying “No” to your friends can be tough because you want to be liked, we get it. If they are your real friends, they will be cool with you saying “No” to drinking alcohol, smoking, or taking pills. But, to make it a bit easier, you can try the following:

  • Own yourself. Make eye contact and say “No” firmly. If they ask “why not,” just answer that you aren’t interested.
  • Remind yourself about the consequences of giving in to peer pressure – It’s NOT worth it!
  • Avoid the situation all together. If you know your friends go to a certain place to do their stuff, just don’t go.
  • Make friends that accept your decisions and even back you up when you are under pressure.

Some consequences of saying “Yes” to Opioids

When we misuse medications, there can be serious physical, social, and legal consequences. The most commonly misused medications are called “controlled substances,” because they pose a high-risk for misuse or dependency. It is a felony to possess these medications without a prescription. The misuse of any prescription drug can be harmful. In fact, drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and patient visits to emergency departments for problems associated with the misuse of medications exceed those for using illicit “street” drugs. These medications require a prescription because the expertise of a healthcare provider is necessary for your safety. By misusing prescription drugs, a person puts themselves at risk for experiencing serious negative consequences. (LEARN MORE)

I think my parent is on drugs… How do I know?

If your parent has a problem with abusing alcohol or pills, it is a disease that needs attention. But what are the signs?

  • They become unreasonably aggressive or abusive
  • There are sharp changes in their personality day-to-day or even faster
  • They sleep a lot and at odd times
  • They always seem sad or disinterested in things they used to like
  • There are financial problems when their job should cover their bills
  • They have openly used illegal drugs or left paraphernalia in the open


For immediate help, call the NineLine 1-800-999-9999 (This hotline is free and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week).

What Can I Do?

If your parent beats you while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you need to seek help. It’s likely that people have already noticed that you suffer from a lot of injuries or that you miss school a lot.