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What is heroin?

Heroin is a drug that is made from a poppy plant and is very dangerous to use.

Contact us to learn more about the dangers of heroin and how we can help. If you feel like you need immediate help, call the Centerstone Crisis Line nearest you.


How does heroin affect me?

Once someone becomes addicted to heroin, it is very hard to stop using it.

This is especially dangerous because, if someone uses too much heroin, they can “overdose.” An overdose is what it’s called when someone uses too much of a drug and it harms them. Heroin overdoses can cause vomiting, lack of oxygen to the brain, and even death.



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How does alcohol affect teens?

Is it safe for teens to drink alcohol?

You may feel tempted to drink when it seems harmless, all your friends are doing it or you’re feeling stressed. But if you’re under age 21, drinking alcohol isn’t safe.

What are the risks of drinking alcohol as a teenager?

While alcohol can make a person feel relaxed and happy at first, it can also cause harmful side effects. Teens who drink are more like to experience:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Alcohol use disorder later in life
  • Disruption of normal growth or sexual development
  • Disruption of normal brain development that can have life-long effects
  • Fights
  • Hangovers (not feeling well the day after you drink excessively)
  • Higher risk of suicide
  • Illnesses
  • Injuries like falls or burns
  • Legal problems, like being arrested for driving while impaired
  • Memory problems
  • Other forms of substance abuse
  • Physical violence
  • School problems, like absences and declining grades
  • Sexual violence
  • Social problems
  • Unprotected, unwanted or unplanned sexual activity
  • Vehicle accidents

The dangers of binge drinking

These problems are more common in teens who binge drink. Binge drinking means drinking excessively to the point where your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 g/dl or higher.

That’s usually four or more drinks in a two-hour period for a person born with female reproductive organs and five or more drinks in a two-hour window for a person born with male reproductive organs.

How alcohol affects the teenage brain

In the short term, drinking alcohol can:

  • Make it harder for you to make good decisions.
  • Increase your risk of injury.
  • Make you less aware of unsafe or inappropriate behavior.
  • Make you less aware of danger.

Long-term, research suggests that drinking during your teen years can disrupt normal brain development, which can:

  • Negatively affect your ability to learn and process information.
  • Increase your risk of having alcohol use disorder later in life.

Signs of alcohol overdose

Consuming a lot of alcohol can also lead to overdose and death. Drinking too much can cause a person to pass out, vomit and choke, or stop breathing. The risk of overdose is higher in teens who take pain medications or sedative-hypnotic medications like Benadryl, Xanax or Valium.

Warning signs of alcohol overdose include:

  • Bluish or clammy skin
  • Confusion
  • Extremely low body temperature
  • Lack of gag reflex, which can lead to choking
  • Paleness
  • Slow or irregular breathing (less than eight breaths per minute; 10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Trouble staying conscious or waking up
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

If someone has these symptoms, it’s crucial to call 911 for help right away. Coffee, cold showers and walking won’t help. They could even worsen the overdose.

Signs of a drinking problem

If you rely on alcohol to control your mood or emotions or feel like you need it to feel normal, you may be experiencing alcoholism or another mental health disorder.

Talk to an adult you trust if you think you may have a problem with alcohol.

Need more info? Ask an Expert.

CDC: Underage Drinking
CDC: Binge Drinking
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Alcohol
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Hangovers

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What is marijuana?

Marijuana is a drug that comes from a cannabis plant. Other terms for marijuana include:

  • weed
  • pot
  • dope
  • hash

How Many Young People Use Marijuana?

According to the Monitoring the Future survey: In 2022, 30.7% of 12th graders reported using marijuana in the past year and 6.3% reported using marijuana daily. In addition, many young people also use vaping devices to consume cannabis products. In 2022, nearly 20.6% of 12th graders reported that they vaped marijuana in the past year and 2.1% reported that they did so daily.


What should I do if I need help?

Contact us to learn more about the dangers of drugs and how we can help. If you feel like you need immediate help, call the Centerstone Crisis Line nearest you.


How does marijuana affect me?

Marijuana is a “psychoactive” drug which means it impacts the way your brain functions while using it. This results in:

  • slowed perception
  • difficulty with problem-solving
  • lack of coordination
  • disrupted learning and memory
  • impaired judgment and decision-making
  • increased sleepiness
  • increased paranoia
  • increased appetite


Isn’t marijuana legal in some places?

Yes, marijuana is legal for adults to use in some places in the United States. However, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s healthy to use. Alcohol is a drug that is also legal to use but comes with plenty of dangers if used too much.


What is medical marijuana?

“Medical marijuana” refers to marijuana being used to treat an illness or medical condition. And, while medical marijuana is legal in some places in the United States, smoking marijuana has not been approved as a treatment for any medical condition. Instead, the chemicals that makeup marijuana are used carefully by doctors to treat certain medical issues.



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What Is Meth?

Meth is another name for methamphetamine, a highly addictive and dangerous drug.

Meth is a stimulant to the central nervous system. When the drug enters the brain, it causes a large release of the neurotransmitter dopamine causing intense feelings of pleasure for the user.
Some long-term effects of Meth include:

  • Mood swings
  • Problems sleeping
  • Anxiety and confusion
  • Violent behavior
  • Psychosis (seeing/hearing/feeling things that are not there)
  • Severe weight loss
  • Involuntary movements/twitching
  • Skin sores from scratching
  • Severe dental problems (also known as “meth mouth”)
  • Problems with thinking, emotion and memory


How To Get Help If You Know Someone Addicted To Meth

If you, or someone you know, has a problem, talk to a trusted adult. Seek out local substance abuse treatment centers in your area for further help. A physician or counselor should be able to assist you in finding treatment centers.
You can also seek out local self-help groups such as crystalmeth.org.

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Prescription drugs


What are prescription drugs?

Prescription drugs are any medicine that is prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition.

Some people misuse prescription drugs by taking too much of them, by taking them when they’re not supposed to or by using someone else’s prescription drugs.



What should I do if I need help?

Contact us to learn more about the dangers of prescription drugs and how we can help. If you feel like you need immediate help, call the Centerstone Crisis Line nearest you.


How do prescription drugs affect me?

The most common type of prescription drug misuse is with painkillers, stimulants, and depressants.



Painkillers are any type of medicine that are used to reduce pain, including:

  • hydrocodone
  • oxycodone
  • morphine
  • codeine



Stimulants are any type of medicine that are used to stimulate brain activity and treat disorders like ADHD and depression, including:

  • adderall
  • dexedrine
  • ritalin
  • benzedine



Depressants are any type of medicine that are used to reduce brain activity and treat disorders like anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disorders, including:

  • barbiturates
  • valium
  • xanax
  • ambien

Prescription drugs should only be used as directed by a doctor. Any other use may lead to sickness, addiction or overdose.




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Synthetic Drugs

What are synthetic drugs?

Synthetic drugs are manufactured using chemical compounds created in a laboratory. Synthetic drugs often fall into one of two categories: stimulants and cannabinoids.

What are synthetic stimulants?

Synthetic stimulants contain ingredients that mimic the effects of methamphetamine, cocaine or LSD. Street names include “bath salts,” Bliss, Blue Silk, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, White Lightning and more.

Synthetic stimulants are often sold in convenience stores, online and in “head shops” (retail stores that sell items related to cannabis and tobacco consumption) under various brand names. Some are labeled “not for human consumption.”

People may inject, smoke, orally ingest, sniff or snort synthetic stimulants.

Side effects of synthetic stimulants include:

  • Alertness
  • Dizziness
  • Euphoria
  • Delusions
  • Feelings of empathy
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Prolonged panic attacks
  • Rapid heart rate that can lead to a heart attack or stroke
  • Seizures
  • Sensory awareness
  • Stimulation
  • Sweating
  • Suicidal thoughts

These drugs can also be deadly.

What are synthetic cannabinoids?

Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Common names include “fake weed,” Spice, Black Mamba, K2, AK-47, Kronic, Kush, Mr. Happy, Scooby Snax and more.

Many synthetic cannabinoids are illegal and cause serious side effects that are very different from marijuana’s side effects.

People may add them to food or tea, mix them into vaping liquid, or spray them onto plant materials and smoke them.

Synthetic cannabinoids aren’t safe. They can be contaminated with other drugs or toxic chemicals, be mislabeled, or contain different ingredients from one package to another.

Compared to marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids may affect the brain in different and unpredictable ways.

Side effects of synthetic cannabinoids include:

  • Anxiety
  • Convulsions
  • Giddiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Organ damage
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia

They can also cause death.

Why are synthetic drugs dangerous?

Because synthetic drugs are relatively new, there is little legal regulation when making or selling them. The strength and contents of each package can vary greatly.

So, even if you used them before with no serious side effects, that doesn’t mean they’re safe. The next batch you try could be much stronger or contain different ingredients, leading to severe illness or death.

They can also be addictive.

Withdrawal symptoms of synthetic drugs include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms after using synthetic drugs, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency department.

Synthetic drugs aren’t safe. If you suspect you may be addicted, talk to an adult you trust, such as a doctor, nurse, parent, aunt, uncle, older sibling or cousin, teacher, guidance counselor, coach or neighbor. And if someone offers you synthetic drugs, say no.

Need more info? Ask an Expert.

CDC: About Synthetic Cannabinoids
CDC: Synthetic cannabinoids: What are they? What are their effects?
United States Drug Enforcement Administration: Bath Salts
United States Drug Enforcement Administration: Spice/ K2, Synthetic Marijuana
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Spice
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Bath Salts

Home / Teen / Drugs and Alcohol



What is tobacco?

Tobacco is a type of plant used in making cigarettes, cigars, chewing/dipping tobacco and hookah. While tobacco products are legal to purchase for adults, they are highly addictive and have many negative effects.



What should I do if I need help?

Contact us to learn more about the dangers of tobacco products and how we can help. If you feel like you need immediate help, call the Centerstone Crisis Line nearest you.


How does tobacco affect me?

Tobacco contains a stimulant called nicotine which causes feelings of pleasure for the person using it. However, using tobacco products has many dangerous side effects, including:

  • lung, mouth, and many other types of cancer
  • increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • persistent cough
  • gum disease
  • risk of stroke
  • aging of skin
  • bad breath and yellowed teeth

Tobacco products are highly addictive, meaning that once you start using them, it’s very hard to stop.



Need more info? Ask An Expert