Why Do People Use Illegal Drugs?
Sometimes kids and teens try drugs to fit in with a group of friends. Or they might be curious or just bored. Someone may use illegal drugs for many reasons, but often because they help the person escape from reality for a while. A drug might — temporarily — make someone who is sad or upset feel better or forget about problems. But this escape lasts only until the drug wears off.
Drugs don't solve problems, of course. And using drugs often causes other problems on top of the problems the person had in the first place. Somebody who uses drugs can become dependent on them, or addicted. This means that the person's body becomes so accustomed to having this drug that he or she can't function well without it.
Once someone is addicted, it's very hard to stop taking drugs. Stopping can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting (throwing up), sweating, and tremors (shaking). These sick feelings continue until the person's body gets adjusted to being drug free again.
Can I Tell If Someone Is Using Drugs?
If someone is using drugs, you might notice changes in how the person looks or acts. Here are some of those signs, but it's important to remember that depression or another problem could be causing these changes. Somebody using drugs might:
* lose interest in school
* change friends (to hang out with kids who use drugs)
* become moody, negative, cranky, or worried all the time
* ask to be left alone a lot
* have trouble concentrating
* sleep a lot (maybe even in class)
* get in fights
* have red or puffy eyes
* lose or gain weight
* cough a lot
* have a runny nose all of the time
What Can I Do to Help?
If you think someone is using drugs, the best thing to do is to tell an adult that you trust. This could be a parent, other relative, teacher, coach, or school counselor. The person might need professional help to stop using drugs. A grownup can help the person find the treatment needed to stop using drugs. Another way kids can help kids is by choosing not to try or use drugs. It's a good way for friends to stick together.