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Consequences of Drugs, Tobacco & Alcohol

Smoking can turn into a lifelong addiction that can be extremely hard to break. Some of the more undesirable effects of smoking, including bad breath, stained teeth, wrinkles, a long-term cough, and decreased athletic performance. Long-term use can also lead to serious health problems like emphysema and cancer.

Chew or snuff can also lead to nicotine addiction and causes the same health problems as smoking cigarettes. In addition, mouth wounds or sores can form and may not heal easily. Smokeless tobacco can also lead to cancer.

Even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgment, provoke risky and violent behavior, and slow down reaction time. An intoxicated teen (or anyone else) behind the wheel of a car makes it a lethal weapon. Alcohol-related car crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults aged 15 to 24 years.

How can I tell if my child or teen is using Drugs?

Certain symptoms and behaviors are warning signs for drug use. But keep in mind they may also indicate other problems, such as depression. Look for:

  • Alcohol, smoke, or other chemical odors on your child's or their friends' breath or clothing
  • Obvious intoxication, dizziness, or bizarre behavior
  • Changes in dress and grooming
  • Changes in choice of friends
  • Frequent arguments, sudden mood changes, and unexplained violent actions
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Loss of interest in usual activities or hobbies
  • School problems like declining or failing grades, poor attendance, and recent discipline problems
  • Trauma or frequent injuries
  • Runaway and delinquent behavior
  • Depressed mood or talk about depression or suicide; suicide attempts
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