PAVING THE WAY
Drug use is beginning at a younger age in many jurisdictions. Parents have a right to be concerned, but there are many ways to ensure the health and safety of your children. Gaining as much information as possible, even when your children are under 12 years old, is a wise investment in their futures. The information in this portal will provide a good starting point.
STAGES OF BRAIN DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDHOOD IMPACT
Baby's neurone and connections growing.
Pregnant woman should avoid cigarettes, alcohol & drugs.
Development of voluntary movement, frontal lobes active in
development of emotions and attachments. A sense of ‘self’ and
‘who they are’ is developing. By age six, the brain is 95% its
adult weight and peak of energy consumption.
The neural connections or 'grey' matter is still pruning, wiring of the brain still
in progress, the fatty tissues surrounding neurone increase and assist with\
speeding up electrical impulses and stabilize connections.
The teen brain is “wired” differently than adults, but is developing quickly to manage the adult world. Adolescent brains tend to use the ‘amygdala’ more– in this case emotional areas – of the brain in making decisions. This is because the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for executive decisions, is one of the last areas of the brain to mature (usually by the age of 25).
Use of drugs at this critical time of their lives, may cause major damage to the developing brain. Some damage can be irreversible. Research has shown that the younger an adolescent begins using drugs, including marijuana, the more likely it is that drug dependence or addiction will develop in adulthood. Therefore, teenagers need to avoid drugs, alcohol and smoking.
Web link: 9 & 10 Module One | Save Your Brain scroll down to videos ‘Under Construction
TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT DRUGS
The use of drugs and experimentation is becoming younger.
Educate yourself first. Get the facts on the likely drugs being used so you know what you’re talking about when you approach the discussion with your kids.
Be a role model. Parents are responsible for shaping many of their children’s ideas and behaviours, so set the tone with your own actions.
Establish a safe environment where your kids can talk about their feelings and opinions without feeling judged.
Really listen and let them tell you what they know. It can sometimes be helpful to give them something to read that you can then discuss together.
The age of drug use is getting younger. Help them figure out ways to handle situations where they may be pressured to engage in these behaviours.
Create a plan together to give them ideas for responses – for example: “I’m in sport training – don’t want to spoil my chances at the trials’. Or ‘I have asthma and my doctor says I could become very ill if I try this,” or, “I just don’t think it looks cool.”
Help them understand that using willpower to stand up to peers is hard. But willpower is like a muscle — the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
Remember, true friends will respect the right to refuse drugs – or they are not true friends.
Helpful web link: Talking to Your Child About Drugs (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth
HELPFUL INFORMATION ABOUT PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS
The World Health Organization defines 'psychoactive drugs’ as substances that, when taken into one's system, affect mental processes:
mood and emotion
stimulants (ecstasy, methamphetamine, etc)
depressants (cannabis/marijuana, etc)
opiates (fentanyl, morphine. etc)
hallucinogens (LSD, ketamine etc)
DRUGS CAN BE LEGAL, ILLEGAL OR DECRIMINALISED
Legal drugs, such as pharmaceuticals are subject to some quality control. However, if not used as directed can be very harmful.
Some drugs are legal for adult use, (tobacco and alcohol), but illegal for those under the adult age. For example Alcohol can be illegal for those under 18 or 21 in some jurisdictions. Tobacco products cannot be sold to young people under the adult age in many places.
Illegal drugs are not subject to quality or price controls and the amount of active ingredients vary. Chances of overdose and even death are high in this case. This is particularly the case with United Nations ‘controlled’ drugs such as Psychoactive drugs.
Decriminalised drugs: are still illegal, but in some jurisdictions do not attract criminal penalties. Rather they result in ‘health’ warnings and drug diversion processes, where people who are found with these drugs can take ordered to go to health counselling and treatment. However, this can result in confusion and often people assume that such drugs are legal, or not harmful. Decriminalisation can lead to increased drug use in communities and therefore more health and negative social consequences i.e. more people in emergency rooms at hospitals, more road trauma, more family violence.
DRUG ABUSE (ADDICTION)
A drug is abused when:
It is illegally used
Used to produce a different looking condition than intended.
Used without prescription or use that ignores prescription instructions.
WHY DO PEOPLE TURN TO DRUG ABUSE?
WHY YOUTH USE DRUGS
To kill Idleness or boredom
Out of curiosity
Due to media and or peer influences
To escape their pain
To fit in
If you are already dependent on drugs or you know someone who needs help. Not all is lost. Reach out. CONTACT US
Stage 1 - Antenatal 0 to 10 Months
Stage 2 - Birth to 6 Years
Stage 3 – Age 7 to 11 Years
Stage 4 – Age 12 to 25
The developing brain is uniquely vulnerable to substance use. The brain isn’t fully developed until the mid 20s.