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Hooked on Heroin

Smack, horse, dope, skunk, H. You can smoke it, snort it, or even inject it. It’s one of the most addictive drugs out there, and in recent years, the number of people ages 12-17 in America who have started using it has increased by 300%.

Heroin is produced from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that comes from the seedpod of poppy plants. It can look like a white powder, a darker brown powder, or a tar-like substance. Approximately 1/4 people who try it end of becoming addicted and physically dependent on it.

Some of the short-term effects are:

  • euphoria
  • warm flushing of the skin
  • dry mouth
  • heavy extremities
  • alternately wakeful then drowsy state
  • mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system
  • slurred speech
  • slow movement
  • constricted pupils
  • droopy eyelids
  • impaired night vision
  • vomiting
  • constipation

Some of the long-term effects are:

  • collapsed veins
  • infection of the heart lining and valves
  • liver disease
  • pulmonary complications
  • pneumonia
  • suppresses breathing
  • clogging blood vessels that lead to lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain
  • infection or death of cells in vital organs

Basically, heroin destroys your body. 

People become addicted to heroin so easily because it moves to the brain so quickly. Users become tolerant of it, so they need to use more and more to reach the same high they want. They can also experience withdrawals within just a few hours after they last time they used. So of course, they use multiple times a day so they don’t have to deal with those withdrawals. Heroin withdrawals include: drug craving, restlessness, muscle/bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes.

Sounds like a pretty miserable way to live, right?

Heroin addiction is treatable, but some people become so addicted that recovery can take several years, even decades.

So really, is it worth it? I think the answer to that is obvious. Heroin ruins people’s bodies and their lives… don’t even go there.

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Hookah: Legal but Good?

Just because something is legal does it mean that it is good for you? The answer should be no.

Think about this. A hookah, sometimes called a water pipe, is used to smoke shisha (a  flavored tobacco) is legal in the state of Oregon if you are 18 years old or older. Hookah bars are becoming increasingly more popular and many people justify hookah smoking with the fact that it is legal. With it’s growing popularity, hookah smoking could seem like a better alternative to smoking cigarettes or other drugs. Check out some of these facts from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and tell me if you still think that hookah smoking is good for you!Image

Did you know that only 1 hour of hookah smoking is the same as smoking 100 to 200 cigarettes!

Hookah smoking still has nicotine which is in cigarettes.

Oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the esophagus, reduced lung function and decreased fertility are disease linked with smoking cigarettes as well as hookah smoking! Sounds fun, eh?

You can catch infectious diseases by sharing a hookah.

The charcoal used to heat the tobacco in the hookah can increase health risks because it produces high levels of carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals! (Note: Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness and death! So when you smoke hookah you are at a higher risk for illness and death.)

Secondhand smoke from hookahs is a serious risk for nonsmokers. So think before you go to hookah bar with friends, even if you aren’t going to be smoking with them. The smoke from the hookah can affect you but also the charcoal (which produces carbon monoxide) can be a serious risk.

Hookah smoking is NOT a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes!

So if you don’t want to have lung cancer, be addicted to tobacco, catch an infectious disease or be serious effected by carbon monoxide, you might want to rethink smoking hookah next time!

Next time you and your friends want something fun to do, go check out a new movie, go to a crazy yoga or fitness class, go swimming, pick up a new hobby, or come hang out with your friends at Youth Outreach!

*Note: If you are addicted to hookah smoking, or any other type of drugs, get help! Contact us and we can help!

Your Brain On Drugs

Being the learning junky that I am I came across this amazing article on adolescent brain development. Acts for Youth Upstate Center For Excellence released a report in 2002, that found the effects of drugs and alcohol on still developing teenage brains was serious.

 Your brain is still developing into your early twenties. It is still making new connections, increasing in grey matter, and building the framework of you.

One reason that teenagers  have problems with drugs and alcohol may be due to the fact that their brains are not fully developed. They tend to misinterpret emotions as well as being oblivious to real consequences of their actions. The study finds that the damage to teenage brains by alcohol and drugs are long lasting and can have major effects on the make up of the brain.

The good news is that the teenage brain is still developing, and if you choose to fill it with knowledge instead of alcohol and drugs you will have amazing effect. Use it or lose it, is the main rule of the brain. If you do not continue to learn and make new connections the neurons in your brain will die. So exercise your brain and pick up a book, not a beer.

A Hookah Habit

Everybody knows that smoking cigarettes is really bad for you, so instead some young people have turned to smoking Hookah. Fox 12 Oregon reports that Hookah is a type of tobacco that comes in fun flavors, such as Mango Tango and Skittles. Many teens believe that this flavored tobacco has little or no nicotine in it, there for it is not addictive. Wrong, it does contain nicotine and is addictive. In fact the World Heath Organization reports that a typical Hookah session equals the amount of smoke in 100 cigarettes.

The majority of Hookah smokers are young teenage girls. Hookah is being marketed to young girls by using appealing flavors. One young lady stated that she smokes Hookah because it tastes good. No matter what you call it, it is still smoking and still unhealthy.