Drugs: how to prevent their consumption in young people and adolescents

Drugs: how to prevent their consumption in young people and adolescents

We live in a world in which it is possible to use drugs with different objectives and in which it is possible that some young people become dependent on them, everyone, parents, educators, etc ... we must know what drugs are and how to prevent their use.

"Drugs are those non-food substances with psychoactive properties that can cause dependence and addiction"

From this criterion, not only drugs called illegal, opiates and cocaine can be considered drugs, but there are other substances, such as fermented alcohol, liquors, tobacco and activities such as "gambling" that can be considered drugs.

The use of drugs, legal and illegal, is an issue around which in our country there is a great social concern. The use and abuse of drugs represents a serious problem, capable of producing important alterations of health and social problems. The phenomenon of drug use is presented with characteristics that make it very worrying: type of substances consumed, the frequency of its use, increase in the number of consumers along with a decrease in the age of initiation. All this emphasizes the need for effective preventive action.


  • 1 What are drugs?
  • 2 Types of drugs and their effects
  • 3 How to prevent drugs in young people

What are drugs?

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), DRUG is “any substance that, introduced into the living organism, can modify one or more of its functions”.

Dependence: it is “the psychic and sometimes physical state caused by the reciprocal action between a living organism and a drug, which is characterized by changes in behavior and other reactions that always include an irrepressible impulse to take the drug continuously or periodically, in order to experience its psychic effects and sometimes to avoid the discomfort caused by deprivation. ”

Tolerance: it is "a state of adaptation characterized by a decrease in the response to the same dose of drug or by the fact that to produce the same degree of pharmacodynamic effect, a larger dose is necessary."

Cross Tolerance: it is "a phenomenon in which a drug is taken and tolerance appears not only to that drug, but also to another of the same type or sometimes of another connected".

That a person becomes dependent on a drug will depend on the interaction of 3 factors:

  1. Personal characteristics or previous experience of the subject.
  2. Nature of its general sociocultural environment and the most immediate.
  3. Pharmacodynamic characteristics of the drug in question, taking into account the amount used, the frequency of use and the route of administration.

The psychic dependence It is defined as "a situation in which there is a feeling of satisfaction and a psychic impulse that requires regular and continuous administration of the drug to produce pleasure or avoid discomfort." The physical dependence It is defined as "a state of adaptation that is manifested by the appearance of intense physical disorders when drug administration is interrupted." These disorders constitute the "Withdrawal Syndrome."

Types of drugs and their effects

The characteristics of drug dependence show great differences from one type of drug to another.


It causes euphoria and analgesia. The characteristics of drug dependence are the following: Psychic dependence in different degrees. Establishment of physical dependence. After the reduction of consumption below a critical level, a self-limited withdrawal syndrome occurs. Withdrawal syndrome includes: tremors, hallucinations, seizures and "delirium tremens". An irregular and incomplete tolerance is established. Amphetamines

They are synthetic compounds with euphoric properties by stimulating the Central Nervous System (CNS) by counteracting the effects of depressants. The characteristics of drug dependence are: They produce variable psychic dependence. Small physical dependence Tolerance is established fairly quickly.

Designer drugs

Chemically synthesized substances that are used as a "recreational drug" seeking in its consumption a greater receptivity towards sensual aspects and greater empathy with others. The best known of them is ecstasy. The data available from the studies carried out offer reasonable certainty about the long-term damage to the human brain from continued consumption.


The characteristics of the drug dependence they are: Variable psychic dependence. Marked physical dependence when doses are markedly higher than therapeutic levels. Withdrawal syndrome is very serious (nervous excitement, nausea, vomiting, convulsions and manifestations of terror). Establishment of a variable and incomplete tolerance to the different pharmacological effects.

Cannabis type drugs

Preparations containing mainly leaves and florid units not deprived of the resin are called Marijuana, Grass or Kif. Cannabis resin is called Hashish. In general there is euphoria, significant perceptual changes, such as visual and auditory distortions, temporary disorientation and decreased immediate memory. If consumed in company tends to loquacity and spontaneous laughter. Its drug dependence is characterized by:

  • Moderate to strong psychic dependence.
  • Small or no physical dependence.
  • No withdrawal syndrome appears.
  • A certain degree of tolerance associated with heavy use appears.

The consumption to be prolonged and to increase the doses progressively entails important biological and personality disorders (affective indifference, abulia, etc.). Among the regular consumers, the "amotivational" syndrome has been described, characterized by the inability to maintain attention to environmental stimuli and to maintain the thought or behavior directed towards an objective. Cocaine

It is a powerful brain stimulant, very similar in its action to amphetamines, causes feelings of great muscular strength and mental vivacity. They are capable, in high doses, of causing euphoric excitement and hallucinatory experiences. Drug dependence is presented as follows:

  • Very intense psychic dependence.
  • Physical dependence
  • Withdrawal syndrome manifests with anxiety, nausea, tremor, tiredness and depressive symptoms.
  • Lack of tolerance.
  • Strong tendency to continue administration.


These drugs cause a state of CNS excitation and central autonomic hyperactivity that manifests itself in changes in mood, deformation of sensory perception, visual hallucinations, delusions, depersonalization, etc. In general the experience is pleasant with the exception of “bad trips” where panic reactions occur. The characteristics of drug dependence are:

  • Psychic dependence is usually not intense.
  • No physical dependence, no withdrawal syndrome.
  • A high degree of tolerance is rapidly acquired.


They produce a state of total satiety of the impulses, suppress the sensation of pain. For example: Heroin, Morphine, Methadone, etc. The characteristics of the dependence are: · Strong psychic dependence, which manifests itself as an irrepressible impulse to continue using drugs.

  • You have physical dependence that can be started from the first dose administered.
  • Withdrawal disorder occurs 36-72 hours after deprivation and is very intense.
  • Tolerance is established.

A high dose can cause death due to circulatory collapse or respiratory arrest. Its administration intravenously increases the risk of contagion of certain diseases (hepatitis, AIDS). In cases of habitual consumption, the withdrawal syndrome lasts 1 to 2 weeks. The symptoms are: tearing, sweating, muscle cramps, intestinal spasms, backaches, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea and intense anxiety and depression crisis. Inhalants

  • These substances are CNS depressants and produce effects similar to those of alcohol.

They include: gasoline, glue, glue, solvents, etc. The characteristics of drug dependence are:

Some substances can produce psychic dependence of various degrees.

  • There is no evidence of physical dependence.
  • The phenomenon of tolerance for CNS depressant effects has been demonstrated:


Tobacco causes dependence on one of the substances it contains, Nicotine is an alkaloid that creates addiction and is only present in the tobacco plant. Next to it there are several thousand more substances in cigarette smoke that produce various alterations when introduced into the body. Among them, tars stand out, which are responsible for a large number of diseases, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (such as bronchitis or emphysema), or other adjuvants to the circulatory and respiratory system.

People start smoking for psychosocial reasons, such as availability, rebellion, social trust, etc., although once they have tried the first cigarettes it is both the psychosocial and the physiological factors (nicotine) that are responsible for maintaining that behavior. For this reason the age of onset of this habit is in adolescence. It is worth highlighting a fact of great importance and that the earlier the habit is acquired, the more difficult it is then the abandonment of cigarettes.

How to prevent drugs in young people

The intervention strategy for drug dependence prevention must pursue a double objective: Promote changes in aspects of the context of the youth that are recognized as possible triggers of the onset of consumption or that hinder their personal development and proper adaptation, through the active involvement of parents and teachers in prevention. Get a favorable attitude towards a healthy life, without drug use, by learning a series of behaviors, skills or competencies that allow him to behave independently of the environment and with freedom.

There are a number of actions that parents and teachers have to perform that we consider "preventive acts": form the critical sense of children and young people, who learn to make decisions, who develop their self control, that maintain a favorable attitude towards health in general, etc ... and also, at a certain age, that they know the nature and effects of certain psychoactive substances.

The critical period for experimentation, for the first contact with one or more psychoactive substances, it is the preteen and adolescence. Certain psychological and socio-environmental factors seem to be the cause of the onset, while those same factors, plus the pharmacological properties of the substances, are the cause of future maintenance in use, with the development of physical and psychic dependence on the substance.

It is reasonable to assume that the prevention of drug use must go hand in hand with the prevention of many other manifestations of the personal and relational problems of adolescents and young people. In this way, the preventive task should not be exclusively focused on drugs, but must cover the underlying determinants of this set of problem behaviors. In this sense, the importance of the role of the family in the genesis of the onset of drug use and, therefore, its role as a preventive agent is increasingly recognized. From the family and the school, drug consumption is prevented by assuming and developing the fundamental role assigned to these institutions: Educate.

You have the power to meditate on your decisions regarding what you are going to allow to enter your body. And if something sneaks in, you still have the power to expel it. Which means you keep controlling your body and your mind.

To know more: Drugs and addictions