Many teens don’t think about the potential risks associated with drug use, but that doesn’t mean the dangers aren’t real. Long-term drug use can lead to a number of complications, both physical and mental, that may not improve, even if the drug use is discontinued. Here is a look at some of the most pressing health problems faced by teen drug addicts.
- Accidental Injury
Mind-altering drugs can impair both judgment and motor skills in teens, which puts them at a higher risk of accidental injury—especially if they’re operating a motor vehicle. Almost a quarter of all car accidents involving teens took place while they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Respiratory Problems
Drugs that require the user to inhale them, such as marijuana, crack cocaine, and household inhalants, can damage the lungs and airways in teen users. These drugs can be particularly problematic for teens whose respiratory systems haven’t fully developed yet, since they can cause permanent developmental issues. Teens who use substances like these are at a higher risk for conditions that include bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia.
- Brain Function
Drug use can promote a number of unwanted mental conditions in teens—including paranoia, psychosis, hallucinations, and depression. In addition to these symptoms, drug use can adversely affect the normal development of a teen’s brain. These substances interfere with neurotransmitters and the creation of neural pathways, and eventually drug use can become “hard wired” in regular users.
- Liver Damage
Some drugs are full of unwanted toxins that must be filtered out of the body via the liver. All this extra stress placed on the organ can cause long-term damage to it, including cirrhosis or complete liver failure.
- Disease Transmission
Teens who use drugs are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, which leads to a higher incidence of STIs within the demographic. Additionally, diseases like HIV/AIDS can easily be transmitted to teens who use intravenous drugs, such as heroin, that require the use of needles.