Mnangagwa Urged Zimbabwean Youths to Shun Drugs

President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday urged youths to shun drugs and concentrate more on their education as well as inventing new products useful for the country.

Addressing a children’s pre-independence party in Harare, Mnangagwa said youths should refrain from abusing alcoholic substances because that could affect their learning.

“You must respect your teachers, you must shun drugs and you must shun alcohol and substance abuse. Violence and other activities that may harm you, you must shun such activities,” he said.

Mnangagwa said it was essential for the youths to take part in innovations and inventions to enable them to create opportunities for themselves and others.

“I was impressed and encouraged by the quality of exhibitions during Research Council of Zimbabwe Symposium by some of you, your innovations and inventions. I challenge more of you across the country to participate in that symposium next year,” Mnangagwa said.

“These initiatives will empower you to develop viable enterprises and widen employment opportunities. Resources will be made available for teaching and learning materials as well as equipment and facilities to enable you to take part in this programme.”

Some pupils, especially those in the rural areas including Binga and Lupane walk up to 15 kilometres to get to the nearest school which is creating a barrier to access education.

The President said his government was committed to improve access to quality education which is in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals target four.

“The achievement of quality education will remain high on my agenda. We will accelerate the construction of more schools to ensure that no more leaner has to walk more than five kilometres to a school,” Mnangagwa said.

Source News Day

Increased Risk for Death in Youths Taking High-Dose Antipsychotics

By Psychiatry Advisor

In youths taking a high dose of antipsychotic medication, the risk for an unexpected death is >3.5-fold than in youths not taking one, according to study results published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Researchers retrospectively analyzed Medicaid data to create 3 study cohorts of youths 5 to 24 years old not diagnosed with schizophrenia or related psychoses. The first cohort was composed of young people taking an oral antipsychotic at a dosage >50 mg; the second cohort was composed of children taking an oral antipsychotic medication ≤50 mg; the third cohort was composed of children taking a control medication, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications, antidepressants, or mood stabilizers. Deaths during the study were classified as either injury or suicide, unexpected death not because of overdose, or unexpected death because of cardiovascular or metabolic causes.

Of the 30,120 participants taking a high dose of antipsychotic medication, 39.2% were women, the mean age was 14.5±4.8 years old, and the most commonly prescribed medication was quetiapine. Of the 28,377 participants taking a low dose of antipsychotic medication, 32.3% were women, the mean age was 11.7±4.4 years old, and the most commonly prescribed medication was risperidone. Of the 189,361 participants taking a control medication, 43.4% were women, the mean age was 12±5.1 years old, 49.6% were prescribed antidepressants, 42.9% were prescribed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications, and 7.5% were prescribed mood stabilizers.

The high-dose cohort had 40 deaths, which translated to 146.2 per 100,000 person-years (95% CI, 107.3-199.4), which was significantly higher than the control cohort (P <.001). The low-dose cohort had 8 deaths, which translated to 49.5 (95% CI, 24.8-99.0) per 100,000 person-years. The control-medication cohort had 67 deaths, which translated to 54.5 (95% CI, 42.9-69.2) per 100,000 person-years. The risk for death was 80% greater in the high-dose cohort than in the control cohort (hazard ratio (HR)1.80; 95% CI, 1.06-3.07), for any type of unexpected death (HR 3.51; 95% CI, 1.54-7.96), for injury or suicide (HR 1.03; 95% CI, 0.53-2.01), for unexpected deaths from unintentional drug overdose (HR 3.51; 95% CI, 0.99-12.43), and for unexpected death because of cardiovascular or metabolic causes (HR 4.29; 95% CI, 1.33-13.89).

Future studies should consider increasing sample size to further evaluate the association of specific antipsychotic medications, analyze potential drug interactions, and differentiate between cardiovascular and metabolic events.

The researchers concluded young people prescribed a high dose of antipsychotic medication “had a 3.5-fold increased risk [for] unexpected deaths… [and t]hese results appear to reinforce recommendations for careful prescribing and monitoring of antipsychotic regimens for children and youths and the need for larger antipsychotic safety studies in this population.”


Ray WA, Stein CM, Murray KT, et al. Association of antipsychotic treatment with risk of unexpected death among children and youths [published online December 12, 2018]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.3421

Drug Abuse And Nigerian Youths -By Jerome- Mario Utomi

By Opinion Nigeria

I remember with nostalgia how participants at a focused group discussion held recently in Lagos, bemoaned infestation of our nation by social problems perpetrated consciously and unconsciously by her own people. Warning that under this condition, it may be thought audacious to talk of creating a better society while we are still battling with the problems of battered economy arising from corruption, social vices and decay of institutions.

Among these social challenges, it was clearly stated that the consumption of drugs in amounts and methods not authorized by medical professionals has become but a silent reality that Nigerians should worry about. Noting that though the act cuts across all strata, powerful statistics make it abundantly clear that the youths-majorly males with a sprinkle of females remain undefeated in this act. The gathering had as a theme; The Alarming Increase in Drug Abuse: What Did We Do Wrong? , organized by the Justice and Peace Development Centre (JDPC), Ketu, Lagos.

Indeed, the worries by the participants without fail has become a living reality validated by a reported sex romp by four students (three boys and a girl) at the sunshine Lodge, Ihiagwa, one of the satellite communities close to the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo state that left three out of the four students dead while the boys were taking turns to have sex with the girl after allegedly taking a mixture of tramadol, codeine and vodka.

Certainly, a striking human tragedy deepened by the awareness that it was avoidable particularly when one remembers that this incident occurred neither by accident nor as the first half of a reoccurring circle but rather the beginning of something new.

To explain; for decades, we have been warned with mountains of evidence that this was coming, yet, our leaders who are never ready to serve or save the citizens ignored the warnings describing it as a prank.

Now we have learnt a very useful lesson that we can no longer ignore.

The tragedy in a private hostel has additionally brought to the core governments wicKed underfunding challenge of, and incompetence in providing basic facilities such as hostel accommodation to the educational sector- a malady that runs deep through successive administrations.

If adequate hostel accommodation were provided within the school premises by the government, chances are that monitoring of these youths would have been enhanced.

But more important than all of these lessons is the urgent need to remap strategies to curb reassurance because if the results of the FUTO sex scandal looKs ugly and frightening, what is to come from what medical experts are saying may be worse if serious positive actions are not taken.

Going by these reports, there are but three main forms of drug abuse. They include the use of; mood-altering or psycho-active drugs, performance-enhancing drug and dependency drugs.

While mood-altering or psychoactive drugs such as Codeine, tramadol affect people’s reasoning ability and give the abuser wrong sense of wellbeing, performance-enhancing drugs such as cocaine, heroin drug give extra stamina or energy to the abuser. Dependency drugs on its part typify drugs people abuse in the course of trying to overcome some health issue or challenges or taken to maintain a particular lifestyle.

So what does this mean to our nation where every day ‘exciting progress” is made in the consumption of these substances without recourse to prescription. This stunning awareness in my views has made getting to the cause of this social challenge more compelling.

Certainly, it will by no means be an exaggeration to state that apart from negative peer influence, unemployment and a continuous avenue to escape problems and worries are the major reason why Nigeran youths take to the drug.

This, however, may not be the only explanation fueling this social evil.

Specifically, the deliberate desire by these youths to hide their weaknesses, failure on the part of the family to train the youths on the way they should go, broken home influence, and pressure to succeed at all cost also promote this social menace.

Regrettably, a common fact that abusers fail to remember is that aside from the wide belief that throughout history more people have silently been destroyed by substance abuse than any other cause, drug abuse according to psychologists, has never helped any individual involved.

As an illustration, it is factually supported that drug consumption in amounts or methods not authorized by medical professionals have in the past led to mental disorder, disrupted the abuser’s education and future, poor attitude to work, health problems such as lung disease, heart disease and deaths among others.

From this standpoint, it is a clear socioeconomic problem that we collectively as a nation will have to determine how to solve- as the future strength of our nation depends on these young people.

Catalyzing this process will among other solutions require the government and its agencies to come up with effective reforms and teamwork that will tackle the challenge from its roots.

I hold an opinion that what the government is doing in this direction is but a palliative which only relieves temporal distress, but leaves the disease and its ravages unaffected.

To succeed in this job, an effort expected from the government must have skill development and job creation for the youths at its centre. This approach to the problem is not without successful precedents. Addressing the perennial education sector funding and the infrastructural challenge will also be a right step taken in the right direction by the government.

Re-orientation on our cultural values by faith-based organizations and the civil society groups will assist the youths to drop illicit consumption of drugs and unwholesome behaviours that endanger their lives and threatens the society.

Parents and guardians must strive to influence which people capture their children imaginations and always be aware of who their friends are and what places they frequent. And always put the youths in the presence of people of great accomplishment whom they want them to emulate.

These in the words of Ben Carson are things that used to be done quite routinely by caring guardians but now many young people derive their identity from their peer groups and their social network which can be extensive.

Youths on their part must recognize that ‘the future is full of promises as it is fraught with uncertainty. And should, therefore, develop the capacity to seek activities laced with highest values

Source Opinion Nigeria

Nigeria losing war against drug abuse

By Adaku Onyenucheya

The issue of drug and substance abuse among the teeming youths in Nigeria has taken a new dimension, as the problem is much bigger than projected decades ago.
Before now, drug and substance abuse was rampant among few hoodlums on the streets and also done in hidden places, but the current situation is not the same, as there is practically no major city in Nigeria that does not have hideouts, joints, clubs or ram-shackles where the youths visit to buy or use drugs of different descriptions to feel good.

More worrisome is the fact that drugs are now done in the open without fear of being seen or caught, whether by their parents, elderly ones, religious leaders, teachers or law enforcement agencies. Drugs are now everywhere; there is hardly any tertiary institution or even the primary and secondary schools that are free of drug abusers.

Experts have expressed worry that this may lead to an irreversible lethal consequence on the youths, who occupy the larger percentage of the country’s population, if not addressed on time, adding that the upsurge is rapidly destroying the future of the country, as many young promising lives are destroyed to drugs daily.

However, before 2013, Nigeria was considered only as a transit nation for illicit drugs, but is currently recognised internationally as user nation.

Some of these drugs and substances commonly abused among youths in the country include but not limited to prescription drugs, such as Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, Methadone, oxycodone, Tramadol, codeine, Morphine among other; chemicals and illegal drugs such as cannabis or marijuana, opiates, heroine.

Others include, stimulants, such as methamphetamines and cocaine as well as hallucinogens.

More surprising is that substance abuse has taken another level in the country as the abusers engage in smoking lizard dung, inhaling dry faeces, mixing bleach with soft drinks, among other mysterious deeds, just for the following purposes, such as to derive pleasure, feel or perform better in certain situations, or to change one’s perception of reality.

Although, it was reported that about three million codeine containing cough syrups are consumed daily in Kano and about six million bottles in the Northwest region of Nigeria, the current 2018 National Survey on Drug Use in Nigeria, recently presented by the federal government in Abuja shows that 14.3 million people, representing approximately 14.4 per cent of the country’s population, between the ages of 15 and 64 abuse drugs and substances in the past one year.

Stating the figures at the MTN Foundation’s Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) roundtable on multi sectoral approach in curbing substance abuse in Nigeria and the need for intensified collaborative action, which was held in Lagos on Thursday, the Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris said the situation is worst than the statistics reveal.

He said the survey also shows that the menace of drug abuse was more prominent in the Southwest, with Lagos and Oyo state taking the lead, as the former has about 22.5 per cent of the 14.3 million drug users.

Idris said the South-south came second, the Southeast third, while the North central last, adding that the survey also revealed that the number of drug users in Nigeria in the previous year was very high than international standards, of approximately 14.3 million people, which means that the prevalence of drug abuse in the country is more than twice the global average of 5.6 per cent.

The consequences of drug and substance abuse are varied and devastating for the individuals involved, the family, nation and the international community.

According to the commissioner, the medical problems associated with drug abuse include, mental disorder, liver cirrhosis, lethargy, irritability, cardio-vascular disorders, cancer, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Hepatitis B and C among others, while the social consequences are numerous, such as school dropout, cultism, violence, armed robbery, lawlessness, cultural disorientation, rape, assassinations, loss of productivity, among others.

He noted that the financial cost to the nations economy is huge, which he stressed needs adequate funding from the government to strengthen the health and education sector in order to eliminate the scourge.

In his remark, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Lagos State, Agboola Dabiri, stressed that substance abuse globally and in Nigeria, specifically, has taken a new dimension, which calls for deliberate and sustainable actions, adding that the issue of drug abuse is no longer on the roads; but now within our homes.

Dabiri said drug abuse is a major problem in Lagos and it is biting so hard, noting that for every 10 homes “you must have one person involved in drug abuse.”

He stressed that abusers don’t hide in secret to take drugs anymore, but rather do it in the open, which is the challenge the country is having.

The commissioner revealed that the rehabilitation homes across the state are congested because of the rising number of drug addicts brought in on a daily basis, which comprises students of tertiary institutions.

He said the issue of substance abuse among Nigerian youth requires cooperative efforts with all stakeholders and all sectors to respond to the scourge.

Although, the Senate had conducted public hearing on the issue and existing laws are being reviewed, with new ones crafted to combat the present and future danger associated with drug and substance abuse.

Also, the Minister of Health had set up a committee to investigate measures to take to reduce or totally eliminate access to some of the drugs that are being abused. Some organisations, like the MTN Nigeria have also initiated the ASAP intervention to help the society combat the problem.

This is in line with the multi-dimensional approach recommended to combat this resurgent menace, as MTN Foundation brought stakeholders to chart way forward at the forum held in Lagos, which had in attendance partners including, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Nigeria Police Force, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM); Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), and Global Initiative On Substance Abuse (GISA) among others.

Speaking at the forum, the Chairman, MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, explained that the purpose of the campaign is to stimulate discourse among thought leaders, policy makers and leaders from different walks of life, to bring everyone much closer towards its goal of freeing “our future leaders from the evil attraction of drugs and possible addiction to opioids.”

The forum also had panel sessions with stakeholders who proposed engagement of the family, community, religious groups, youth groups, industries and government to combat the menace.

The panelists stressed that parents should monitor their children and their activities, while the government must ensure that the drug distribution system is sanitised and access to dangerous drugs is severely restricted, noting that everybody involved in handling of drugs must be brought under regulatory control.

They stressed that the economy must be stimulated to provide jobs for the unemployed and the teeming population joining the labour market every year.

Also, an alternative means of engagement such as sports, empowerment and other recreational activities must be provided to take the youths out of the street.

The panelists added that everybody must be involved in the efforts to educate the youths and limit the availability of drugs to professionals only, while they task the pharmaceutical industry, comprising the manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to have a big role to play and must be extra vigilant in the handling of sensitive drugs that are prone to abuse by youths.

Explaining further, the ASAP intervention, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma said the state activations, which started with various activities in primary and secondary schools, motor parks, and markets, will continue with an advocacy walk that will culminate in counselling sessions for all interested persons.

She, however, said a replication of all the activities under the ASAP initiative will be in five other states – Imo, Rivers, Kano, Bauchi and Abuja in the coming months, as the overall objective is to take the initiative to the streets of Nigeria and meet the youth in their comfort zones.

Source Features

Rwanda: How best can the youth fight bad vices?

Children and Youth is a non-profit organisation 

By Lydia Atieno

Raising a child with proper manners takes effort. With today’s society dripping with temptation almost everywhere, establishing a morally upright background can be tough.

Going by this, ‘Children and Youth’ will launch Rwanda student’s lifestyle at Amahoro National Stadium this week with the aim of helping high school and university students fight bad vices such as drug abuse, transmission of HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence.

Children and Youth is a non-profit organisation with vocational programmes that help children between the age of five and 18 explore their talent in sports.

The youth should be encourged to stay away from vices such as drinking alcohol. Net photo.

Through sports, students are brought together to interact and discuss these issues.

Educators have a big role to play

Silvia Mahoro, a youth mentor and counsellor, says some vulnerable students may resort to risky behaviour to get necessities.

Mahoro says there is also lack of psychosocial guidance programmes in many schools and that although every educator is supposed to provide that support, not everyone is willing to provide it.

She believes the media also has a role to play in this.

“Sometimes what is exposed by the media makes young people curious to experience and indulge in,” she says.

Omer Mayobere, a psychologist at Caring for Impact Ministries (CIM), an NGO that promotes life in all its fullness among the youth, notes that most of the time, youth engage in dangerous activities due to factors such as family conflict, poverty, absence of parents to provide love, care and affection or a result of inter-generational issues from parents.

He is of the view that for this to be handled, educators should be trained first for them to understand why the youth get into such vices in the first place. He believes if they are equipped with enough knowledge, the youth will be given the right education on the effects of drug use not only as a disciplinary issue, but as a vice that has serious repercussions.

Educators on the other hand must have knowledge on human development, especially an understanding about teenage hood, Mayobere says. This, he says, will help them understand the world of the youth, change their attitude towards them, and provide approaches to use and deal with the issue of bad influence.

He advises educators to create weekly, monthly or quarterly dialogues, where different themes can be developed centred on the causes or effects of drug abuse. This will help students invent their own solutions, he says.

“This must be a participatory platform where educators create a conducive atmosphere to help students feel free to share their ideas. This will help them engage in fighting such vices,” Mayobere says.

According to Nelson Mukasa, Executive Director of Children and Youth, educators should encourage students to take vows or sign a social contract between themselves to fight against the issues affecting them. This can be done between schools and the Government, as it will help set a self-regulating mechanism on the prevention of such issues.

He says this must be a learning process to encourage ownership, adding that schools must have some campaigns using people who have overcome the vices to share their stories and learn from them.

When it comes to GBV, Mayobere says it’s ideal for teachers to be trained in gender sensitive approaches with emphasis on positive masculinity; this means that they (teachers) must have a structure on how to address these issues, and students on the other hand must have accountability.

Sylvester Twizerimana, a psychologist, says schools must schedule GBV dialogues in class in order to empower each and every student, in a way that students own the issue and implement creative resolutions.

He says many educators have little knowledge on these topics yet in some cases they are the ones suspected to misbehave, especially with GBV and risks related to HIV transmission.

“There is a gap in communication between parents and students, it is hard for young people to get into deep conversations on these issues with their parents because parents may not be knowledgeable, or their attitude is always tough disciplinary measures,” he says.

This makes children distant from their parents, yet they are supposed to get advice and help from schools as well as home, he adds.

Call for awareness

Aflodis Kagaba, the executive director of Health Development Initiative (HDI), says one of the main challenges when it comes to fighting such issues is that many youngsters are not aware of them or even the dangers associated with them.

He says there is an increase in drug use in the country with the youth ranking at the top.

According to statistics from Kigali Health Institute, more than half the youth in the country (14 to 35) have consumed one or more kinds of drugs.

Research shows that overall lifetime prevalence rate for substance use among the Rwandan youth is 52.5 per cent.

Kagaba, therefore, says if the youth are not educated on the dangers of drugs, the number will likely increase because a big number of them are idle and unemployed; thus resorting to abusing drugs, leading to other vices.

He says because the youth are at times lured to these vices as a result of stress or peer influence, there is need to come up with mechanisms at the community level to help address the issue.

He also points out that educators should provide right and accurate information on the dangers.

“The main aim of creating this awareness is to prevent them from abusing, but at the same time, those who are addicted need to be supported mentally and psychologically and helped to quit the vice.”

Kagaba believes that sporting is important because it attracts many, making it easy to pass information.

He says through sports, the youth are able to understand such issues. It also helps them reach out to their peers.

“When they are aware, they will most likely abstain from these vices, including drugs and sexual activity, thus avoiding unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other infections,” he says.

Kagaba adds that the most important aspect is that awareness through sports can encourage the youth to share and talk about the dangers of these vices, which is helpful as far as abstinence is concerned.

Kagaba also says that young people should be encouraged to take part in prevention measures, especially boys who are more likely to be the perpetrators of GBV.

Source The New Times

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Hard Drugs Can Damage Your Brain

By Azugbene Solomon

What You Need to Know About Drugs

Drugs are chemicals that change the way a person’s body works. You’ve probably heard that drugs are bad for you, but what does that mean and why are they bad?

Medicines Are Legal Drugs

If you’ve ever been sick and had to take medicine, you already know about one kind of drugs. Medicines are legal drugs, meaning doctors are allowed to prescribe them for patients, stores can sell them, and people are allowed to buy them. But it’s not legal, or safe, for people to use these medicines any way they want or to buy them from people who are selling them illegally.

Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Marijuana
Cigarettes and alcohol are two other kinds of legal drugs. (In the United States, adults 18 and older can buy cigarettes and those 21 and older can buy alcohol.) But smoking and excessive drinking are not healthy for adults and are off limits for kids. Marijuana is generally an illegal drug, but some states allow doctors to prescribe it to people for certain illnesses, and some have passed laws making it legal to sell marijuana to adults for personal use.

Illegal Drugs

When people talk about a “drug problem,” they usually mean abusing legal drugs or using illegal drugs, such as marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, LSD, crystal meth, and heroin to get “high.”

Why Are Illegal Drugs Dangerous?

Illegal drugs aren’t good for anyone, but they are particularly bad for a kid or teen whose body is still growing. Illegal drugs can damage the brain, heart, and other important organs. Cocaine, for instance, can cause a heart attack — even in a kid or teen.

While using drugs, people are also less able to do well in school, sports, and other activities. It’s often harder to think clearly and make good decisions. People can do dumb or dangerous things that could hurt them — or other people — when they use drugs.

Why Do People Use Illegal Drugs?

Sometimes kids and teens try drugs to fit in with a group of friends. Or they might be curious or just bored. Someone may use illegal drugs for many reasons, but often because they help the person escape from reality for a while. A drug might — temporarily — make someone who is sad or upset feel better or forget about problems. But this escape lasts only until the drug wears off.

Drugs don’t solve problems, of course. And using drugs often causes other problems on top of the problems the person had in the first place. Somebody who uses drugs can become dependent on them, or addicted. This means that the person’s body becomes so accustomed to having this drug that he or she can’t function well without it.

Once someone is addicted, it’s very hard to stop taking drugs. Stopping can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting (throwing up), sweating, and tremors (shaking). These sick feelings continue until the person’s body gets adjusted to being drug free again.

Can I Tell If Someone Is Using Drugs?

If someone is using drugs, you might notice changes in how the person looks or acts. Here are some of those signs, but it’s important to remember that depression or another problem could be causing these changes. Somebody using drugs might:

  • lose interest in school
  • change friends (to hang out with kids who use drugs)
  • become moody, negative, cranky, or worried all the time
  • ask to be left alone a lot
  • have trouble concentrating
  • sleep a lot (maybe even in class)
  • get in fights
  • have red or puffy eyes
  • lose or gain weight
  • cough a lot
  • have a runny nose all of the time

What Can I Do to Help?

If you think someone is using drugs, the best thing to do is to tell an adult that you trust. This could be a parent, other relative, teacher, coach, or school counselor. The person might need professional help to stop using drugs. A grownup can help the person find the treatment needed to stop using drugs. Another way kids can help kids is by choosing not to try or use drugs. It’s a good way for friends to stick together.

Words to Know

Understanding drugs and why they are dangerous is another good step for a kid to take. Here are some words that may be new to you:

Addiction (say: eh-DIK-shen) — Someone has an addiction when he or she becomes dependent on (can’t stop taking the drug without getting sick) or craves a drug all of the time.

Depressant (say: dih-PRESS-int) — A depressant is a drug that slows a person down. Doctors prescribe depressants to help people be less angry, anxious, or tense. Depressants relax muscles and make people feel sleepy, less stressed out, or like their head is stuffed. Some people may use these drugs illegally to slow themselves down and help bring on sleep — especially after using various kinds of stimulants. (See below.)

Hallucinogen (say: heh-LOO-seh-neh-jen) — A hallucinogen is a drug, such as LSD, that changes a person’s mood and makes him or her see or hear things that aren’t really there or think strange thoughts.

High — A high is the feeling that drug users want to get when they take drugs. There are many types of highs, including a very happy or spacey feeling or a feeling that someone has special powers, such as the ability to fly or to see into the future.

Inhalant (say: in-HALE-ent) — An inhalant, such as glue or gasoline, is sniffed or “huffed” to give the user an immediate high. Inhalants produce a quick feeling of being drunk — followed by sleepiness, staggering, dizziness, and confusion.

Narcotic (say: nar-KAH-tik) — A narcotic dulls the body’s senses (leaving a person less aware and alert and feeling carefree) and relieves pain. Narcotics can cause someone to sleep, fall into a stupor, have convulsions, and even slip into a coma. Certain narcotics — such as codeine — are legal if given by doctors to treat pain. Heroin is an illegal narcotic because it is has dangerous side effects and is very addictive.

Stimulant (say: STIM-yeh-lent) — A stimulant speeds up the body and brain. Stimulants, such as methamphetamines and cocaine, have the opposite effect of depressants. Usually, stimulants make someone feel high and energized. When the effects of a stimulant wear off, the person will feel tired or sick.

Kids Health: What You Need to Know About Drugs by Steven Dowshen