A drug is a chemical that affects your brain and body.  Medicines that you take when you are sick or hurt are a type of drug.  But not all drugs are medicine.  Some drugs can harm you instead of help you.  Even medicine can be harmful if it isn’t used correctly.  Here are some important things to know about drugs.

Complete the 3 puzzles and read the information below, then take the quiz to show what you've learned.  

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1. Some drugs are legal, others are not.

  • Illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, meth, Ecstasy, LSD and others, are dangerous and can be deadly. They should never be used.
  • In some states, (including California) marijuana is legal for adults aged 21 and over.
  • Prescription drugs are legal, but only if they are taken by the person who they were prescribed for by a doctor for.
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2. Did you know that alcohol and tobacco are drugs too?  

  • They are legal but only for adults.
  • Alcohol, marijuana and tobacco may be legal for adults, but these substances can harm a young person’s growing brain.
  • The human brain is still developing until a person is in their early to mid-twenties.  Using drugs or alcohol before then can impact that development.

3. Medicines can be harmful if not used correctly.

  • Taking medicine in ways other than how it is meant to be taken is called misuse.
  • Sometimes people misuse medications by accident. Other times they do it to try to get high.
  • Misusing medications can cause serious health problems. It can also kill you.
  • Never share your medications with other people.
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4. Drugs can be addictive.

  • Some drugs can cause intense cravings and make a person feel like they cannot stop taking the drug – even if they want to stop.  This is called addiction.
  • Opioids are a type of prescription medication given to people dealing with severe pain.  But addiction to opioids can happen quickly.
  • Tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, heroin, cocaine and meth can cause addiction too.

5. Addiction can happen to anyone.

  • Addiction is a disease that can harm a person’s health.
  • It can create problems with family and friends, work or school.
  • Addiction can be treated. But person who is addicted to a drug will need help to stop.
  • If you are worried about drug use, either your own or that of a friend or family member, talk to a trusted adult.
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6. A drug overdose is an emergency.

  • If a person takes too much of a drug all at one time, it is called an overdose. 
  • An overdose can make a person feel sick.  It can also cause a person to die.
  • Someone in the U.S. dies of a drug overdose every 20 minutes.

You can learn more about the drug overdose crisis and solutions in Ventura County at: https://venturacountyresponds.org/en/

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Source of information for this lesson: JOURNEYWORKS Health Promotion and Health Education Publishing.  Journeyworks.com