Is it Abuse? Is it Addiction?

Addiction begins as abuse, or using a substance like marijuana or cocaine. You can abuse a drug (or alcohol) without having an addiction. For example, smoking marijuana a few times doesn’t mean that you have an addiction, but it does mean that you are abusing a drug and that could lead to an addiction.

When you think of addiction, you usually think of illegal drugs alcohol. But people can become addicted to all sorts of medications, cigarettes, even glue! And some substances are more addictive than others: Drugs like crack or heroin are so addictive that they may only be used once or twice before the user loses control.

You cross the line between substance abuse and addiction when you are no longer trying the drug to have fun or get high, but because you depend on it.Your life centers on the need for the drug. As an addicted person, whether it’s a physical or psychological addiction or both, you no longer have a choice in taking a substance.

Schools Are Not Drug-Free

A report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University concerning drug use and availability among teens indicates that half of all teenagers during the 2001-02 academic year attended schools at which drugs were present.

The group’s survey of 1,000 students nationwide found that half of all teen-agers said their school was not drug-free, meaning that students keep, use, and/or sell drugs on school grounds.

Teens and Common Defenses

To protect ourselves against uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and experiences, we develop a set of automatic mental reactions called defenses (or defense mechanisms). These mechanisms begin in childhood and are a normal part of development. Defenses protect us (our conscious mind) against painful feelings, thoughts, and situations in our families and lives.

How to Handle Peer Pressure

It’s not enough to tell your young teen that he or she should avoid alcohol—you also need to help your child figure out how.