Rep Your Voice provides a platform for the representation of youth voice and promotes healthy expressions of life and community. Rep Your Voice is an initiative of the Nashville Prevention Partnership, which prevents substance abuse by connecting and uniting individuals, organizations and institutions.



Alcohol
Stimulants
Ecstasy & Molly
Marijuana
Prescription & Over-the-Counter Medicine
Steroids
Tobacco
Spice
Bath Salts
Methamphetamine

Alcohol

What is it?
Alcohol is a depressant (aka “Downer”) that lowers the rate of vital physiological activities; inhibits the function of the central nervous system

Why is it dangerous?
Alcohol travels through your bloodstream and can have dangerous and long-term effects on your body and brain. Did you know that more teens are killed by alcohol than by all illegal drugs combined?!

For those under the age of 21, the law clearly states that it is illegal for you to purchase or consume alcohol. Alcohol can cause serious damage to your mind and body, especially in a developing teenager’s body

For those 21 years and older, there is no harm in occasionally enjoying alcoholic beverages in moderation. However, the quicker and the more alcoholic beverages that are consumed, the higher the probability of reduced inhibition and increased risk. Alcohol can cause you to do something you would normally know you shouldn’t do. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day 27 Americans die as a result of drunk driving crashes. Don’t be another statistic…Don’t drive drunk or ride with a drunk driver! Save your life and those around you…call a family member, friend or taxi to drive you home.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing alcohol, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Stimulants

What is it?
Some of the most commonly used stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines (Adderall), nicotine and ecstasy. They also come in a variety of forms: pills, powder, injection and inhalant. Stimulants produce a feeling of euphoria by releasing a large amount of dopamine into the brain causing intense pleasure, usually followed by paranoia and anxiousness.

Why is it dangerous?
Although stimulants can produce feelings of joy and alertness, those effects are merely temporary. Stimulants increase body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Other short-term effects include nausea, blurred vision confusion and muscle spasms. Long-term abuse of stimulants can cause extreme aggression, paranoia, memory loss, delusions and even anorexia.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing stimulants, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Ecstasy & Molly

What is it?
Ecstasy and Molly are terms used to describe MDMA, a man-made drug often taken to enhance experiences at parties and raves. They are commonly referred to as the “club drug” and come in pill or capsule form. MDMAs affect the mind and body much like other stimulants do, often causing alertness and heightened senses. Effects can last for several hours and possibly even days for some people.

Why is it dangerous?
Though attentiveness and enhanced senses may sound mild, MDMA is known to cause other serious and unpleasant side effects as well including, nausea, blurred vision, increased heart rate and blood pressure, overheating, depression, anxiety, memory loss and muscle tension. These side effects can last not only for several hours, but days and even weeks in regular users.

MDMAs are made from a mixture of chemicals– caffeine, amphetamines or cocaine – and formed into tablets and capsules. Since a variety of substances can be added by the maker, the purity of MDMAs is always unknown and therefore can be extremely dangerous: Club Drug ‘Molly’ Eyed in Four Deaths (ABC News).

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing drugs, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Marijuana

What is it?
Marijuana is known by many names: “pot,” “grass,” ”weed,” “Mary Jane, “chronic,” “ganja, “reefer” and “herb.” It is a mixture of dried leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of a cannabis sativa plant. Around 400 chemicals can be found in marijuana, including THC (9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which has a psychoactive effect when smoked or ingested. When inhaled THC causes the brain to release dopamine, which in turn affect other processes that control movement and ability to experience emotional responses. The higher the THC content, the more intense the effects will be.

Why is it dangerous?
Marijuana has both short-term and long-term effects, some of which can be extremely dangerous to the body and mind. Short-term include loss of coordination, judgment and memory, along with an increased heart rate. Many studies have also shown that marijuana can cause drivers to experience slower reaction times and responses while on the road.

A study found that teenagers who used marijuana a lot and continued into adulthood had a significant drop in IQ. Significant long-term effects have been found, especially in a person’s brain function. Marijuana use can affect your mental health: depression, anxiety and less personal fulfillment. Many of the same chemicals found in tobacco smoke are found in Marijuana. Since it is also inhaled, marijuana users are vulnerable to a number of breathing problems as those who smoke cigarettes.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing marijuana, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Prescription & OTC Medicine

What is it?
More than one hundred people die each day in the United States as a result of drug overdose, while more than six thousand are hospitalized. As the nation’s death percentage continues to rise, so does Tennessee’s death toll. Over the past few years, Tennessee has even surpassed the national average and continues to rank among the states with the most prescription drugs per capita.

The history of medical drugs dates back to the Persian, Egyptian and Greek Empires; however it wasn’t until the late 20th century that the United States’ government began regulating highly addictive medications through the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987. Despite the government’s regulations, American’s misconceptions regarding the safety of prescription medicines still remain the biggest concern. Many people are unaware of the addictive nature and dangerous side effects of prescribed medications.

Why is it dangerous?
Addiction occurs as the body’s tolerance for the medication increases. As tolerance increases in the central nervous system, a higher dosage of the substance will be required to meet the medication’s intended needs.

Many of the effects of prescription medications mimic those of illegal narcotics. Without proper education and monitoring of instructed dosage, prescribed medication can easily lead to an early addiction.

Potential consequences of abusing prescription medication can include: poor judgment and engaging in risky behavior, using illegal drugs, being involved in crime, motor vehicle accidents, decreased academic or work performance and/or troubled relationships.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing prescription or over-the-counter medicine, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Steroids

What is it?
When you think about steroids the first image that usually comes to mind is Arnold Schwarzenegger or your local gym rats with bulging veins and muscles. Anabolic – androgenic steroids (“roids” or “juice”) are a synthetic substance that takes on similar qualities to the male sex hormone, testosterone. Some abuse these steroids for the purpose of bulking up and building muscle quickly. Although doctors sometimes prescribe them for certain medical reasons, anabolic steroids are illegal without a doctor’s prescription.

Why is it dangerous?
Anabolic steroids can cause a variety of health risks and physical side effects. Steroids can prematurely stunt growth, as well as cause kidney impairment, liver damage, high blood pressure and an increase risk of stroke or heart attack. Many abusers tend to have changes in mood, paranoia, irritability, delusions and jealousy.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing steroids, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Tobacco

What is it?
Tobacco can come in many forms (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, etc.) and can be used in a variety of ways (smoked, chewed or sniffed). Tobacco products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. When inhaled, the nicotine and other chemicals reach the smokers lungs and are absorbed into the blood stream. Nicotine latches on to the brain cells that release dopamine, causing a brief feeling of pleasure. Despite the intensity, this feeling is short-lived and wears off extremely quickly, leaving the smoker wanting more.

Why is it dangerous?
Tobacco contains over seven thousands substances, including carbon monoxide and tar. Some chemicals are even poisonous. Even the short-term use of tobacco and intake of nicotine can lead to addiction. Long-term effects of tobacco use can cause a variety of serious health problems. Cigarette smoking has been linked to around ninety percent of lung cancer cases and is associated with a multitude of other cancers (stomach, mouth, esophagus, kidney, bladder, etc.). Physically, smokers are not able to maintain their original stamina for exercise that they had prior to smoking. Cosmetically, smoker’s skin tends to age faster and have teeth discoloration.

Health risks don’t stop with the smoker. Second hand smoke also increases the risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease and causes around 46,000 deaths per year.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing tobacco, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Spice (Synthetic Marijuana)

What is it?
Spice (AKA as “K2,” “fake weed” or “skunk”) is a mix of dried plant material and manmade chemicals. It is a hallucinogenic laced with synthetic cannabinoids, which gives a similar experience to marijuana. It can be smoked or even mixed with liquids for drinking.

Why is it dangerous?
Spice is chemically altered, leaving the user uncertain of what ingredients were actually used in the mix. Using spice can cause much harm to the body and brain, such as rapid heartbeat, vomiting, confusion and hallucinations. It causes a restriction of blood flow and, in a few cases, heart attacks. Spice has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing spice, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Bath Salts

What is it?
Bath salts (AKA as “Blizzard,” “Blue Silk,” “Ivory Snow,” etc.) are a synthetic stimulant. It comes in the form of crystalline powder, usually white or brown, and contains chemicals similar to amphetamines and MDMA. Bath salts can be swallowed, inhaled or injected.

Why is it dangerous?
Bath salts are extremely dangerous and toxic. Using this substance causes an energizing and agitated feeling, similar to the effects of amphetamines and cocaine. Bath salts raise the amount of dopamine in the brain, causing increased movement and emotions, such as paranoia, hallucinations and loss of reality. A raised heart rate is just one health problem that can arise from using this type of substance. High blood pressure, chest pains, panic attacks, and in extreme cases, death, are potential outcomes of using and abusing bath salts.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing bath salts, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Methamphetamine (Meth)

What is it?
Methamphetamine (aka “Meth,” “crystal,” “glass,” etc.) is a stimulant drug that comes in the form of a white powder, pill or a shiny rock. It can easily be dissolved in water or alcohol, and is most often swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked. It can increase emotions, energy and alertness.

Why is it dangerous?
Meth use causes a number of health issues, some of which can be fatal. Rapid or irregular heartbeat and an increase in blood pressure are the most common side effects. However, repeated use can cause both emotional and physical problems as well, such as violent behavior, paranoia, delusions, skin sores and extreme weight loss. Meth has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Need Help?
If you or a loved one is abusing methamphetamine, and are ready to begin your road to recovery, please visit Nashville Prevention Partnership’s Resources page for local rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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Source:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)