Myths and facts about drugs




(to help teachers, school health workers,

family and children specialists)

Donetsk – 2017

Compiled by:

Petrachenkov V.V. – chief doctor of the Donetsk City Health Center


Curly V.V. – Deputy chief physician of the Republican Narcological Center

The prevalence of the use of psychoactive substances (PSA) among minors and young people for a number of years continues to be one of the leading socially significant problems of our society that require active opposition.

Worldwide, the number of drug addicts exceeds 200 million, 12% of them are young people aged 15-30 years. The average age of drug users is decreasing and is 13-14 years old. Over the past decade, the number of women taking narcotic and psychotropic drugs has increased 7 times.

According to a questionnaire survey conducted by specialists of the Republican Narcological Center and the city health center, every fifth student has people in his environment (in the house, on the street, etc.) who use drugs, and 30% of them have 5 or more such people . Fifteen percent of schoolchildren were offered to experience the effects of any drugs on themselves. Of those teenagers who were offered to try a drug, the majority refused – 67%, but 30% tried it.

Specialists from education, healthcare, law enforcement agencies, services for family and children, and public organizations take part in the work on the prevention of addiction to psychoactive substances. Interaction between services and departments should be built taking into account the specifics of the direct functions of the participants and complementarity (the content and forms of work are not duplicated, but complement each other, providing a comprehensive systemic impact on target groups).

At present, preventive work in educational institutions is mainly represented by lectures periodically conducted by psychiatrists, narcologists or employees of the internal affairs bodies. There is an incomplete coverage of students by ongoing activities.

Such an approach does not meet the basic requirements of preventive activities due to the lack of consistency and continuity. Also, this work is often carried out without taking into account the age characteristics of schoolchildren and taking into account the real situation. Therefore, one of the main participants in the process in the prevention of addiction to psychoactive substances should be teachers, because. teachers, psychologists, social educators, school health workers have constant and direct contact with minors and have the opportunity to carry out preventive work in a timely and consistent manner. The work should be carried out in a differentiated way: taking into account age, gender, the degree of involvement in the drug situation (non-drug users, drug experimenters). Particular attention should be paid to minors from risk groups.

The use of interactive technologies, in particular, discussions, business games, simulation of life situations, discussion of videos, etc., will help develop the ability to resist negative influences, form legal norms of behavior in minors and young people, and motivation for a healthy lifestyle.

When carrying out various forms of drug prevention work, it is important to voice only reliable information. However, in anti-drug propaganda this elementary condition is often violated. Some propagandists believe that it is necessary to exaggerate, even if they distort the picture. Too much emphasis is placed on intimidation, which can only bring harm. Exaggeration inevitably strikes distrust, and distrust greatly strengthens the spirit of contradiction.

In order to conduct effective anti-drug propaganda, timely response when identifying signs of substance use by students, teachers must have information about the most common drugs in our region, their effects on the body, consequences, be able to dispel myths about drugs, know the phone numbers of medical institutions where you can get advice on the question of interest.

Application No. 1

Material to help the specialist

Myths and facts about drugs

Myth. You have to try everything in life, including drugs.

Often this is said by people who are interested in newcomers to decide and continue to “try” drugs for the rest of their short lives.

In life, you need to try everything that makes a person better, smarter, strengthens health. For example, jump with a parachute, conquer the highest mountain peaks, engage in extreme sports, etc. Drugs do not solve a person’s problems, they destroy health and quickly lead to death.

Myth. If you rarely take drugs, then you will not become a drug addict.

Dependence develops very quickly and imperceptibly for the drug addict.

Myth. Drugs are divided into light and hard.

There are no soft or hard drugs. The difference lies only in the speed of getting used to one or another of their varieties. And if a person is addicted to heroin immediately after the first dose, then addiction to hemp derivatives (marijuana, etc.) is gradual, but not slower than with alcohol abuse.

Myth. Weed (marijuana) is less harmful than cigarettes.

Marijuana is a more concentrated drug than tobacco.

One cigarette of marijuana contains the same amount of resinous substances as 5-10 regular cigarettes, so smoking marijuana contributes to the faster development of many respiratory diseases: chronic inflammation of the larynx and bronchi, emphysema, lung cancer than smoking regular cigarettes. In addition to the lungs, the breakdown product of the drug is deposited in the liver, brain, spleen, lymphatic tissue and genital organs.

Smoking marijuana leads to a decrease in the quantity and quality of sperm in a man; in a woman – to a violation of the menstrual cycle, ovulation and the ability to become pregnant, etc.

Myth. Soft drugs are safe for health.

Legal aspect: from the point of view of international laws, drugs are not divided into “light and hard”. Responsibility for illegal drug transactions (acquisition, storage, transportation, etc.) is the same.

Medical aspect: different drugs give different complications. There are no drugs that are harmless and do not lead to death.

Any drugs cause addiction (mental, physical), and addiction limits the freedom of choice, making it difficult to do useful and interesting things.

People who take “soft” drugs quite often get into different unpleasant situations (including accidents) than those who do not use them.

Often soft drug users switch to “hard” drugs.

Myth. You can take drugs and not be addicted to them.

For the first time, everyone thinks so that at any moment you can give up drugs, even those who later “sit down” tightly on drugs. No one is going to be an addict once they “try”. The problem is that it is impossible to calculate for sure who will suffer from drug addiction and who will be able to refrain from further use.

The only correct solution is not to try at all.

Myth. You can become a drug addict only by starting to use drugs at a young age.

Anyone can become a drug addict, regardless of age, nationality, social class, or financial situation.

Myth. Smoking “weed” is safe for health.

Over time, the “weed” no longer gives the effect that the addict expects, and then he switches to drugs with a stronger effect.

Myth. Drug addiction is not a disease.

Drug addiction is a disease. It is included in medical reference books and catalogs along with any other diseases. In terms of severity, drug addiction is equated to oncological diseases, as it has a huge mortality rate – 96% of patients die.

Myth. Intravenous drug use rarely leads to HIV infection.

It is possible to become infected with HIV after one drug use if the syringe is contaminated with HIV.

Myth. Drug use can be controlled.

The formation of drug addiction occurs in several stages:

Stage I – experimentation.

Stage II – situational consumption.

Stage III – episodic consumption.

Stage IV – regular consumption.

Stage V – psychoorganic syndrome: late consequences of drug addiction.

These are the five stages of drug addiction formation. The boundaries between them are blurred: starting with frivolous experimentation with drugs, the process (in 90% of cases!) proceeds automatically, moving from one stage to another. The reason for this is the loss of control, the inability to hold on and stop. Often, only one year is enough to complete all stages.

Myth. An addict can stop taking drugs at any time.

Painful withdrawal, being among people who use drugs make this process practically impossible. But there are narcologists, public organizations that can help.

Myth. To use or not to use drugs is a personal matter for everyone.

If you live all alone, then it could be a private matter. But a person lives in a family, in society, and others pay for his “hobby”: they treat his injuries, buy medicines, pay sick leave, work while a person is under the influence of a drug, suffer from his antics, “pull” him out of the police. In addition, in order to get money for drugs, drug addicts inevitably commit crimes, involve other people, especially children, in drug addiction. Drug use is not a private matter. Drugs are too dangerous game with life.

Myth. The drug increases potency.

The increase in male power after taking a dose is due to an increase in blood pressure. But after excitement and a surge of strength, impotence naturally sets in. The “shake-ups” of the body and the poisonous properties of drugs quickly lead the vast majority of drug users to impotence, which, of course, they carefully hide.

Myth. Taking drugs develops creative imagination and abilities.

Drugs gradually destroy the brain and nervous system, make a person incapable of anything. Drugs do not make a person more talented.

Myth. Taking drugs helps you make friends and have a great time.

Taking drugs after a while leads to loneliness and the only desire to “get” the drug.

Myth. The body of a pregnant woman protects the child from drugs if she takes them.

Drugs act on the child’s body much more than on his mother.

Drug use during pregnancy can lead to fetal death, premature birth, physical deformities, and damage to the mental development of the baby. In mothers who continue to use drugs during pregnancy, children are born with withdrawal syndrome (brittle).

Myth. Drugs relieve stress and help to cope with problems.

Drugs only help to forget for a while and not worry about problems. When the effects of the drugs wear off, the problems remain.

Myth. Drug addiction is a bad habit, the result of weak morality and permissiveness.

Drug addiction is not a bad habit, but a chronic disease that needs to be treated for a lifetime, like hypertension, atherosclerosis and diabetes.

The roots of drug addiction are in genetic predisposition, social circumstances and personal behavior.

Myth. If the addict has enough willpower, he can stop taking drugs.

Only a few addicted to illicit drugs can stop taking them only by an effort of their own will. Most drug addicts require medical attention, consisting of one or more courses of consistent and systematic treatment for substance abuse, to reduce or stop their dependence.

Myth. Many young people try drugs.

Not everyone tries drugs. “Empty look and besotted mind” – this is no longer relevant. Today, a healthy lifestyle, a successful career and a strong family are in fashion.

Unfortunately, teenagers are more prone to bad habits than adults. They are easily drawn in and quickly get used to drug use. Companies, parties, clubs – gradually the desire to do “like everyone else” develops into drug addiction, and not only mental, but also physical.

Myth. It can’t hurt me.

As a rule, teenagers start using drugs and alcohol in order to appear older. At that moment, they do not think how dire the health consequences can be. Therefore, a young person very quickly becomes addicted to drugs. He can no longer return to normal life on his own until he realizes the harm he is doing to his own health. Drug addiction is a disease that kills.

Think you’re special? Are you sure that a small dose of alcohol or drugs will definitely not harm you? Look around, look at those who have not been able to break out of the “narcotic web”. Think about what happened to their health, intelligence, personal life, career, etc. So is it worth getting addicted?

Myth. I can quit whenever I want.

Drugs cause two forms of dependence: mental and physical.

What is “breaking”, probably everyone knows. True, most adolescents are convinced that withdrawal can be overcome, endured, they think there will be no special problems, that they can quit at any time they want. In this case, there is always an example – someone’s acquaintance who used drugs and quit.

Mental dependence is much stronger: it is she who pushes to use drugs and alcohol again and again. As soon as a drug addict gets a little nervous even because of a minor quarrel in the family or meets a friend with whom he previously took narcotic poison, the sensations that he experienced are remembered, an irresistible craving appears and the hand itself reaches out to buy more and more …

If it is difficult for adults to get rid of bad habits and overcome addiction, then it is even more difficult with teenagers. At the age of 15 years and younger, the body has not yet formed, the psyche is mobile, so the likelihood of a stable alcohol or drug addiction is four times higher than in adults.

Statistically, people are more likely to commit suicide under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Therefore, if you hear from someone the phrase “I can always quit if I want to!” – do not hesitate, save the person: he has very serious problems!

Myth. Drugs are useful because they are used in medicine.

They are indeed used in medicine, but as prescribed by a doctor, in certain doses and for a certain period, and the uncontrolled use of drugs for non-medical purposes is poison, it is death.

Myth. The number of drug addicts is not growing as fast as they say.

One drug addict attracts an average of 13-15 people to use drugs during the year, so their number is increasing, but only 6-10th of the true number of users is registered in the drug dispensary.

Myth. Drugs help solve life’s problems.

People who are weak, indecisive, dependent, when problems arise, difficult situations in life, try to choose an avoidance strategy – wait until the problem is solved somehow without their participation, or pretend that this problem does not exist at all. Often, this behavior is associated with the peculiarities of upbringing in the family: from childhood, parents try to protect the child from all sorts of everyday difficulties and negative experiences. As a result, a selfish, infantile young man, accustomed to always feeling comfortable, grows up, not adapted to a full life in society. It is often these teenagers and young people who resort to drugs. The drug gives a subjective feeling of well-being: all problems recede into the background, mood improves, the world is seen in pink. When the action of the psychoactive substance ends and the person is forced to return to reality, it turns out that the difficulties that he so wanted to escape and get rid of remain and, moreover, tend to accumulate.

Myth. Drugs add variety to life.

It’s hard to talk about “diversity” here. The life of a drug user is a nightmare, a nightmare that grows over time.

A “practicing” drug addict lives one day: find a drug, use it, enjoy the dose, then find it again, etc. They, as a rule, do not value life; not afraid of death.

Every day a new dose. And no prospects for a better life. Such is the existence of an addict.

Myth. There are people who have been taking drugs for many years and have a great life.

Here’s what statistics say about the life expectancy of drug addicts. Most of them live no more than 3-5 years after the first use of the drug, but, of course, there are exceptions – those who die within six months or live 10-15 years.

Most often, the drug itself becomes the cause of death – drug addicts die from an overdose, from cardiac or respiratory arrest. Often, drug addicts die not from the drug itself, but from poisonous impurities to it.

In a state of drug intoxication, a person inadequately perceives the environment, therefore, the probability of the death of a drug addict as a result of an accident is very high, for example, under the wheels of a car or as a result of a fall from a window or balcony.

The cause of death of a drug addict can be sepsis – blood poisoning, as well as irreversible changes in internal organs caused by the toxic effects of drugs.

Myth. Drugs of plant origin (hypnotic poppy, Indian hemp, coca, henbane, belladonna, dope, fly agaric, etc.) are less dangerous to the human body than synthetic ones.

Drugs, both plant-based and synthetic, cause, to varying degrees, excitation or depression of the central nervous system. They are very poisonous, the preparations obtained from them in medicine are used with great care, since with repeated use they can become addictive, turning into addiction – drug addiction.

The use of both types of drugs for non-medical purposes inevitably leads to the development of a disease – drug addiction, a significant decrease in life expectancy, disability, and death at a young age.

Myth. By eliminating all illegal drugs, drug addiction can be eradicated.

Drug addiction is born in human souls (the scarcity of the spirit, withdrawal into oneself, indifference to the world and the existence of other people), and not on opium poppy plantations and not in chemists’ laboratories. When it is possible to isolate drug addicts from hemp and poppy, other means that are difficult to prohibit are used – household chemicals. When these funds are withdrawn from sale, some medicinal substance will be found that gives a narcotic effect, etc. The main thing, therefore, is not the destruction of narcotic substances, but the struggle for the human soul. This is a difficult path, but the only one that will help lead to success.

Myth. The legalization of drugs will solve the problem of drug addiction.

This myth is especially common among people who regularly use drugs, among those interested in the distribution of psychoactive substances, and it is also readily believed in frivolous adolescents and young adults.

The issue of drug legalization affects the moral, legal, medical, economic aspects.

Advocates of legalization say that some illicit drugs are less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco and should therefore be legalized. In fact, laws that prohibit the possession, breeding, production, distribution and sale of narcotic drugs stop a large number of people from using them. We can assume only one scenario in the case of drug legalization. Due to the sharp increase in the number of drug users, the competition between the legal and illegal drug markets will inevitably intensify. There will be relentless competition to saturate the market, coupled with a massive and growing urge to use drugs. Moreover, the illegal drug market will try to offer more powerful substances. As sociological surveys show, a certain part of the people indicated that they did not use drugs because they simply never had a chance to get them. In this sense, legalization will naturally give them such a chance. The actual number of drug users is incomparably greater than we know. Increasing availability of a previously illicit drug in the absence of restrictions will lead to the consumption of huge quantities of drugs, all areas of public life will be affected by the negative consequences of people’s behavior under the influence of drugs. The legalization of drugs will encourage young people to use drugs who would not otherwise do so, and the problem of drug abuse will grow at an unprecedented rate.

Legalizers also emphasize that if drugs are legalized, it will reduce the level of crime associated with their consumption. Not at all. Any short-term reduction in arrests following the repeal of drug laws quickly fades as drug use increases. At the same time, drug-related crimes—assaults, murders, rapes, child abuse, acts of vandalism—are exploding. The U.S. Department of Justice found that criminals under the influence of drugs commit six times as many murders, four times as many assaults, and almost one and a half times as many robberies compared to those who commit crimes in order to get money to buy drugs.

Dutch statistics show that almost 40% of prisoners in prisons are convicted of crimes related to drug use in one way or another.

Reference: Countries where drugs are legalized:

· Australia, Argentina, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Jamaica (marijuana for personal or medical purposes).

· Mexico (opium, heroin, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD in prescribed doses).

· The Netherlands (marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and other soft drugs – sale in cafe-shops).

Czech Republic (marijuana, hashish, heroin, cocaine, pervitin in prescribed doses).

Switzerland (prescription heroin).

Note: when working with minors and young people, the teacher must choose those myths and facts that interest this audience (this can be determined by brainstorming or based on the degree of involvement of young people in a drug situation).

Application No. 2


(about the consequences of drug use)

Target Students need convincing evidence of the dangers of drug use. For some, facts are enough, others need emotional impact. Otherwise, they may be interested in promises of “unforgettable experiences.” This game makes it possible for a moment to imagine the feelings and problems of a person who is addicted to drugs.
working material Small paper cards (5×5 cm).
Coach tips: 1) Distribute 12 cards each and ask the training participants to write: · 4 favorite dishes; 4 favorite activities; The names of the four closest people.
2) When everyone has completed the cards, say, “Let’s put ourselves in the place of the person who started using drugs. This will help us better understand what is going on in his life. If a person has started using drugs, then he will need to pay for them. And not just money. He loses the opportunity to do what he loves (for example, sports), he does not have enough money for sweets, his favorite dishes, he may lose a friend. In the beginning, some sacrifice it without regret. I ask you to put aside one card each, symbolizing food, hobbies and loved ones. Over time, drugs require new victims. I ask you to set aside three more cards. Finally, there comes a stage when a person loses control over himself, over his life, and the disease itself takes away from a person what is dear to him.
3) Walk around the circle without looking, take three cards from each participant. Set these cards aside.
4) Communicate that what is left is a variant of what addiction leaves people with.
5) Ask those who wish to share their impressions, express their feelings.
6) Do an emotional release. For example, say, “What happened now was just a game. I hope that this will never happen in your life, this trouble will not befall your loved ones. If someone personally or with friends or acquaintances has an addiction problem, you need to seek help from a drug addiction clinic to a narcologist. The doctor can provide assistance, both officially and anonymously. Drug dispensary phone number _______________________
7) If the tension is very high, you should take a short break or exercise to relieve anxiety.
Note: During the game, you need to be careful, because there may be participants in the group who have already tried drugs or are at a certain stage of drug addiction. In this case, the game can also have a negative impact – cause a feeling of hopelessness. Therefore, if you are not confident in your own ability to control this situation, it is better not to play this game.

Application No. 3


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