Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke Can Make Children Suffer Serious Health Risks - (from www.epa.gov)

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke is responsible for:

  1. increases in the number of asthma attacks and severity of symptoms in 200,000 to 1 million children with asthma;
  2. between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections (for children under 18 months of age); and,
  3. respiratory tract infections resulting in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations each year.

The developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke for several reasons including that children are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments. Children receiving high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those with smoking mothers, run the greatest risk of damaging health effects.

Join the millions of people who are protecting their children from secondhand smoke

You can become a child's hero by keeping a smoke-free home and car. Secondhand smoke can cause children to suffer bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and more severe asthma attacks. Read More About Health Effects at the EPA website.

Pledge to Keep Your Home and Car Smoke-free:

Go to the Environmental Protection Agency's Pledge Page and read helpful information on making your home and car smoke-free. You can get your own Smoke-free Home Pledge Certificate by clicking on the "I Want to Pledge" button. Proudly display this to let your children, family and visitors know you have taken an important step to keep your home and car smoke-free.

To find a list of tobacco-free places in South Dakota to live, work and play, visit www.BeFreeSD.com.

Cocaine

Cocaine, when snorted, injected, or smoked, acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system, increasing blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature. The dangers of cocaine use vary. Even first-time use can cause death. Lesser dangers can include serious physical and psychological problems. Having psychotic episodes due to the use of cocaine is also not uncommon. It is also addictive and expensive.

Meth

Methamphetamine is sometimes known as meth, ice, speed, crank, crystal, chalk or glass. It is an extremely addictive stimulant and the effects are similar to those of cocaine but longer lasting. The drug can cause erratic, violent behavior among its users. Users can develop a tolerance quickly, needing more and more to get high and going on longer binges.

Psychological symptoms of prolonged meth use can resemble those of schizophrenia and are characterized by paranoia, hallucinations, repetitive behavior patterns, and delusions of parasites or insects on the skin. Users often obsessively scratch their skin to get rid of these imagined insects.

For more information on Meth's effects, visit www.mappsd.org.

Heroin

Heroin is an opiate and is either snorted or injected. It is a depressant to the central nervous system. After a brief period of euphoria there is a crash followed by a desperate need to use again. Heroin is a highly addictive drug and the cycle of dependency develops rapidly.

Side effects may include some or all of the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Numbness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itchiness
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Weight loss
  • Slow and shallow breathing

Warning: Heroin use can cause hepatitis.
Warning: Intravenous drug users are at a very high risk of contracting and spreading the HIV virus which causes AIDS.
Warning: The use of heroin can cause death from an overdose when combined with barbiturates or other “downer drugs.”

Rave Parties

The appeal of party drugs cannot be truly appreciated without some insight into the rave phenomenon. Raves are all-night dance marathons that attract hundreds of partygoers every weekend. An import from Great Britain, raves were originally underground events with an outlaw mystique. Rave parties are frequently held without permits in undisclosed locations. To discover the address, teens may have to call ever-changing 800 telephone numbers, obtain information through flyers or e-mail, or follow up on clues distributed at tape stores and other youth hangouts.

Rave parties frequently advertise themselves as being vehemently anti-alcohol, leading unwitting parents into believing these are positive "alternative activities" for their teens. Unfortunately, unknown to these parents, drugs (particularly ecstasy and LSD) often are rampant. Many raves ban alcohol and sell “smart drinks” instead. These fruit-juice based concoctions containing various combinations of vitamins, amino acids, and often, caffeine, tend to be vividly colored and go by such names as “Psuper Psonic Psyber Tonic” and “Energy Elicksure.” Smart drinks are expensive costing around $4.00 each. Although their distributors express strong anti-drug sentiments, some partygoers believe that smart drinks enhance and extend the effects of the drug ecstasy. Other drug users believe that smart drinks will counter the negative effects of ecstasy and LSD.

Observers of the rave scene report that drugs are plentiful. Dealers frequent raves and hand out cards just like any other sales person would. Experts estimate that anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of rave partygoers use ecstasy, LSD, and marijuana and, for many, a rave was their initiation into the world of drugs. Many young teens, in particular, say they are more likely to use drugs at raves than outside them. From the perspective of drug prevention, raves are not a favorable environment.

DO’s and DON’Ts for Safe Raving

  • Do NOT take drugs or use alcohol. Drugs are illegal and both activities are against the law for a substantial proportion of ravers. From a health perspective, drugs, alcohol, dancing, heat, and crowds do not mix and can lead to serious, adverse reactions. Drugs like ecstasy and speed can raise your body temperature and alcohol dehydrates you.
  • DO drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids frequently throughout the night, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoiding dehydration is essential.
  • DO take rest breaks from dancing and give your body a chance to recover from the constant physical demands that high-energy marathon dancing places on it.
  • DO take heat breaks and leave the hot and crowded dance floor to cool down. That way, you can avoid overheating and possible heatstroke.

Quit Tobacco

What are the immediate benefits of quitting smoking and/or chewing?

  • Hair, clothing, and breath will not smell.
  • You will have money for things other than cigarettes/smokeless tobacco.
  • Your complexion will improve.
  • You will not have to leave restaurants, parties, and people’s houses to smoke.
  • Within 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
  • In 24 hours, your risk of heart attack starts to drop.
  • In two days, your senses of smell and taste improve.
  • In three days, breathing gets easier and lung capacity increases.
  • Within two weeks to three months, your circulation gets better.
  • Within one to nine months, coughing, sinus problems, and shortness of breath decrease, and you have more energy.

Tips to help you stop smoking

  • Set a date to quit
  • Remove cigarettes, ashtrays matches, and lighters from your home, purse, and car
  • Keep a supply of low calorie snacks handy
  • Spend more time around people who do not smoke
  • Tell everyone you are going to stop smoking
  • Plan what you will do instead of smoking

For more information on quitting smoking, visit www.healthysd.gov.

Huffing (Inhalants)

Inhalants are breathable chemicals that produce mind and mood altering vapors. They are not meant to be used as drugs. In most cases, they produce their effects by depriving the brain of oxygen--not a healthy thing to do! Some examples include model airplane glue, lighter fluid, whipettes, Freon, white out correction fluid and paint thinner.

Short term effects of huffing:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nose bleeds
  • Bad breath

Longer term side effects:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Poor coordination
  • Damage to nervous system, liver, kidneys, blood, bone marrow, brain, and lungs

Warning: Inhalants can kill when the concentration of fumes is high.
Warning: Inhaling from a paper or plastic bag greatly increases the chance of suffocation.

Contrary to common perception, this form of substance abuse did not disappear in the 1970’s and many parents are surprised to learn that inhalant abuse is a common problem affecting young people today. In fact, inhalant abuse surpasses all other forms of chemical abuse except alcohol and tobacco in eighth graders across the nation. An equally disturbing consideration is that an almost unlimited selection of easily obtained products can be abused in this way. Some professionals estimate that there are more than 1,400 products that have an abuse potential.

There are two simple messages to remember about inhalant use:

  • Inhalant abuse can kill! Sudden Death Syndrome, (a form of massive heart failure) is one way that inhalants kill. Sudden death can occur with first-time as well as experienced users and result from a wide range of products. Respiratory failure from over exposure is another way death can result. The rapid and extreme loss of judgment and physical coordination during intoxication can bring about deadly accidents.
  • Inhalant abuse causes health problems to the entire body. Neurological damage to the central nervous system and the main brain has been referred to as the “calling card” of inhalant abuse.

Inhalants are Simply too Dangerous to Try

Warning signs of inhalant abuse might include some or all of the following:

  • Discarded or suspicious product containers
  • "Tools of the trade" such as bags, gauze, or other utensils used to aid inhalation
  • Product traces on the suspected user
  • Facial rash, blisters, or sores caused by these harsh products
  • Runny nose and coughing not explained by illness
  • Unusually harsh breath
  • Extreme mood swings and unusual speech
  • Uncontrolled laughter
  • Bizarre risk-taking
  • Angry or violent outbursts

If you wish to learn more about inhalant abuse, please contact Our Home, Inc., Huron, SD at (605) 352-4368.

Ecstasy

Ecstasy (MDMA) is a synthetic amphetamine derivative and is considered a party drug that can be found at “rave parties.” Under the name MDMA, short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the drug made a brief appearance during the ‘60s, then moved quietly underground only to emerge again in the ‘80s as ecstasy (also known as: xtc, X, E, and Adam).

The long-term impact on the brain is still being studied but it is known to affect memory function and may cause permanent brain damage. Users also often overheat, or if they are warned about this effect and told to drink lots of water, they may actually drink too much water, leading to a condition known as water intoxication or water poisoning. This excess water distorts the electrolyte balance in the body, which can cause disturbance in brain functions that may even cause death.

Smokeless Tobacco

There are many types of smokeless tobacco, including chewing tobacco, plug, twist, snuff, snus, and dissovable tobacco products. The Mayo Clinic has a page with descriptions of these various types of tobacco here.

Lots of people have heard the message about smoking, and fewer people, including teens, are smoking today than even a few years ago. Unfortunately, some people consider chewing tobacco to be a safe alternative to smoking. On the contrary there are several dangers to smokeless tobacco, including the following:

  • Addiction
  • Cancer (mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas)
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Heart disease
  • Precancerous mouth lesions
  • Stained teeth
  • Bad breath

You can find more information on these effects from the Mayo Clinic and the American Cancer Society. The National Cancer Institute also has some Questions and Answers on smokeless tobacco and some resources for quitting.

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens: LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Mushrooms, and Others are usually taken orally. They create a wide variety of effects on the user, depending on the amount taken, where it is used, the expectations, and the personality of the user. One drug can affect a person differently each time it is used.

Some of the effects may include the following:

  • Mood, time, and perception distortion
  • Paranoia, panic and anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting

Some of the short- and long-term effects of hallucinogen use can be quite scary:

  • Warning: Hallucinogen use can lead to violent behavior toward yourself and others.
  • Warning: Hallucinogen use can have long lasting consequences such as: flash backs, emotional instability, and psychosis.
  • Warning: LSD attaches to DNA and can give you another trip when you least expect one.