Prescription Drugs can cure illness and block pain, and sometimes we need their beneficial effects. These drugs can also cause dependency and side effects that interfere with life. Because of this high potential for abuse, doctors monitor their patients closely for problems and limit the amount and duration of the prescription, in addition to watching for side effects.
Unfortunately, because these are legal drugs that can be prescribed by a doctor, sometimes teens and young adults may have a tendency to see these as “safe” alternatives to street drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs, such as Oxycontin, hydrocodone, and other opiates has been on the increase in South Dakota. Other types of commonly abused prescription drugs include amphetamines, Valium, and Percodan.
Prescription drugs are not safe for use by anyone other than the person for whom they were prescribed. Overdose or use with alcohol can cause death. Continued use can lead to dependence and long-term health problems.
Warning: It is illegal for anyone to sell or trade prescription drugs that are considered controlled substances. See the warning label on the side of the bottle for this information.
Alcohol is the most abused drug in the United States in all age groups. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows the heart rate and breathing, as well as the central nervous system. It especially affects the part of the brain that controls mood and emotion.
Time is the only cure for the effects of alcohol on the body. It takes your body about one hour to eliminate the alcohol in one shot of whiskey, one beer, or one glass of wine. All contain approximately the same amount of alcohol. Mixing alcohol with other drugs is especially dangerous. People troubled by alcohol use often have social, physical, financial, or emotional problems.
In South Dakota, as in other states, the legal age to begin drinking alcohol is 21. This is not a random number that someone pulled out of the air or chose as a way to pick on young adults. the human brain generally continues to develop through adolescence and early adulthood. This process continues until the age of 22-23, when the brain is fully developed. Because alcohol, like other drugs, is a mind-altering substance and affects the brain, these effects can influence the brain’s development.
Simply put, a person who begins drinking alcohol before the legal age of 21 has been shown to be more likely to develop alcohol-related problems, including abuse and dependence. Those who postpone alcohol use until the legal age, when their brain is fully or nearly fully developed rarely have such problems.