Graphic Illustration of Effects of Drugs

They Can Just Choose To Stop, Can’t They?

The first time people use drugs, it’s usually a conscious decision they’ve made. But once people become addicted, they are dealing with a brain disease. Each drug of abuse has its own individual way of changing how the brain functions. But in most cases, it doesn’t really matter which drug a person is addicted to; many of the effects it has on the brain are similar. The fact is that our brains are wired to make sure we will repeat activities -like eating – by associating those activities with pleasure or reward. Whenever this reward circuit is activated, the brain notes that something important is happening that needs to be remembered. This teaches us to do it again and again, without thinking about it. Because drugs of abuse stimulate the same circuit, we learn to abuse drugs in the same way. So while the initial decision to take drugs is a choice for some, a physical need replaces that choice. This is what’s known as addiction.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease. Brain imaging shows that addiction severely alters brain areas critical to decision-making, learning and memory, and behavior control, which may help to explain the compulsive and destructive behaviors of addiction.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin

Central: Addiction, Tolerance, Dependence
Circulatory: Collapsed veins
Heart: Infection of heart lining and valves
Respiratory: Pneumonia
Liver: Decreased Function
Systemic: Abscesses

There Is A Way Out

Every 19 minutes someone dies from a heroin overdose in our country. It is one of the most easily accessible drugs for our youth in our nation today. If you have teens in your family, then you need to be at the 2014 Heroin Symposium with them. Don’t let your child, yourself, or your friend become a statistic. Teens are welcome even if their parents can’t attend. It is free and open to the public.
Date & Time: Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Location: Granada Hills Charter High School, 10535 Zelzah Ave., Granada Hills, CA 91344
Cost: Free