Drug Awareness & Prevention
What is a drug?
A drug is any substance, other than food, that changes the way the mind and/or the
• Opium, marijuana
• Caffeine, tobacco
• Valium, Prozac
What is a mood-altering drug?
Any drug that changes the way someone feels, thinks or acts.
Uppers: Methamphetamine, caffeine, tobacco, cocaine
Downers: Alcohol, opium, heroin valium, sleeping pills
All-rounders: Cannabis (marijuana/hash), hallucinogens
What are the most abused mood-altering drugs?
Tobacco, alcohol and caffeine
What influences how intensely someone feels the effects of the drug?
• Dose: how much of the drug a person uses
• Absorption: how quickly the drug reaches the brain is influenced by the way a
person takes the drug (oral, inhalation, smoke, injection).
• Elimination: how quickly the drug is broken down and eliminated from the body.
• Distribution: How the bloodstream takes the drugs to where they will act on the
• Gender: Water to fat ratios vary by gender, along with hormonal and metabolism
• How someone feels before using
• How quickly the substance is consumed.
True or False? Test Your Knowledge!
1. A drug is a substance, other than food, which changes the way the mind and
2. The use of marijuana may cause memory problems.
3. Impaired driving is caused by drinking alcohol only.
4. It is possible to damage your lungs by smoking cannabis.
5. A person cannot die from drinking alcohol.
6. It is not harmful to drink alcohol when you are taking medication.
7. Over time and with regular use, people tend to need more of a drug to get the
same “high” they got when they first started to take the drug.
8. A 12 ounce bottle of beer contains about the same amount of alcohol as a 5
ounce glass of wine.
9. Crystal meth (speed, grit) is the most commonly used illegal drug in Alberta.
10. Parents can positively influence their teen’s attitudes and behavior regarding
1. True. Some drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine are illegal. Others are legal
and may regulated, such as alcohol, tobacco and medications. Some chemicals
intended for household, industrial and automotive use are used inappropriately
(ie: sniffed) and can have a negative effect on the mind and body.
2. True. Immediately after using marijuana, short term memory may be impaired.
Regular, heavy use may continue to inhibit memory, concentration and the ability
to understand complex information. When marijuana use stops, these problems
will likely clear up, although it may take several months.
3. False. Substances other than alcohol may cause impairment. This could
happen if a person drinks alcohol, uses drugs, including some medications or is
just too tired to drive safely.
4. True. Regular use of cannabis may damage the respiratory system over time.
Like tobacco, cannabis contains many cancer-causing chemicals. Since many
people who smoke cannabis also smoke tobacco, it is difficult to separate the
effects on the respiratory system.
5. False. In the short-term, people can die of alcohol poisoning, when a person
drinks too much too quickly. The brain no longer controls automatic functions,
including breathing. A person may die of suffocation because the brain stops
telling the body to breathe. Also, many deaths are caused by accidents involving
impaired drivers. In the long term, heavy alcohol use contributes to fatal
diseases including liver cirrhosis and heart disease.
6. False. Mixing alcohol with certain medications can cause more impairment than
if each substance is used separately. As well, alcohol may cause medication to
become less effective. Alcohol may increase the strength of side effects or
create new ones. Check with a doctor or pharmacist about whether it is safe to
drink while taking a specific medication.
7. True. This is called “tolerance”, a need to take more and more of the drug to get
the same effect. Larger amounts of a drug, increase risk of harm to the body.
8. True. It is possible to compare the amount of alcohol in different types of drinks
by referring to a “standard serving” of alcohol. A standard serving is contained in
a drink with 1.5 ounces of pure alcohol: one 12 ounce bottle of beer, a 5 ounce
glass of wine and a cocktail with 1.5 ounces of alcohol.
9. False. Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in Alberta.
10. True. When parents monitor their teens by asking questions about what they are
doing, who they are with and where they are going, they remain connected and
aware of what is going on in their lives. Remember, teens don’t need another
friend, they need a good parent.