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Drugs Throughout Life Stages. Jane Elphingstone, Ed.D Professor of Health Education University of Central Arkansas. Objectives. Cite reasons why drugs are more harmful to children and adolescents than adults. Identify which drugs have the greatest addiction potential.

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Drugs Throughout Life Stages

Jane Elphingstone, Ed.D

Professor of Health Education

University of Central Arkansas


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Objectives

  • Cite reasons why drugs are more harmful to children and adolescents than adults.

  • Identify which drugs have the greatest addiction potential.

  • Examine common drugs of use and abuse at various life stages.

  • Summarize key effects of drugs on juveniles and women and infer use of information for prevention.


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The Brain and Development

  • By the time a child is 6 years old, it is 90-95% of its adult size!

  • The brain is not developed until about 21-25 years of age.


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Effect of Early Use of Drugs

  • The younger the brain is when exposed to drugs, the greater the chance of an addiction.


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Goal for Prevention

  • Delay the onset of drug use until the brain is developed!


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Drug Addiction Potentials

  • Opioids 3-7%

  • Alcohol 10-15%

  • Cocaine/

    Amphetamines/

    Methamphetamines 20-30%

  • Nicotine 50-60%

  • Jeff Georgi, Duke Addictions Program, Duke University


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CDC Target Areas

  • Infants and Children

  • Adolescents

  • Adults

  • Older Adults


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Infants and Children

  • Prenatal exposure – effect vary according to time of development, type of drug, and amount of drug used.

  • Infants do not have a developed blood brain barrier until about age 2.


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Infants and ChildrenPrenatal Exposure

  • Prenatal exposure – effect vary according to time of development, type of drug, and amount of drug used.


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Infants and ChildrenInfants

  • Infants do not have a developed blood brain barrier until around the age of two.


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Infants and Children Children

  • Most children do not use psychoactive drugs.

  • Around age 9, children begin to experiment with substance around the home –i.e., inhalants, alcohol, tobacco.



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Adolescents

  • Most common drugs of use are alcohol and tobacco.

  • Alcohol and tobacco are referred to as “gateway drugs”.

  • Alcohol use before the age of 15 is a powerful predictor of later alcohol and drug problems.


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Health Outcomes and Binge Drinking

  • For people who began before age 13 and continued use:

    • 4 X’s likely to be overweight or obese

    • 3 ½ X’s likely to have HBP when 24 or older


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Current Use (Not Binge)

Binge Use (Not Heavy)

Heavy Alcohol Use

Current, Binge, and Heavy Alcohol Use, by Age: 2003

Percent Using in Past Month

67.8

61.7

59.5

59.2

58.6

57.7

54.0

52.9

51.5

46.2

34.4

31.8

17.0

4.5

12-13

14-15

16-17

18-20

21-25

26-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65+

Age in Years


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Cigarette Use among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by Age: 2002 and 2003

Percent Using in Past Month

Age in Years

,  = Significant change 2002 to 2003


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Overall Drug Trends (MTF-2003 data)

  • Percentages of youth using illicit drugs is declining.

  • Alcohol use remains stable.

  • Perceived availability is declining.

  • Increase in perceived risk of regular marijuana use.

  • Increase in perceived risk of the use of ecstacy.

  • Decrease in perceived risk of inhalant use.


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Working Youth and Drugs

  • Youth that work more than 20 hours per week are at high risk for substance abuse and injury. (SAMHSA)

  • Number of youth (ages 16-17) working is increasing.


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Young Adults (18-25)

  • Alcohol is the most common drug of abuse.

  • Young adults use more illicit drugs than adults over the age of 25.


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Adults

  • Alcohol

  • Prescription Drugs

  • Over the Counter Drugs


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Older Adults

  • Older adults tend to use drugs that help them cope with aging

    • Alcohol

    • Prescription drugs including antidepressants and tranquilizers

    • Over-the-counter drugs


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Women and Drug Abuse

  • Compared to men, girls and women who use drugs are more likely to:

    • Report faster rates of addiction

    • Experience adverse health consequences from smoking, drinking, or using drugs.

    • Be depressed and suicidal.

    • Engage in risky sex or be victims of sexual assault.

    • Have easier access to drugs.


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Juveniles and Drug Abuse

  • Youth using drugs are at greater risk for problems including:

    • Academic difficulties

    • Health related problems (including mental health)

    • Poor peer relationships

    • Involvement with the juvenile justice system

    • Consequences for family members, the community, and society


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Summary

  • Drugs have a more serious effect on an immature brain than an adult brain.

  • Some drugs have greater addiction potentials than others.

  • Drug of use and abuse may vary throughout life stages.


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