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Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Education. Stephen A. Landers, M.D. 2009 Circle Ten University of Scouting. Second Class Scout Requirement 8a States:.

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Drug alcohol and tobacco education

Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Education

Stephen A. Landers, M.D.

2009 Circle Ten University of Scouting

Second class scout requirement 8a states
Second Class Scout Requirement 8a States:

“Participate in a school, community, or troop program on the dangers of using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, and other practices that could be harmful to your health. Discuss your participation in the program with your family.”

Understanding drug abuse and addiction
Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

  • Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease.

  • Abuse of drugs leads to changes in the structure and function of the brain.

  • The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary.

  • Over time, changes in the can affect the person’s self control and ability to make sound decision, and at the same time send intense impulses to take drugs.

What happens to your brain when you take drugs
What happens to your brain when you take drugs?

Drugs are chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information.

1. Imitate the brain’s natural chemical messengers.

(examples: marijuana and heroin)

2. Over stimulate the “reward circuit” of the brain.

(examples: cocaine and methamphetamine)

Mechanism of action for drugs
Mechanism of Action for Drugs

  • Nearly all drugs, directly or indirectly, target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine.

  • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in the regions of the brain that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure.

  • As the person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit.

Mechanism of action for drugs1
Mechanism of Action for Drugs

  • As dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit is lessened, it compels those addicted to drugs to keep abusing drugs in order to attempt to bring their dopamine function back to normal.

  • Tolerance is the effect that an individual requires larger amount of the drug than they first did to achieve the dopamine high.

Long term abuse changes
Long-term Abuse Changes

  • Long-term abuse causes changes in the brain chemical and circuits.

  • Glutamate is a neurotransmitter which is altered by long-term abuse.

  • Altered concentrations of glutamate cause impaired cognitive functions.

  • Brain-imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavior control.

Why do some people become addicted and others do not
Why do some people become addicted and others do not?

No single factor can predict whether or not a person will become addicted to drugs.

Risks for addiction is influenced by a person’s:

  • Biology – genetic factors account for about half of their addiction-vulnerability.

  • Environment – socioeconomic status, influence of friends and family, peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, stress, and parental involvement influence the course of drug abuse and addiction in a person’s life.

  • Development – adolescents’ brains are still developing in the areas that govern decision-making, judgment, and self-control. They are especially prone to risk-taking behaviors, including trying drugs of abuse.

Prevention is the key
Prevention is the Key

  • Drug addiction is a preventable disease.

  • National Institute of Health-funded research has shown that prevention programs that involve families, schools, communities, and the media are effective in reducing drug abuse.

  • Although many events and cultural factors affect drug abuse trends, when youths perceive drug abuse as harmful, they reduce their drug taking.

  • The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary.

Drugged driving
Drugged Driving

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 17,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2006.

  • Studies have also found that drugs are used by 10 to 22 percent of the drivers involved in crashes.

  • An estimated 7.3% of youth 16 years of age have driven under the influence.

  • A peak incidence of 31.8% of adults 22 years of age have driven under the influence.

  • Rates show a general decline with increasing age.

Cigarettes and tobacco products
Cigarettes and Tobacco Products

  • Center for Disease Control indicate that tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death.

  • 440,000 premature deaths annually in the U.S. from tobacco use.

  • Over the past 4 decades, cigarette smoking has caused an estimated 12 million deaths.

    4.1 million deaths from cancer

    5.5 million deaths from cardiovascular disease

    2.1 million deaths from respiratory disease

    94,000 infant deaths related to mothers smoking

Second hand smoke
Second Hand Smoke

  • Environmental tobacco smoke is a complex mixture containing many chemicals such as formaldehyde, cyanide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nicotine.

  • Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25-30% and lung cancer by 20-30%.

  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory and ear infections, and asthma.


  • Nicotine is an addictive drug.

  • Nicotine provides an almost immediate “kick” because it causes a discharge of epinephrine from the adrenal cortex. This stimulates the central nervous system and endocrine glands causing a sudden release of glucose.

  • Stimulation is then followed by depression and fatigue, leading the user to seek more nicotine.

  • Daily tobacco users accumulate nicotine in the body.

  • Nicotine, like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, increases the level of dopamine which affects the brain pathways that control reward and pleasure.

Performance enhancing drugs
Performance - Enhancing Drugs

  • Anabolic steroids have two main effects:

    Anabolic effect promotes muscle building

    Androgenic effects are responsible for male traits

  • Side effects include:

    baldness and acne liver abnormalities & tumors

    prominent breasts increase in LDL cholesterol

    shrunken testicles aggressive behavior and rage

    higher voices in males depression

    infertility drug dependence

Performance enhancing drugs1
Performance – Enhancing Drugs

  • Androstenedione (andro) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, testes, and ovaries.

  • Androis a precursor hormone that is normally converted to testosterone and estrogen in both men and women.

  • Recent studies have shown that supplemental andro can actually decrease the level of testosterone and increase the level of estrogen in males.

  • Creatine is a compound produce by the body to help release energy in the muscles (ATP)

  • High doses of creatine may potentially damage the kidneys, liver, and heart.

Alcohol facts and fiction
Alcohol Facts and Fiction

  • Myth: White wine is a good choice for a person who wants a light drink with less alcohol.

  • Fact: A standard drink equivalent is:

    12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer

    5-ounce glass of wine

    1 ½ -ounce of 80 proof distilled spirits

Alcohol facts and fiction1
Alcohol Facts and Fiction

  • Myth: Switching between beer, wine, and spirits will lead to intoxication more quickly than sticking to one type of alcoholic beverage.

  • Fact: The level of alcohol content is what determines sobriety or intoxication. A standard drink of beer, wine, or spirits, contain equivalent amounts of alcohol.

    Alcohol is alcohol.

    A drink is a drink.

Alcohol facts and fiction2
Alcohol Facts and Fiction

  • Myth: Alcohol is an increasing problem among young people.

  • Fact: Heavy alcohol use among people in the U.S. 17 years of age or younger actually dropped by an amazing two-thirds (65.9%) between 1985 and 1997 according to federal government research. Deaths associated with young drinking drivers age 16 – 24 decreased almost half (47%) in a recent 15-year period.

Alcohol facts and fiction3
Alcohol Facts and Fiction

  • Myth: Bottles of tequila contain a worm.

  • Fact: There is no worm in tequila. It’s mescal, a spirit beverage distilled from a different plant. It’s not actually a worm, but a butterfly caterpillar (Hipopta agavis) called a gurano.

Alcohol facts and fiction4
Alcohol Facts and Fiction

  • Myth: A “beer belly” is caused by drinking beer.

  • Fact: A “beer belly” is caused by eating too much food. No beer or other alcoholic beverage is necessary.