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A Parent’s Guide for Protecting Their
Children From Alcohol and Other Drugs

 "People often ask me why I think parents are the answer, and I think it's because we have the most to lose. Schools can help, churches can help, law enforcement can help, but no one can replace the family. Being involved with drug and alcohol prevention lets our children know that we care. It strengthens the family and helps us to be the kind of parents our children need us to be."
Gail Amato, president of the Bowling Green Parents for Drug-Free Youth


Table of Contents

The Problem is…
Parents Can Make a Difference
Communicating With Your Children
Applying the Principles
What to do if Your Child is Using Drugs
Specific Drugs and their Effects

The Problem is…
Research suggests that most teenagers who are problem drinkers are not simply going through a phase. Instead, kids who abuse alcohol often see their drinking problems and mental health worsen as they age. Rather than going through a phase that they will out grow, the studies indicate that their drinking and mental health problems will get worse with age if left untreated.

In such a study, 940 high school students were followed until age 24. Researchers found that those high school students with diagnosed alcohol problems were at increased risk for further drinking problems, other substance abuse, depression, and personality disorders as they got older. These risks were also elevated among kids with symptoms, but no diagnosis, of problem drinking.

When the researchers followed these kids over time, they found that their problems did not decrease. Instead, adolescent drinking problems foretold problems in adulthood. In addition, the researchers found that subjects whose fathers had an alcohol use disorder were about 60% more likely than others to have a problem themselves.

Now most parents can’t imagine their children lighting up a joint, smoking a pipe of crack, snorting heroin, or taking a hit of Ecstasy. Only 20 percent of parents think their kids may have been offered illicit drugs; yet 53 percent of teens report having been offered an illicit substance. The average age at which teens start using tobacco is 12. The average age at which they start drinking is almost 13. And the average age at which they start smoking pot is 14.

The extent of alcohol consumption by children ages 9 to 15 is startling, and preventing it must become a national priority. Consider these facts:

1.) 3 million children ages 14 through 17 are regular drinkers who already have a confirmed alcohol problem.

2.) 24 percent of eighth graders say they have used alcohol in the last 30 days.

3.) More than 100,000 12-13 year-olds binge drink every month.

4.) Ninth graders who drink are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who don't.

5.) 40 percent of children who begin drinking before the age of 15 will become alcoholics at some point in their lives.

So what can you do to insure that your children don’t become another statistic? Parents play a decisive role in helping their kids avoid consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Teens who say they learned a lot about the risks of alcohol and other drugs from their parents are 40 percent less likely to start drinking and use other drugs. The solution is obvious. You need to talk to your kids about alcohol and other drugs, teach them how to deal with peer pressure, and boost their self-esteem and self-confidence to reduce the risk that they will ever try alcohol and other drugs.

At the same time, if you are like most parents, you probably feel like you could use some help. You know that your children are surrounded by messages from the movies and videos, from other kids, and from television that can make drug use look positive and without consequences.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but research has confirmed that there are specific parenting practices that are highly effective in helping to ensure that children develop skills, interests, and activities that ultimately keep them from getting involved with alcohol and other drugs and other problem behaviors. This guide is intended to outline for you how to parent your child in a way that will maximize the possibility that they will not get involved with alcohol and other drugs.

 Not all children who consumes alcohol and other drugs does so with the intention of developing a problem or even dependence on alcohol and other drugs. There are stages that a child will pass through before they become dependent on alcohol and other drugs. It’s the goal of this book to insure that your child starts and stops at stage one: abstinence from alcohol and other drug consumption.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Stages of consumption for alcohol and other drugs by adolescents.
1.) Stage one: abstinence
2.) Stage two: experimentation
3.) Stage three: regular use either for:
a.) Social or recreational purposes or
b.) Compensatory purposes for other problems such as co-existing emotional
disorders, alienation from family and/or peers, difficulties with school
4.) Stage four: abuse of alcohol and other drugs which is defined as continued use of alcohol and other drugs despite experiencing negative consequences from consuming alcohol and other drugs
5.) Stage five: dependence of alcohol and other drugs defined as the presence of such signs as:
a.) Impaired control of consumption of alcohol and other drugs
b.) Onset of withdrawal symptoms after abstaining from alcohol and other drugs
c.) Increased tolerance for consumption of alcohol and other drugs
d.) Continued preoccupation with acquiring, consuming, and recovering from one’s consumption of alcohol and other drugs
e.) A strong craving or obsession with consuming alcohol and other drugs 

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Warning signs of teenage alcohol and other drug abuse.

1.) Low grades or poor school performance
2.) Withdrawal, isolation, depression, or fatigue
3.) Aggressive, rebellious behavior
4.) Truancy
5.) Excessive influence by peers or a change in friends
6.) Hostility and lack of cooperation
7.) Deteriorating relationships with family
8.) Loss of interest in hobbies or sports
9.) Changes in sleeping and eating habits
10.) Evidence of drugs or paraphernalia
11.) Physical changes such as red eyes, runny nose, frequent sore throats, rapid weight loss, or bruises from falls

Parents Can Make a Difference
Did you know that children say that the emotional bond that they have with their parents is the number one deterrent to using alcohol and other drugs. This fact is demonstrated in survey after survey. In these surveys, parents—not friends, teachers, or the media—are cited as the single biggest determinant in a child’s decision not to use alcohol and other drugs. What makes the relationship between a parent and their child so impactful is the time a parent spends with a child and the consistency of the message a parent provides to their child.


Pathfinder’s Checklist
How to protect your children from alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Develop a strong, loving relationship with your children.
2.) Set, teach, and model family values.
3.) Articulate and enforce rules for behavior.
4.) Know the facts about alcohol and other drugs.
5.) Improve communication with your children.

Develop a Strong, Loving
Relationship with your children

Although keeping a child alcohol and other drugs-free is a great challenge to a parent, no one is in a better position than you to meet this challenge. Studies reveal that teenagers who report feeling close to their families were the least likely to engage in any of the risky behaviors studied, which included drinking and smoking marijuana or cigarettes. This finding supports what a majority of parents believe: that they can teach their children to view alcohol and other drugs as a serious concern and that they can influence their children's decisions about whether or not to use drugs.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Ways to build a strong emotional bond with your children.

1.) Encourage independent thinking. Teach your children how to think for themselves. From an early age, teach them how to make age appropriate choices for themselves. Offer encouragement to make choices. Support their choices where it is appropriate to do so. Teach them the value of making independent choices rather than deferring to the wishes and desires of others. This will help them later in life when they are put in a position to choose what’s best for them or succumb to the influence of their peers.

2.) Be clear about family values. From an early age, children should become practiced at following rules. The best way to do that is to clearly articulate your family values and the rules that enforce those values. Along with articulating the values and rules that express those values, you need to clearly articulate the consequences that go along with breaking the rules. For example a family value may be that children get a good education. A rule that enforces that value may be that children must practice reading for twenty minutes an evening. If a child does not practice reading for twenty-minutes a night, the consequence will be no dessert at their next meal. As your children become practiced at honoring the values of the family by following rules, as your children experience the consequences involved with breaking the rules of the family, they will become practiced decision makers when confronted with the presence of alcohol and other drugs.

At the same time, be mindful of how you can sabotage the learning of your children about values if you’re behavior is incongruent with the values. If you pull one of those do as I say and not as I do routines you’ll undermine what you’re attempting to teach your children. If your children see you smoking, drinking to excess, or taking drugs, it undercuts your good intentions to help them avoid consuming alcohol and other drugs.

3.) Build confidence. Always direct your praise or criticism towards the action and not the person. You can empower your children by helping them master age appropriate tasks, such as riding a bicycle, building a model, working on a computer, or reading a book.

4.) Encourage healthful activities. You know the old saying about idle time being the devil’s playground. Get your children involved in after-school programs or activities at your church or community center. Children who learn to have fun through activities and interpersonal relationships will be less vulnerable to needing to cope with stress, boredom, and emotional duress by consuming alcohol and other drugs.

5.) Be honest. Honest answers and explanations that your children can understand build trust  between you and your children. Your children need to trust you in order to come to you when they’re in trouble and need your help.

6.) Begin early. It’s incredible but true: by late elementary school, children begin to see classmates smoking, drinking and trying drugs. Most children who become drug users begin using drugs at age 12 or 13 and begin to inhale household products to get high in the 6th or 7th grades. You must begin talking to your children early and often. Recognize when they’re being curious. Don’t brush them off. Be prepared to answer their questions. If you don’t know the answer to their questions, find out the answers and report back to them.

7.) Stand firm. Your children look to you for direction and support. If you’re not clear, firm, and unwavering in your policies about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs, then they’ll be confused by the mixed messages that you’re sending to them.

8.) Resist the urge to threaten or badger. Creating an ongoing dialogue about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs requires that you remain clam, respectful, and educational. Threats, interrogations, and criticalness do nothing to maintain an open dialogue—which is the sole point of the exercise.

9.) Keep talking. Be clear about the effort that is required of you. One conversation when your child is nine will not suffice. You need to maintain a continuing open discussion about alcohol and other drugs throughout their teen years.

10.) Listen. Listen. Listen. Don’t forget that as important as it is for you to provide information and direction, it is equally important that you make room for your children to talk and for you to do nothing more than listen.

Set, Teach, and Model Values
You have expectations of behavior for your children. These expectations are a reflection of your principles and standards. These principles and standards are what make up your value system. One reason children decide not to consume alcohol and other drugs is because to do so would violate their family’s value system. Therefore, it’s critical that you are:
1.) Clear about the values that you have towards the consumption of alcohol and other drugs
2.) Clear about what message(s) you communicate to your children about your values associated with the consumption of alcohol and other drugs
3.) Clear about what messages your children are receiving about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Ways to clarify your family’s values.

1.) Identify and communicate values openly. Identify what values you want your children to embrace and apply to the living of their lives. Explain to your children the importance of values such as honesty, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and acting assertively. Explain to your children the importance of choices and how values can help your children make good choices. Explain to them how choices build on other choices—good choices lead to other good choices and bad choices lead to other bad choices.

2.) Be mindful of how your choices impact the develop of your children’s value system. Children are keen observers of their environment. They observe their parent’s behavior and often imitate it. It would not surprise you that children whose parents smoke are more likely to become smokers. So think about your own consumption of alcohol and other drugs and prescription medications. How might your consumption of alcohol and other drugs influence the formation of your children’s attitudes towards their consumption of alcohol and other drugs.

3.) Make sure that your words and actions match.  If you tell your children not to lie, are your actions consistent with that message or do you burden them with trying to understand the more confusing message, “Do as I say and not as I do.”

4.) Check out with your children their understanding of what it is that you’re attempting to teach them. Is it safe to assume that your children are understanding you the way that you intend for them to understand you? You need to continually discuss, clarify, and reinforce your message in order for you to be assured that your message is being received the way that you’ve intended for it to be received. Ask your children to repeat back to you their understanding of what you’ve communicated to them. Play what if with your children by inventing scenarios that test your children’s application of a value. For instance, what if the cashier at the drug store mistakenly gave your child a ten dollar bill rather than a one dollar bill. What would child do in that situation.

Articulate and Enforce Rules
For Behavior

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to set and enforce rules for your children. What are your rules about your children’s consumption of alcohol and other drug use? Have you established rules? Have you communicated those rules to your children? Have you thought about how you intend to enforce those rules? Have you clearly communicated to your children the consequences that will be implemented if those rules are broken?

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Steps to setting and enforcing rules about consumption of alcohol and other drug use by your children.

1.) Be precise. Don’t set your children up to fail. You must:
a.) Specifically and clearly articulate what the rules are.
Explain the reasons for the rules
c.) Explain to your child how they will benefit from following the rules.
c.) Tell your child what behavior is expected.
d.) Tell your child what the consequences of breaking the rules will be.
e.) Tell your child how the consequences will be administered.
f.) Tell your child how much time will be involved with the life span of the consequences.
g.) Tell your child what the punishment is supposed to achieve.

2.) Be committed and consistent.  Children test limits, look for the crack in the plan, study how they can get around the rules that are being set for them. You need to be consistent in your application of the don’t drink and drug rule as applies to situations, settings, and with whom your child is spending time. No means no under any and all circumstances.

3.) Be levelheaded.
When the time comes to apply the consequences to your child breaking a rule, you will likely be angry or disappointed at the time. Don’t use your emotions against your child. This is a time to be evenhanded in your dealings with your child. Don’t pile on by grounding your child forever. Don’t use intimidation tactics such as threatening your child. Be calm. Be fair. Carry out the exact consequences that you’ve previously discussed with your child.

Knoweldge is Power: Know the Facts
Knowledge is power. The more you know about alcohol and other drugs, the better able you will be to:
1.) Intelligently discuss the subject with your children
2.) Educate your children about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs
3.) Recognize the more subtle and hidden signs of alcohol and other drugs if it should occur with your children.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
What all parents need to know about alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Commonly used alcohol and other drug and the dangers associated with each.
2.) How to identify paraphernalia associated with each drug
3.) The street names of drugs
4.) What drugs look like
5.) The signs of alcohol and other drug use
6.) How to get help promptly if you suspect your child may be using alcohol and other drugs

For current information on alcohol and other drug use, please use the links listed below:

Club Drugs

Communicating With Your Children

Research tells us that kids who have good communication with their parents have a better chance of avoiding substance abuse. Families with good communication talk honestly and openly about their feelings and about such problems as peer pressure, teen pregnancy and drugs. Teens who do not use or abuse drugs usually feel that their parents love them and trust them. They have had a say in family rules and have been allowed to make choices appropriate to their ages and abilities.

If you constantly nag or make unfounded accusations, your son may feel that you neither love nor trust him. He needs to hear you say that you worry because you love him, not because you don't trust him. Expect his best, not his worst

Listen to your kids. Student surveys reveal that when parents listen to kids' concerns and feelings, kids feel more comfortable and are more likely to stay drug-free. Kids who receive lots of love and attention from parents feel more secure and have a higher sense of self-esteem. When they confront new or stressful situations, they are less likely to turn to alcohol and other drugs.

Fear oftentimes prevents parents from talking with their children about alcohol and other drugs. Parents are afraid that they:
1.) Don’t know what to say
2.) Don’t know how to say what needs to be said.
3.) Will put ideas into their heads about consuming alcohol and other drugs

Most parents wrongly believe that their children already know what they need to know about alcohol and other drugs. They assume that they are learning all that they need to know at school and from their peers. But study after study reveals that teenagers believe that they are both misinformed and/or not informed at all.

Use these findings to grab the bull by the horns. Take it upon yourself to educate your children about alcohol and other drugs. Make the time to discuss with them the concerns you have about alcohol and drugs. Make the time to listen with then about their concerns about alcohol and other drugs.

Don’t wait until there is a problem. Start talking to your children when they’re young. Don’t discuss the subject once and assume that that’s the only time you’ll need to talk to them about alcohol and other drugs.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Ways to improve talking with your child about alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Be willing to listen more and lecture less. Your child needs to believe that you’re a safe person to talk to.
To enable your child to feel safe coming to you with their questions and concerns:
a.) Listen closely to what your child says.
b.) Don't dump anger or disappointment on your child about what you may be hearing.
c.) If it will help diffuse the feelings being provoked by the discussion, take a short break until your and/or your child can settle down.
d.) Be attuned to not only what your child is saying but what your child is NOT saying. e.) Don’t assume a hands-off approach by waiting for your child to always come to you. Check in with your child. See how they’re doing. See if there is any problems that they’re wrestling with that you may be able to help them with.
f.) Be available when your child says that they need to talk to. Don’t brush them off. Don’t ask them to wait until there’s a better time for you. If your child wants to discuss something at a time when you can’t give it full attention, explain why you can't talk, set a time to talk later, and then carry through on it!

2.) Be an encouraging parent. Encourage your children when they need a little boost to get over the hump. Praise them for actions that are noteworthy. Don’t focus exclusively on those things that you judge to be bad or wrong.

3.) Give unambiguous messages. Don’t equivocate. Don’t hem and haw. Your children look to you to provide leadership. Leadership is most effectively provided by clear messages that don’t create confusion or double binds of damn if you do, damn if you don’t.

4.) Model appropriate behavior. It is critical that you not only talk the talk but walk the walk. Make sure that your own actions reflect the standards of behavior that you expect from your children.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Communication tips that can make your communication with your children more successful.

1.) Pay attention.
2.) Don't interrupt.
3.) Don't prepare what you will say while your child is speaking.
4.) Reserve judgment until your child has finished and has asked you for a response.
5.) Be aware of your child's facial expression and body language. Is your child nervous or uncomfortable—frowning, drumming fingers, tapping a foot, looking at the clock? Or does your child seem relaxed—smiling, looking you in the eyes? Reading these signs will help parents know how the child is feeling.
6.) During the conversation, acknowledge what your child is saying—move your body forward if you are sitting, touch a shoulder if you are walking, or nod your head and make eye contact.
7.) Respond rather Than react to your child. For example: “I am very concerned about...” or “I understand that it is sometimes difficult...” are better ways to respond to your child than beginning sentences with “You should,” or ”If I were you,” or “When I was your age we didn't...” Speaking for oneself sounds thoughtful and is less likely to be considered a lecture or an automatic response.
8.) If your child tells you something you don't want to hear, don't ignore the statement.
9.) Don't offer advice in response to every statement your child makes. It is better to listen carefully to what is being said and try to understand the real feelings behind the words.
10.) Make sure you understand what your child means. Repeat things to your child for confirmation.

Applying the Principles

How and what you discuss with your child should be dependent on what age your child is. Please remember that your child is never too young to learn:
1.) Skills that will empower them to make good choices about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs
2.) Attitudes and beliefs about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs
3.) Information about what substances pose dangers to your child and what substances are healthy for your child to consume.

You can never discuss alcohol and other drugs with your child. Once is not enough!
Below are suggestions for age appropriate strategies for the ongoing education of your children.


Although preschoolers are not ready to learn the facts about alcohol and other drugs, you can begin teaching the attitudes and habits that will empower them make good choices later on in their life.

Children need to be equipped with a skill set that will enable them to make decisions and solve problems that will allow them to not fall prey to the pressures of their peers. Thus, you can begin working with your preschooler on activities that will enable them to begin making choices for themselves as well as asserting themselves. Bear in mind, children at this age are more interested in doing for themselves rather than listening to someone talking at them. Let your child to learn how to make good decisions by doing. 

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Suggestions for empowering your child to make good choices and solve interpersonal problems.

1.) Make time for you and your child to play together, take a walk together, or do some other activity like reading a book together. By devoting your full attention to your child during these activities you are creating the bond necessary for your child to feel loved, respected, and valued by you.

2.) Educate your child about the toxic substances you keep in your house. Examples of these would be cleaning products, paint, gas cans, and bleach. Read the warning labels to your child. Help them understand the dangers of these products and the reasons that you keep them stored out of the reach of your child.

3.) Educate your child about medicines that you have in your house. Teach your child not to take anything from a medicine bottle unless you give it to them or some other person(s) that you tell your child may give medicine to your child.

4.) Educate your child about the value of proper nutrition. Talk to them about the dangers of ingesting foods and substances that are not good for them as well as the benefits of ingesting substances that are good for them.

5.) Educate your child about the behaviors that you expect. Discuss with your child the basics of how to get along with other children—treat others the way you would like to be treated, play fair, share things, be honest.

6.) Educate your child about the importance of following directions. Games are a good way to begin teaching them about rules and procedures. If you cook with your child, the importance of following the recipe is a good way to help them learn the importance of following directions.

7.) Use your child’s experiences of frustration when playing or trying something new, to learn how to solve problems and handle the frustration of not being able to immediately master an activity.

8.) Use the choosing of what clothes to wear, what games to play, or how best to spend time together as an opportunity for your child to practice making choices. Don’t focus on the quality of the choice, as much a praise the act of making a choice.

Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade

Your child who is between the ages of five and nine tends to feel good about themself. Growing up is an adventure that they are enjoying. School is a fun place to play, learn, and socialize with their peers. Thinking and learning is still experiential. The here-and-now is where they live without little regard for the future. Fact and fantasy blend together. Their world view is dominated by how they wish things to be rather than how things actually are. Because of this, children are best helped with rules that structure their behavior and information in order to make good choices.

Discussions about alcohol and other drugs for this age group should be here-and-now focused. The underlying theme of discussing alcohol and other drugs with this age group is good health. Teaching children choices that will assure good health while avoiding choices that will undermine good health can be a very effective strategy.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
What your child should understand by the end of third grade.

1.) What an illicit drug is. Why it is illegal. What it looks like. What harm it can do.
2.) How foods, poisons, medicines, and illicit drugs differ.
3.) How medicines may help during illness, when prescribed by a doctor and administered by a responsible adult, but also how medicines are drugs that can be harmful if misused.
4.) Why it is important to avoid unknown and possibly dangerous objects, containers, and substances.
5.) Which adults, both at school and outside, you want your child to rely on for answers to questions or help in an emergency.
6.) Which foods are nutritious and why exercise is important.
7.) What the school and home rules are about alcohol and other drug consumption.
8.) How using alcohol and other drugs is illegal for all children.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Suggestions for empowering your child in kindergarten through third grade to make good choices that enhances their health and solves interpersonal problems.

1.) Emphasize the importance of good health by talking about things people do to stay healthy, such as brushing teeth after each meal, washing hands, eating good foods, getting plenty of rest and sleep. You can use this discussion to contrast the harmful things that people do, such as taking drugs, smoking, or drinking to excess.

2.) Discuss illnesses with which your child is familiar and for which prescription drugs are often necessary. Many children have had a sore throat, ear infections, flu, and colds. Discussing such illnesses can help your child understand the difference between medicine and illicit drugs.

4.) Practice ways to say no with your child. Describe situations that may make your child feel uncomfortable; being invited to ride a bike where you do not allow your child to go, for example, or being offered medicine or other unfamiliar substances. Give your child some responses to use in these situations.

5.) Develop a helpers file of people your child can rely on. Put together a phone list of relatives, family friends, neighbors, teachers, religious leaders, and the police and fire departments. Illustrate the list with photos. Talk with your child about the kind of help each person on the list could provide in case of various unexpected situations, such as being approached by strangers or losing a house key.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Suggestions for teaching your child to say no.

1.) Ask questions. If unknown substances are offered, ask, “What is it?” and “Where did you get it?” If a party or other gathering is proposed, ask, “Who else is coming?” “Where will it be?” “Will parents be there?”

2.) Say no. Don't argue, don't discuss. Say no and show that you mean it.

3.) Give reasons. “I’m doing something else that night” or “The coach says drugs will hurt my game” are examples of some reasons that youngsters can use. Also, don't forget the oldest reason: “My parents will ground me for life.”

4.) Suggest other things to do. If a friend is offering alcohol or other drugs, saying no is tougher. Suggesting something else to do—going to a movie, playing a game, or working together on a project—shows that drugs are being rejected, not the friend.

5.) Leave. When all these steps have been tried, get out of the situation immediately. Go home, go to class, join a group of friends, or talk to someone else.

Grades 4th Through 6th

In this period of growth your child begins to invest more and more energy into learning. Most children in this age group love to learn facts. Their curiosity becomes heightened as they want to learn how things work.
Friendships become important to children in this age group. Children in this age group begin to form their self-concept in part by acceptance of their peers. This makes it a particularly vulnerable time for those children who tend to be followers.

This age is perhaps the most important time for parents to focus on increased efforts at drug prevention. These late elementary school years are crucial to decisions about the use of alcohol and other drugs. The greatest risk for starting to smoke comes in the sixth and seventh grades. Research shows that the earlier youngsters begin to use alcohol and other drugs, the more likely they are to have real trouble.

Your child will need a clear no-use message, factual information, and strong motivation to resist pressures to try alcohol and other drugs and to reinforce the determination to remain drug free.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Appropriate new information for children age 10-12.

1.) Ways to identify specific drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, and cocaine in their various forms.
2.) The long- and short-term effects and consequences of use.
3.) Effects of drugs on different parts of the body, and the reasons why drugs are especially dangerous for growing bodies.
4.) Consequences of alcohol and other illegal drug use to the family, society, and the user.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Suggestions for empowering your child in 4th through 6th grade to make healthy choices about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Create special times when you are available to talk to your child. Give your child undivided attention. A walk together, dinner in a quiet place, or a visit to the ice cream parlor after a movie are some ways to make talking together a little easier.

2.) Encourage your child to participate in wholesome activities that will allow the child to form new friendships and have fun. Sports, Scouts, religious-sponsored youth programs, and community-sponsored youth organizations are excellent ways for children to meet others of their own age.

3.) Teach your child to be aware of how alcohol and other drugs are promoted. Discuss the messages that children are exposed to—TV, song lyrics, billboards, and advertisements. Discuss how these messages tend to glamorize the consumption of  alcohol and other drugs. Clearly separate the myths from the realities of alcohol and other drug use.

4.) Continue to practice ways to say no with your child, emphasizing ways to refuse alcohol and other drugs. It’s not uncommon for sixth graders to be offered beer and cigarettes and to know other children who smoke and drink alcohol.

5.) Encourage your child to join a local anti-drug club or peer assistance group that encourages drug-free activities.

6.) Ask your child to scan the morning newspaper and to circle any article that has to do with alcohol and other drug use. No doubt there will be articles about drug-related murders, strife in other countries due to drug trafficking, and alcohol-related auto accidents. Talk with your child about the tremendous loss of lives and resources because of the use of alcohol and other drugs.

7.) Make friends with the parents of your child's friends so that you can reinforce one another’s efforts in teaching good personal and social habits. A neighborhood social gathering, sporting event, or school assembly are good places to meet.

8.) Join with other parents in providing supervised activities for young people to limit “free time,” which often leads to experimentation with alcohol and other drugs.

Grades 7th Through- 9th

During the early teens fitting in with friends is a dominating influence. In some ways, the onset of puberty is like a rebirth. Children want and need to let go of the past and in so doing begin to establish their own identity. This often means letting go of old friendships and ties with teachers and other adults, as well as old ways of doing things. The decision-making and problem-solving methods that they learned as young children are still helpful, but young teens will be making new decisions based on new information and new goals.

Young people this age can begin to deal with abstractions and the future. As a result children are beginning to learn that their actions have consequences and that their behavior affects others. They sometimes have a shaky self-image as they’re unsure whether they are growing and changing adequately. Conflict with adults begins to surface. Strong emotional support and a good model of adult behavior are particularly important now.

Young people who use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs typically begin before leaving the ninth grade. Be sure that family discussions about drugs emphasize the immediate, unpleasant effects of alcohol and other drug use. Telling junior high school students who are smoking that they will get lung cancer or heart disease in several decades is less likely to make an impression than talking about bad breath, stained teeth and fingers, and burned clothing.

Many young people use drugs because their friends use drugs. A large portion of your prevention efforts during these years should be spent reinforcing your child's motivation to avoid alcohol and other drugs. Here are some important steps:

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Focus of alcohol and other drug prevention for children in grades 7th through 9th.

1.) Counteract peer influence with parent influence. Reinforce your no-alcohol/no-drug use rules and expectations so that your child clearly understands that drinking and using drugs are unacceptable and illegal. Children may argue that everyone is doing it and not experiencing any harmful effects. Inform your child that alcohol and other drug use is illegal for children and that everyone is not doing it. Emphasize how unpredictable the effects of alcohol and other drugs can be, so that although many drug users may appear to function properly, drug use is extremely risky, and all it takes is one bad experience to change a life.

2.) Get to know your child's friends and their parents. Meet your child's friends. Invite them to your home frequently. Share your expectations about behavior with other parents. Work together to develop a set of rules about curfews, unchaperoned parties, and other social activities.

3.) Monitor your child's whereabouts. If your child is at a friend's house, be sure that you know the friend and the parents. If your child is at the movies, be sure you know what film is playing and at which theater. Last-minute changes in plans, such as visiting a different friend or going to a different movie, should not be permitted unless the child checks with Mom, Dad, or another designated adult.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
What your child should understand by the end of 9th grade.

1.) The characteristics and chemical nature of specific drugs and drug interactions.
2.) The physiology of drug effects on the circulatory, respiratory, nervous, and reproductive systems.
3.) The stages of chemical dependency and their unpredictability from person to person.
4.) The ways that alcohol and other drug use affects activities requiring motor coordination, such as driving a car or participating in sports.
5.) Family history, particularly if alcoholism or other drug addiction has been a problem.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Suggestions for empowering your children in 7th through 9th grade to make healthy choices about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Continue to practice ways to say no with your child. Teach your child to recognize problem situations, such as being at a house where no adults are present and young people are smoking or drinking beer. Make up situations in which your child may be asked to try alcohol and other drugs and let the child practice saying no using the steps outlined. Try many situations until you are confident that your child knows how to say no.

2.) Children this age are very concerned about how others see them. You can help your child develop a positive self-image by making sure that the child looks good and feels healthy. In addition to providing well-balanced meals, keep your refrigerator and pantry stocked with appealing alternatives to junk food.

3.) Continue to spend private time with your child to discuss what your child feels is important in his or her life right now. Your child's fears about emerging sexuality, appearing different from friends, and going on to high school are real problems and deserve your concern and attention.

4.) Periodically review and update, with your child's participation, your house rules and your child's responsibilities regarding chores, homework, time limit on TV watching, and the curfew on school and weekend nights. Discuss these questions with your child: Are the rules fair and the consequences appropriate? Is it time to switch to some new chores? Should there be fewer or different chores because of added homework assignments or after-school activities? Should the curfew be adjusted?

5.) Talk with you child about friendship. Make the point that true friends do not ask each other to do things they know are wrong and risk harm to themselves, their friends, or their families.

6.) Plan supervised parties or other activities for your child in your home which reflect a no-alcohol/no-drug use rule. For example, have your child invite friends to share a pizza and watch TV.

Grades 10th Through 12th

By the time your children reach tenth grade, they will become more future-oriented. By tenth grade your children begin to engage in abstract thinking. Children in this age range become more open to discussing their problems and seeking adult solutions. At the same time, children in this age range remain group-oriented. Belonging and acceptance b the group motivates much of their behavior.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
What your child should understand by the end of 12th grade.

1.) The immediate and long-term physical effects of specific drugs
2.) The possibly fatal effects of combining drugs
3.) The relationship of drug use to other diseases and disabilities
4.) The effects of alcohol and other drugs on the fetus during pregnancy
5.) The fact that drug use is not a victimless crime
6.) The effects and possible consequences of operating equipment while using alcohol and other drugs
7.) The impact that drug use has on society
8.) The extent of community intervention resources

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Suggestions for empowering your children in 10th   through 129th grade to make healthy choices about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Continue to talk with your teenager about alcohol and other drug use. Chances are your teen has friends who use alcohol and other drugs or knows people who do. Talk about how alcohol and other drug use threatens lives and may limit opportunities for the future.

2.) Plan strategies to limit your teen's unsupervised hours at home, while you are at work. Researchers have found that lunchtime and 3:00-6:00 p.m. are periods teenagers are likely to experiment with alcohol and other drugs.

3.) Encourage your teenager to work on behalf of a drug prevention program by being trained as a volunteer to answer hot-line calls or as a peer counselor.

4.) Talk with your teenager about joining a sports club, drama club, arts and crafts center, or dance studio or about volunteering to work for a church group or community organization. The busier your teenager is, the less likely he or she is to be bored and to seek an outlet in alcohol or other drugs. Volunteer with your teenager, if you have time.

5.) Plan alcohol- and drug-free activities with other families during school vacations and major holidays, which can be high-risk idle times for teens.

6.) Make sure your teen has access to up-to-date information on alcohol and other drugs and their effects. Make an effort to be informed about any new drugs that are popular, and know their effects. (For suggested reading, see the resources section at the end of this booklet.)

7.) Cooperate with other parents to make sure that the parties and social events your teenager attends are alcohol- and drug-free. Some families choose to draw up a contract holding adults responsible for parties given in their homes; the contract specifies that all parties will be supervised and that there is to be no use of alcohol or other drugs. (See "Safe Homes" in the resource section.)

8.) Help plan community-sponsored drug-free activities such as alcohol- and drug-free dances and other recreational activities such as "midnight basketball."

9.) Talk with your teenager about the future. Discuss your expectations and your teenager's ambitions. Collect college or vocational catalogs for your teenager, and discuss different educational and career options. Plan a family outing to local colleges and universities.

What to do if Your Child is
Consuming Alcohol and Other Drugs

There are many factors that contribute to why a teenager consumes alcohol and other drugs. Reasons may be: 1.) How they feel about themselves, 2.) How they get along with others, and 3.) How they live. No one factor determines who will use drugs and who will not, but here are some predictors:

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Factors that are potential predictors for teenage alcohol and other drug use.

1.) Low grades or poor school performance
2.) Aggressive, rebellious behavior
3.) Excessive influence by peers
4.) Lack of parental support and guidance
5.) Behavior problems at an early age

Being alert to the signs of alcohol and other drug use requires a finely honed eye. It can be difficult to distinguish between normal teenage behavior and behavior caused by consuming alcohol and other drugs. Changes that are extreme or that last for more than a few days may signal alcohol and other drug abuse.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Signs that may indicate your child is consuming alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Does your child seem withdrawn, depressed, tired, and careless about personal grooming?
2.) Has your child become hostile and uncooperative?
3.) Have your child's relationships with other family members deteriorated?
4.) Has your child dropped his old friends?
5.) Is your child no longer doing well in school - grades slipping, attendance irregular?
6.) Has your child lost interest in hobbies, sports, and other favorite activities?
7.) Have your child's eating or sleeping patterns changed?

Positive answers to any of these questions can indicate alcohol and other drug use. However, be mindful that these signs may also apply to a child who who may be having other problems at school or in the family other than alcohol and other drug consumption. If you are in doubt, consult with a qualified healthcare provider. Have your family doctor or local clinic examine your child to rule out illness or other physical problems.

Be on the lookout for signs of drugs and drug paraphernalia. The presence of common items such as pipes, rolling papers, small medicine bottles, eye drops, or butane lighters may indicate that your child is consuming alcohol and other drugs.

Do not allow anger, resentment, guilt, and a sense of failure as a parent paralyze you if you discover that your child is consuming alcohol and other drugs. If your child is using alcohol and other drugs, it’s important to not blame yourself. Take action. Get help for your entire family to deal with what you discover. The earlier an alcohol and other drug problem is discovered and confronted, the better able your entire family can be helped.

If and when you need to confront your child, do not confront a child who is under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Wait until your child is sober. Then discuss your Once you do express your concerns to your child, do so calmly and objectively.

Remember, if you’ve previously articulated consequences for violation of your no drinking and drugging  policy, impose those consequences. Don’t relent because the youngster promises never to do it again.

It’s common for people to lie about their alcohol and other drug consumption. If you think your child is not being truthful and the evidence is pretty strong, you may wish to have your child evaluated by a health professional experienced in diagnosing adolescents with alcohol- and drug-related problems.

If your child has developed a pattern of alcohol and other drug consumption, you’ll probably need help to intervene. If you do not know about drug treatment programs in your area, call your doctor, local hospital, or county mental health society for a referral. Your school district should have a substance abuse coordinator or a counselor who can refer you to treatment programs, too. Parents whose children have been through treatment programs can also provide information.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
What not  to do if a friend or somebody you love has a problem with alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Don't attempt to punish, threaten, bribe, or preach.
2.) Don't try to be a martyr. Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.
3.) Don't allow yourself to cover up or make excuses for the alcoholic or drug addict or shield them from the realistic consequences of their behavior.
4.) Don't take over their responsibilities, leaving them with no sense of importance or dignity.
5.) Don't hide or dump bottles, throw out drugs, or shelter them from situations where alcohol is present.
6.) Don't argue with the person when they are impaired or high.
7.) Don't try to drink along with the problem drinker or take drugs with the drug abuser.
8.) Above all, don't feel guilty or responsible for another's behavior.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
What to do if a friend or somebody you love has a problem with alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Try to remain calm, unemotional, and factually honest in speaking about their behavior and its day-to-day consequences.
2.) Let the person with the problem know that you are reading and learning about alcohol and other drug abuse, attending Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, Alateen, and other support groups.
3.) Discuss the situation with someone you trust -- someone from the clergy, a social worker, a counselor, a friend, or some individual who has experienced alcohol or other drug abuse personally or as a family member.
4.) Establish and maintain a healthy atmosphere in the home, and try to include the alcohol/drug abuser in family life.
5.) Explain the nature of alcoholism and other drug addiction as an illness to the children in the family.
6.) Encourage new interests and participate in leisure time activities that the person enjoys. Encourage them to see old friends.
7.) Be patient and live one day at a time. Alcoholism and other drug addiction generally takes a long time to develop, and recovery does not occur overnight. Try to accept setbacks and relapses with calmness and understanding.
8.) Refuse to ride with anyone who's been drinking heavily or using other drugs.

Specific Drugs and their Effects


Alcohol consumption causes a number of changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgement and coordination required to drive a car safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol can increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death.

Continued use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Long-term effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol, especially when combined with poor nutrition, can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver. In addition, mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants may suffer from mental retardation and other irreversible physical abnormalities. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics.



The smoking of tobacco products is the chief avoidable cause of death in our society. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to contract heart disease - some 170,000 die each year from smoking-related coronary heart disease. Lung, larynx, esophageal, bladder, pancreatic, and kidney cancers also strike smokers at increased rates. Some 30 percent of cancer deaths (130,000 per year) are linked to smoking. Chronic, obstructive lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis are 10 times more likely to occur among smokers than among nonsmokers.

Smoking during pregnancy also poses serious risks. Spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, low birth weights, and fetal and infant deaths are all more likely to occur when the pregnant woman is a smoker.

Cigarette smoke contains some 4,000 chemicals, several of which are known carcinogens. Perhaps the most dangerous substance in tobacco smoke is nicotine. Nicotine is the substance that reinforces and strengthens the desire to smoke. Because nicotine is highly addictive, addicts find it very difficult to stop smoking. Of 1,000 typical smokers, fewer than 20 percent succeed in stopping on the first try.


All forms of cannabis have negative physical and mental effects. Several regularly observed physical effects of cannabis are a substantial increase in the heart rate, bloodshot eyes, a dry mouth and throat, and increased appetite.

Use of cannabis may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car. Motivation and cognition may be altered, making the acquisition of new information difficult. Marijuana can also produce paranoia and psychosis.

Because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and then hold it in their lungs as long as possible, marijuana is damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system. Marijuana smoke contains more cancer-causing agents than tobacco smoke. Long-term users of cannabis may develop psychological dependence and require more of the drug to get the same effect. The drug can become the center of their lives.



What is it called?

What does it look like?

How is it used?


Pot, Reefer, Grass, Weed, Dope, Ganja, Mary Jane, or Sinsemilla

Like dried parsley, with stems and/or seeds; rolled into cigarettes

Smoked or eaten



Soft gelatin capsules

Taken orally



Brown or black cakes or balls

Smoked or eaten

Hashish Oil

Hash Oil

Concentrated syrupy liquid varying in color form clear to black

Smoked - mixed with tobacco



The immediate negative effects of inhalants include nausea, sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination, and loss of appetite. Solvents and aerosol sprays also decrease the heart and respiratory rates and impair judgement. Amyl and butyl nitrite cause rapid pulse, headaches, and involuntary passing of urine and feces. Long-term use may result in hepatitis or brain damage.

Deeply inhaling the vapors, or using large amounts over a short time, may result in disorientation, violent behavior, unconsciousness, or death. High concentrations of inhalants can cause suffocation by displacing the oxygen in the lungs or by depressing the central nervous system to the point that breathing stops.

Long-term use can cause weight loss, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, and muscle fatigue. Repeated sniffing of concentrated vapors over time can permanently damage the nervous system.


What is it called?

What does it look like?

How is it used?

Nitrous Oxide

Laughing gas or Whippets

Small 8-gram metal cylinder sold with a balloon or pipe propellant for whipped cream in aerosol spray can

Vapors inhaled

Amyl Nitrite

Poppers or Snappers

Clear yellowish liquid in ampules

Vapors inhaled

Butyl Nitrite

Rush, Bolt, Bullet, Locker Room, and Climax

In small bottles

Vapors inhaled


Aerosol sprays or cleaning fluids

Aerosol paint cans

Vapors inhaled



Cans of aerosol propellants, gasoline, glue, paint thinner

Vapors inhaled



Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Its immediate effects include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Occasional use can cause a stuffy or runny nose, while chronic use can ulcerate the mucuous membrane of the nose. Injecting cocaine with contaminated equipment can cause AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases. Preparation of freebase, which involves the use of volatile solvents, can result in death or injury from fire or explosion.

Crack or freebase rock is extremely addictive, and its effects are felt within 10 seconds. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizure. The use of cocaine can cause death by cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.


What is it called?

What does it look like?

How is it used?


Coke, Snow, Nose Candy, Flake, Blow, Big C, Lady, White, and Snowbirds

White crystalline powder

Inhaled, injected

Crack cocaine

Crack, rock, freebase

White to tan pellets or crystalline rocks that look like soap


Other Stimulants

Stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, and decreased appetite. In addition, users may experience sweating, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Extremely high doses can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, and even physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, very high fever, or heart failure.

In addition to the physical effects, users report feeling restless, anxious, and moody. Higher doses intensify the effects. Persons who use larger amounts of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. These symptoms usually disappear when drug use ceases.


What is it called?

What does it look like?

How is it used?


Speed, Uppers, Ups, Black beauties, Pep pills, Copilots, Bumblebees, Hearts, Benzedrine, Dexedrine, Footballs, and Biphetamine

Capsules, pills, tablets

Taken orally, injected, inhaled


Crank, Crystal meth, Crystal methadrine, and Speed

White powder, pills, rock that resembles a block of paraffin

Taken orally, injected, inhaled

Additional Stimulants

Ritalin, Cylert, Preludin, Didrex, Pre-State, Voranil, Sandrex, and Plegine

Pills or capsules

Taken orally, injected


The effects of depressants are in many ways similar to the effects of alcohol. Small amounts can produce calmness and very relaxed muscles, but larger doses can cause slurred speech, staggering gait, and altered perception. Very large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death. The combination of depressants and alcohol can multiply the effects of the drugs, increasing the risks.

Regular use of depressants over time can result in physical and psychological addiction. People who suddenly stop taking large doses can experience withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, tremors, delirium, convulsions, and death. Babies born to mothers who abuse depressants may also be physically dependent on the drugs and show withdrawal symptoms shortly after they are born. Birth defects and behavioral problems also may result.


What is it called?

What does it look like?

How is it used?


Downers, Barbs, Blue Devils, Red Devils, Yellow Jacket, Yellows, Nembutal, Tuinals, Seconal, and Amytal

Red, yellow, blue, or red and blue capsules

Taken orally


Quaaludes, Ludes, Sopors


Taken orally


Valium, Librium, Miltown, Serax, Equanil, Miltown, and Tranxene

Tablets or capsules

Taken orally


Phencyclidine (PCP) interrupts the functions of the neocortex, the section of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check. Because the drug blocks pain receptors, violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injuries. The effects of PCP vary, but users frequently report a sense of distance and estrangement. Time and body movements are slowed down. Muscular coordination worsens and senses are dulled. Speech is blocked and incoherent. In later stages of chronic use, users often exhibit paranoid and violent behavior and experience hallucinations. Large doses may produce convulsions and coma, as well as heart and lung failure.

Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause illusions and hallucinations. The physical effects may include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and tremors. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. Delayed effects, or flashbacks, can occur even when use has ceased.


What is it called?

What does it look like?

How is it used?


PCP, Hog, Angel Dust, Loveboat, Lovely, Killer Weed

What does it look like - Liquid, white crystalline powder, pills, capsules

Taken orally, injected, smoked (sprayed on joints or cigarettes)

Lysergic acid diethylamide

LSD, Acid, Microdot, White lightning, Blue heaven, and Sugar Cubes

Colored tablets, blotter paper, clear liquid, thin squares of gelatin

Taken orally, licked off paper, gelatin, and liquid can be put in the eyes.

Mescaline and Peyote

Mesc, Buttons, and Cactus

Hard brown discs, tablets, capsules

Discs - chewed, swallowed, or smoked or Tablets and capsules - taken orally


Magic Mushrooms, 'shrooms

Fresh or dried mushrooms

Chewed or swallowed



Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Users may also experience constricted pupils, watery eyes, and itching. An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possible death.

Tolerance to narcotics develops rapidly and dependence is likely. The use of contaminated syringes may result in disease such as AIDS, endocarditis, and hepatitis. Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn, or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.


What is it called?

What does it look like?

How is it used?


Smack, Horse, Mud, Brown sugar, Junk, Black tar, and Big H

White to dark-brown powder or tarlike substance

Injected, smoked, or inhaled


Empirin compound with codeine, Tylenol with codeine, Codeine in cough medicine

Dark liquid varying in thickness, capsules, tablets

Taken orally, injected


Pectoral syrup

White crystals, hypodermic tablets, or injectable solutions

Taken orally, injected, or smoked


Paregoric, Dover's Powder, Parepectolin

Dark brown chunks, powder

Smoked, eaten, or injected


Pethidine, Demerol, Mepergan

White powder, solution, tablets

Taken orally, injected

Other narcotics

Percocet, Percodan, Tussionex, Fentanyl, Darvon, Talwin, and Lomotil

Tablets or capsules

Taken orally, injected


Designer Drugs

Illegal drugs are defined in the terms of their chemical formulas. To circumvent these legal restrictions, underground chemists modify the molecular structure of certain illegal drugs to produce analogs known as designer drugs. These drugs can be several hundred times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate.

The narcotic analogs can cause symptoms such as those seen in Parkinson's disease: uncontrollable tremors, drooling, impaired speech, paralysis, and irreversible brain damage. Analogs of amphetamines and methamphetamines cause nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating, and faintness. Psychological effects include anxiety, depression, and paranoia. As little as one dose can cause brain damage. The analogs of phencyclidine cause illusions, hallucinations, and impaired perception.




What is it called?

What does it look like?

How is it used?

Analog of Fentanyl (Narcotic)

Synthetic heroin, China white

White powder

Inhaled, injected

Analog of Meperidine (Narcotic)

MPTP (New heroin), MPPP, synthetic heroin

White powder

Inhaled, injected

Analog of Amphetamines or Methamphetamines (Hallucinogens)

MDMA (Ecstasy, XTC, Adam, Essence), MDM, STP, PMA, 2, 5-DMA, TMA, DOM, DOB, EVE

White powder, tablets, or capsules

Taken orally, injected, or inhaled

Analog of Phencyclidine (PCP)


White powder

Taken orally, injected, or smoked

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are a group of powerful compounds closely related to the male sex hormone testosterone. Developed in the 1930's, steroids are seldom prescribed by physicians today. Current legitimate medical uses are limited to certain kinds of anemia, severe burns, and some types of breast cancer.

Taken in combination with a program of muscle-building exercise and diet, steroids may contribute to increases in body weight and muscular strength. Steroid users subject themselves to more than 70 side effects ranging in severity from liver cancer to acne and including psychological as well as physical reactions. The liver and cardiovascular systems are most seriously affected by steroid use. In males, use can cause withered testicles, sterility, and impotence. In females, irreversible masculine traits can develop along with breast reduction and sterility. Psychological effects in both sexes include very aggressive behavior known as "roid rage" and depression. While some side effects appear quickly, others, such as heart attacks and strokes, may not show up for years.


Signs of steroid use include quick weight and muscle gains (when used in a weight training program); aggressiveness and combativeness; jaundice; purple or red spots on the body; swelling of feet and lower legs; trembling; unexplained darkening of the skin; and persistent unpleasant breath odor.



Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.

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