Drug Abuse Among Teens Essay

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A commercial once aired on television describing the effects of smoking on the brain. It began with a person holding an egg and saying, "This is your brain". The person then cracked the egg into a frying pan and as the egg sizzled the voice was heard saying, "This is your brain on drugs". The message was powerful while at the same time informative. Smoking not only affects a person physically, but mentally as well. However, most people do not know the severe mental damage smoking inflicts since the focus is primarily on the physical effects. Drug abuse is becoming a growing problem among teenagers. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse's 1999 survey of 2,000 teens, about 14 million teens ages 12 to…show more content…
They can become very distant and quiet or loud and violent. No one can be certain how drugs will affect their behavior, but the change is not usually for the better. Many people enter a state where they stop caring about everything including the things they once treasured more than anything. In as little as two weeks, nicotine can change the brain's chemistry and thus change a person's behavior. In order to understand the effects of smoking, researchers have examined the change drugs impose on the brain. The brain stem controls basic functions such as heart rate, breathing, eating, and sleeping. When one of these basic needs must be fulfilled, the brain stem structures can direct the rest of the brain and body to work toward that need. While these structures may be simple, they wield powerful effects on our behavior. On top of the brain stem lies the limbic system. The limbic system deals with our emotions, motivations, feelings, and survival needs. The two largest limbic structures, the hippocampus and the amygdale, are essential for memory storage. Sensory information flows from the cortex to these brain regions, which take into account what is going on inside the brain and body and then instruct the cortex to store what is important.2 Drug abuse plays such a powerful role in a person's emotions and behavior because it acts directly on the limbic system and brain stem, which override the cortex in controlling behavior. The feeling of
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