Alcohol is the most commonly used substance by youth in Norwich as of our Norwich Youth Survey administered in 2023. The survey showed that 16.3% of youth had used alcohol in their lifetime, and 4.4% had used in the last 30 days. Underage drinking is dangerous and those who drink underage are more likely to; have higher rates of absenteeism, memory problems, increased risk of suicide, and are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.
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One of the findings of our Norwich Youth Survey in 2023 was that nicotine was the second most common substance used by youth within the community with 10.6% having used in their lifetime. Nicotine vape devices have continued to rise in popularity, which has also led to a rise in concern about the long-term effects on teenagers. While some long-term consequences of vaping are still unknown (due to a lack of long-term research studies), it is known that "using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control."
For help quitting vaping, click here.
As of 2023, 9.3% of Norwich youth had used marijuana in their lifetime. The legalization of adult-use cannabis increases the exposure youth have to marijuana, so it is important parents explain why it's legal for adults and not those under the age of 21. "Marijuana use beginning in teen years or younger may affect brain development which may impair thinking, memory, and learning."
Rx misuse is defined as simply not following the specific guidelines to taking medication, once prescribed (or over the counter) by your qualified Physician. Due to their potential for abuse and addiction, many prescription drugs have been categorized by the US Drug Enforcement Administration in the same category as opium or cocaine. These include Ritalin and Dexedrine (stimulants), and the painkillers OxyContin. Many illegal street drugs were at one time used or prescribed by doctors or psychiatrists but were later banned when the evidence of their harmful effects could no longer be ignored. Examples are heroin, cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine, and ecstasy.
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Heroin and prescription opioids are chemically similar and can produce a similar high. Heroin is often cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids, so some people switch to heroin instead. The majority of Americans using heroin (including those in treatment) reported misusing prescription opioids prior to using heroin. While prescription opioid misuse is a risk factor for starting heroin use, only a small fraction of people who misuse pain relievers switch to heroin, suggesting that prescription opioid misuse is just one factor leading to heroin use. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It’s typically used to treat patients with severe pain and patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids.
To learn more, visit DrugFreeCT.org
For more resources made by Norwich Prevention Council click here. Go to the Youth & Family Services tab, then the Norwich Prevention Council tab.