Used with care, drugs are medicine that can cure sickness or relieve pain. Misused, drugs can damage your body or your brain. Our award-winning drug abuse prevention materials help educators explain immediate and long-term drug effects. Explore our complete set of drug use and prevention products below.
A drug is any chemical substance that changes body functions in some way. Drugs can be created in labs or harvested from nature. They can be used to cure, treat or reduce symptoms of illness. Drugs can also cause harm or dependence if misused.
ETR’s drug abuse prevention pamphlets, videos and curricula are designed for a wide range of audiences and ages. Our prevention materials for schools teach essential skills to help students choose and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
Drugs used to treat disease or relieve symptoms of illness are called medicines. There are several types:
Prescription drugs are strong medicines. They’re generally safe when used as directed under a health provider’s care. But when not taken as prescribed, they can be dangerous.
Over-the-counter drugs are available without a health provider’s prescription. They’re generally safe to use to treat common illnesses. But misusing OTC drugs can have serious consequences.
Prescription and OTC medicines are legal drugs, but there are other drugs that are illegal, and that haven’t been approved for medical use. Illegal drugs are often called “street drugs” because people buy them from dealers “on the street.” Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and meth are especially dangerous to use because people can’t know what dose they’re taking or even what chemicals have been used in making the drugs.
Both legal and illegal drugs can cause dependence and addiction. Some people mistakenly believe drugs must be used over time before they cause problems. But even first-time use causes the brain to change in response to some drugs.
Drug dependence is when a person has become so used to a drug that the brain has a hard time working without it. The person’s body needs the drug to feel normal. Addiction occurs when a person is unable to control drug use. Users have powerful cravings and can’t stop using the drug, even when use causes physical, mental and social harm.
News stories about the opioid epidemic in the U.S. have covered how addictive these drugs can be. Opioids treat many illnesses, but most prescription opioids are used to treat very bad and long-term pain. Because opioids are so addictive, they can quickly cause dependence. Opioid abuse and addiction can be treated with medicine and behavioral therapy.
As more jurisdictions legalize marijuana, consumers are increasingly likely to have questions about whether this drug is safe to use. ETR’s materials address a number of emerging issues, including the health risks of edible marijuana products, the potential harm marijuana can cause to the developing adolescent brain, and the problems that marijuana use can cause during pregnancy.