Pubdate: Wed, 25 May 2005
Source: Thorold News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005, OSPREY Media Group Inc
Author: Petr Cihacek


Local News - Teenagers who use drugs and alcohol in Thorold South Park
think they have fun, but addiction services workers warn long-term
drug abuse has horrible consequences.

The regional Centre for Addiction and Mental health says even
marijuana affects short-term memory, perception, concentration, and
experience of pain.

Norma Medulun, Hotel Dieu Hospital's director of addiction, autism and
developmental services, said marijuana users' thinking usually gets

Ongoing use of marijuana will lead to diseases of the lung such as you
get with tobacco because of the high nicotine and THC," said Medulun.

The centre for addiction says cannabis used in pregnancy may impair
fetal development and cause low birth weight.

Medulun said the effect of substance abuse depend on the kind of drug
and the health of the user.

"For drugs like cocaine, they usually have coronary heart disease,"
said Medulun. "For drugs such as heroin they will become very
sensitive to pain."

She said alcohol use leads to liver failure, diabetes, rotting teeth
and overall poor health.

Medulun added addicts don't sleep and eat properly and become
lethargic and depressed.

"It's quite ugly."

If people use more than just one drug, the effects are even more serious.

Besides hampering their physical and mental health, addicts also often
run into conflicts with the law.

"There's the criminal element," said Medulun, adding drug users also
often experience family breakdowns, loss of employment, and decreased
standard of living.

The 2003 Ontario student drug use survey stated alcohol is the most
popular drug, as 66.2 per cent students tried drinking.

The survey included 6,616 students in grades 7 to 12.

It says 29.6 per cent of them tried cannabis, 10 per cent tried
hallucinogens, 4.8 per cent tried cocaine and 2.9 per cent tried LSD.

Males are more likely to drink and use drugs, but females are more
likely to use stimulants such as diet pills.
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MAP posted-by: Derek