Young people may try a number of substances, including alcohol, household chemicals (inhalants), prescription and over-the-counter medicines, illegal drugs, and cigarettes. Marijuana is the illegal drug that young people use most often.
Young people use these substances for many of the same reasons that adults do—to relax or feel good.
Alcohol and drugs target a part of the brain that allows people to feel pleasure.
This causes the brain to release certain chemicals that make people feel good.
These changes in the brain make it harder for people to think and make good choices.
And they may be less able to control their actions.With less of these chemicals, the brain can't function as well, and it becomes harder to feel pleasure.So people use alcohol or drugs to get the good feeling back.Even casual use of certain drugs can cause severe health problems, such as an overdose or brain damage.Many illegal drugs today are made in home labs, so they can vary greatly in strength.For many young people, using alcohol, drugs, or other substances like cigarettes is just part of growing up.Many of them try these substances only a few times and stop, while others may continue to use them on a more regular basis.Depending on the substance used, a person may feel tired, anxious, or depressed after the substance wears off.Or he or she may be more sensitive to pain, have sleep problems, lose interest in everyday activities, or withdraw from family and friends.Below is a list of the type of substances young people may use and what problems they may cause.Alcohol The leading cause of death for young people is car crashes related to alcohol.