Illustration by Hattie

As we all know, most drugs are illegal. And none of you should EVER do them.

However, let’s say you choose to ignore that VERY SOUND ADVICE. What might be good for you to know about keeping on the safe side of some potentially not-so-safe stuff? Well, you need to know, first and foremost, that as a teenager, your brain has not yet fully developed, and won’t have done so until you’re about 21. And so, sorry to tell you, but anything you send your brain’s way before that point WILL affect that development process. Please, please keep that fact at the forefront of your still-growing mind while you continue to read and weigh these facts about drug use.

OK. Here are some universal ground rules I would relay to a person (NOT YOU, OF COURSE) about using drugs as safely as possible, no matter what it is that that person (WHOMEVER THEY MAY BE) might be taking:

  • Don’t buy any mind-altering substance online, ever. This is very dangerous and will also get you arrested or at least grounded. Also, much of the time, it will get you scammed.
  • Never, ever drive on drugs or get in a car with someone whom you suspect even in the slightest may be high. I am saying this because I like you the way you are: alive.
  • Do not ever mix drugs with other drugs of any kind or with alcohol, both of which combinations can be lethal in many cases.
  • Stay well-hydrated and -fed.
  • Have some money and a charged cell phone on hand in case of an emergency.
  • If someone is taking a pill, they need to check what it is with a website like this one beforehand to make sure it is what they think/were told it is.
  • Be with trusted people, not alone or with strangers.

So those are the generalities, but what should you know about each specific drug? On the following pages, you’ll find a breakdown of some of the most popularly used illicit substances, including some real talk about what they look like, how they affect the mind and body, and what the risks of taking them are. Hopefully this list, which is made up of both cold hard scientific facts as well as personal experiences, can shed some light on drug use (and, of course, abuse) and how it might affect the lives of you and/or your friends and loved ones.

All that being said, AMY ROSE’S DRUG HEALTH AND SAFETY CLASS IS NOW IN SESSION, PEOPLE, SO LISTEN UP AND LISTEN GOOD, because there will be a test—it’s called life, and you need to be ready for it, because chances are you’ll encounter drugs at some point, if you haven’t already. Here’s the information you need to be prepared for when that happens.