If you take a drug one time and one time only, then you will not become addicted. The problem is that there is a lot we still don't know about who becomes addicted and why, and how much drug exposure it takes. We do know that each person is different, so it's a little like playing “Russian Roulette” if you choose to use drugs. But, if you do, the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the harmful brain changes that lead to it.
The short answer is that drugs alter your perceptions and your judgment. Different drugs do this in different ways. Some drugs make you overconfident, and some drugs decrease your ability to pay attention to the things going on around you, even when those events are critical to your health and safety (like seeing a red light while driving). Other drugs, like LSD, can change your perceptions so much that you can't recognize people and things in your environment at all.
When alcohol and drugs are readily available at parties, you may feel peer pressure to use them as a way to fit in. Here are some tips on staying safe when you party:
The cool crowds are the people who appreciate you for who you are, not for what you do or don't do.
Here are some ways that you can protect yourself from being given drugs without your knowledge:
You can do some key things to stay off drugs. Three big ones are:
1.) Avoid situations where there are likely to be drugs, if possible, and instead do activities that are enjoyable and drug free.
2.) Hang out with people that don't use drugs
3.) Say 'no thanks' when offered drugs.
If you are in recovery, you know all too well that drugs cause many more problems than they solve, and keeping yourself clean can be a day-to-day or minute-to-minute fight. But it is a fight you can win. It is important to remember that just because you have the urge to use drugs, it doesn’t mean you need to, and that urges do pass. If you or someone you know are having a hard time staying off drugs, it is very important to get help. Remember—treatment works!
Many drugs lose their effectiveness if you keep taking them. A person is becoming tolerant to a drug when they have to take more of it or take the same dose more frequently, to get the same effect as they got at first. For example, if you take a decongestant for a cold over several days, the effective time becomes shorter and shorter. Similarly, if you take opiate medications to control pain, you may need to take more to achieve the same level of pain control. In such a case, developing tolerance does not mean that you are addicted to the drug.
An overdose is when someone takes too much of a drug or medication, causing serious, harmful symptoms or even death. If someone takes too much of something on purpose to commit suicide, for example, it is called an intentional or deliberate overdose. If the overdose happens by mistake, it is called an accidental overdose. For example, a teenager might try to get high by taking a parent’s prescription opioid painkiller and end up in the emergency room—or worse. More overdose deaths are caused by people abusing prescription opioids than by any other drug, including heroin or cocaine.
*If you think you or someone else has overdosed on a drug, you should always call 911 immediately.
*If it is not an emergency but you would like information, you can call the National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. It is a free and confidential service. You should call if you have any questions about an overdose, poisoning, or poison prevention. You can call for any reason, 24/7.
If you are asking this question, it shows that you are a caring friend, and that is probably the most important way you can support your friend. There are lots of other ways that you can support him/her too. One is to help your friend avoid situations where there’s a possibility that he/she could relapse and go back to using. Go with your friend to places that are drug and alcohol free rather than to parties where there are likely to be drugs.
The following questions can help you know whether you are addicted to drugs. Do you:
If you answer yes to several of the above, then chances are, you are addicted. We don't really know or understand who becomes addicted and why, or how much drug exposure it takes. Each person is different. But the longer someone takes drugs, the more likely it is that he/she will become addicted and suffer long-term, harmful brain changes.
Science has shown that the earlier a person starts using drugs, the more likely he/she is to become addicted and suffer serious social and medical consequences. The reasons are complex. First, drugs affect the brain, and the brain is still maturing when a person is young—until early adulthood in fact. Thus, drugs can alter normal brain development. Second, people who use drugs when they are very young often have other problems that led to their drug use in the first place. For example, they may have difficult family situations or problems with depression or anxiety and use drugs to help them cope. Unfortunately, drug abuse just makes things worse in the long run and does not fix these problems. Third, using drugs can interfere with success in school, in sports, and in relationships with friends and family, creating more problems down the road.
Since early drug use can lead to later drug addiction and other problems, the best advice is not to even experiment with drugs. However, if someone is already using a drug, he/she should know that the earlier he/she stops, the more likely he/she is to avoid addiction and the other bad consequences associated with it.
Whether doing one drug will lead to doing another depends on each individual person. For example, some people who use marijuana do not go on to abuse other illicit drugs, but most people who abuse other drugs have previously used marijuana. Basically, being exposed to peers who use drugs, having greater access to drugs, and having problems in the first place that led to the initial drug use could all make other drug use more likely.