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Psychoactive substances and

new technologies abuse in

children and adolescents
Lenka Chudomelova
Department of Child and Youth Health
3rd Faculty of Medicine


Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances

that affect the brain functioning, causing
changes in behavior, mood and consciousness.

Commonly abused drugs

Cannabinoids: hashish, marijuana
Depressants: barbiturates, BZD
Dissociative anesthetics: ketamine, phencyclidine
Hallucinogens: LSD, mescaline, psilocybin
Opioids: codeine, fentanyl, heroin, morphine, opium
Stimulants: amphetamine, methamphetamine,

cocaine, nicotine

Other compounds: anabolic steroids

Why do people take drugs?

To feel good

drugs produce intense feelings of pleasure

euphoria is followed by other effects, which
differ with the type of drug used
stimulants (cocaine): the high is followed by
feelings of power, self-confidence, and
increased energy
opiates (heroin): feelings of relaxation and

Why do people take drugs?

To feel better

To do better

social anxiety
stress-related disorders
improve their athletic or cognitive performance

Curiosity and because others are doing it

strong influence of peer pressure

Early signs of risk in the family

lack of mutual attachment and nurturing by
parents or caregivers
ineffective parenting
a chaotic home environment
lack of a significant relationship with a caring
a caregiver who abuses substances, suffers
from mental illness, or engages in criminal

Risk factors outside the family

inappropriate classroom behavior, such as
aggression and impulsivity
academic failure
poor social coping skills
association with peers with problem behaviors,
including drug abuse
misperceptions of the extent and acceptability of
drug-abusing behaviors in school, peer, and
community environments

Drug abuse/substance abuse

compulsive, excessive, and self-damaging

use of habit forming drugs or substances,
leading to:

addiction or dependence
serious health damage (kidneys, liver, heart)
psychological harm (such as dysfunctional
behavior patterns, hallucinations, memory

Drug addiction/drug dependence

compulsive craving for a drug which offers

short-term intense relief/pleasure

rapid induction of emotional state individuals
normally are not able to experience

Development of addiction

1st stage = FIRST CONTACT

mostly in a group as a unique episode
experience of belonging to a particular
group or culture


a positive experience from the first contact
often motivates uncertain and anxious
children to continue

Development of addiction

3rd stage = USAGE, restful phase

trigger point (conflict, trauma)

because of the positive effect the child often regularly
drug becomes part of their social life - perceived as
the best period of his/her life ever
evolves into compulsive patterns of substance-seeking
and substance-taking behavior that take place at the
expense of most other activities
somatic complaints begin to appear, breaking promises,
increasing need for money, occasional absence
following weekend trips, late arrivals home,
deterioration of relations in the family and at school,
loss of friends

Development of addiction

3rd stage = USAGE, problematic/advanced

develops after a few months rather years of usage
cumulating problems

loss of control over drug use, desire to confide

loss of hobbies, lack of interest in school, work, family
conflicts and theft
serious health problems

young person perceives problems and tries to prove he's

got a control
5 10 days sober establish him falsely in his view
within next years the head currently runs two programs
program of a drug and program of abstinence

Development of addiction

4th stage = ADDICTION

unconditional loss of control over life
drug brings nothing positive
loss of dignity
destruction of the closest relations
delusion and inability to perceive reality
loss of lust for life
difference between problematic usage and
doses of the drug
ability to admit the addiction

Development of addiction

5th stage = QUITTING

never ending stage

life will never be as friendly as with the drug
experiencing pain
high motivation
great social support

ESPAD 2011 - Alcohol

ESPAD = The Europian School Survey Project on
Alcohol and Other Drugs

1,6 %
60,0 %

strict nondrinkers
regular consumers

! Risk alcohol consumption rising !

Example: drunkennes during last month admitted

37% of 16 year old:

1/5 three times during the past month

5% ten times

ESPAD 2011 - Illegal drugs

experience with:

cannabis .......................... 42%

ecstasy ............................ 8,3%
hallucinogens .................. 5,6%

first experience in younger age

girls prefer to experiment with amphetamines
and sedatives

Consumption of tobacco, alcohol and

drugs in CR

one of the leading positions in Europe


high tolerance to consumption

physical and financial accessibility even for children and
influence of media (celebrities)
commercial interests
role models in the family
lack of control mechanisms and sanctions

slot machines
electro roulette
common cause

lack of money (allowance)

lack of hobbies
peer influence

Virtual reality
internet addiction
computer games
completely identical problems as in drug

Prevention principles

prevention programes should enhance protective

factors and reduce risk factors (Hawkins et al.
prevention programes should address all forms of
drug abuse (legal, illegal drugs, inappropriate use
of legally obtained substances (Johnston et al.
prevention programes should address the type of
drug abuse problem in the local community
(Hawkins et al. 2002)
prevention programes should be tailored to
address risks specific to population characteristics
like age, gender, ethnicity (Oetting et al. 1997)

Risk factors x protective factors


Risk facto rs


Earl y Ag g ress iv e

Individ u al

Lack of P a rent a l
Supervi s ion

Fa m ily

Parent a l


Acad e mi c

Substance Abuse

Drug Av a ilab ili t y


Impuls e Contr o l


Antidrug Us
Polic ies

Communi t y


Examples of preventive interventions

Prior to birth

preventing/delaying pregnancy in young and vulnerable

antenatal health service
antenatal educational courses/home visitation

Examples of preventive interventions

Early childhood

school preparation programes

school-based drug education
parent education
family therapy

Examples of preventive interventions


school-based drug education

peer intervention, peer eduaction
youth sport and recreation programs
employment and training

Examples of preventive interventions

Community based prevention

education campaignes
homelessness strategies
crime prevention
regulation and law enforcement
judicial procedures
harm-reduction strategies (I.e. low threshold centers)

How to say NO


an important communication skill

learn to reject things that are not right for him based on his
ability to say no can save the child from the very first contact
with the drug


child should perceive that he is a unique human being

child with an adequate self-esteem would not use drugs to
confirm his confidence in relation to peers

NIDA: Preventing drug use among children and
adolescents. (A research-based guide for parents,
educators and community leaders. Second edition.)