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Substance use prevention: other substances and drugs

Marijuana in Indiana: 22.7% of college students and 16.4% of high school students report current use.
Opioids in Indiana. 8.8% of 18- to 25-year olds misused a prescription pain reliever in the past year and 1.3% used heroin.
Stimulants in Indiana: 5.7% of 18- to 25-year olds used cocaine in the past year and 1.2% used methamphetamine.

Health risks

  • Marijuana
    • Permanent IQ loss as much as eight points
    • Respiratory illness
    • Effects on physical timing, movement and coordination
    • Effects on driving: slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination and difficulty reacting
    • Use during pregnancy may cause fetal growth restriction, premature birth, stillbirth and problems with brain development
    • THC and other chemicals can pass from mother to baby through breast milk
    • Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome: repeated, severe bouts of vomiting
  • Opioids – Includes prescription pain medications, fentanyl and heroin
    • Drowsiness, confusion and depression
    • Nausea, vomiting and constipation
    • Slowed breathing and hypoxia (too little oxygen reaching the brain)
    • Interactions with other medications
    • Use during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, low birth weight and neonatal abstinence syndrome
    • Overdose can stop a person’s breathing, leading to death
    • Long term risks of heroin use
      • insomnia
      • collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
      • damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
      • infection of the heart lining and valves
      • abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
      • constipation and stomach cramping
      • liver and kidney disease
      • lung complications, including pneumonia
      • mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
      • increased risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis C for people use inject drugs
  • Stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine)
    • Psychological effects: hallucinations, delusions, persistent anxiety, paranoia, depression
    • Extreme weight loss, gastrointestinal problems, muscle deterioration
    • Chronic exhaustion
    • Cardiovascular damage
    • Breathing problems
    • Cerebral hemorrhage
    • Stroke
    • Seizure

Parent questions

  • What should I do if my child eats something containing marijuana or cannabis?
    • National Poison Control helpline: 800-222-1222
    • According to the U.S. Federal Drug Administration, it is important to protect children from accidental ingestion of cannabis and cannabis-containing products. FDA recommends that these products are kept out of reach of children to reduce the risk of accidental ingestion. If the parent or caregiver has a reasonable suspicion that the child accidentally ingested products containing cannabis, the child should be taken to a physician or emergency department, especially if the child acts in an unusual way or is/feels sick.
    • For more information about marijuana edibles and children, see this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics.