The Most Addictive Drugs

Parents want to know: Which drugs should I be most concerned about my child using? This is a difficult question to answer because addiction is based on a complex blend of biological, social, and psychological factors, and different people are drawn to different drugs for a whole host of reasons. One person may get hooked on marijuana the first few times he uses it because it helps him relax and unwind, while another person may have no interest in the high marijuana produces, choosing to turn instead to methamphetamine or speed.

Despite the difficulty in determining which drugs are the most addictive, Dr. Jack E. Henningfield of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco attempted to define the most addictive drugs by ranking six psychoactive substances on the five criteria they found most applicable to addiction:

  1. Withdrawal – The severity of withdrawal symptoms produced by stopping the use of the drug.
  2. Reinforcement – The drug’s tendency to induce users to take it over and over again.
  3. Tolerance – The user’s need to have ever-increasing doses of the drug to get the same effect.
  4. Dependence – The difficulty in quitting, or staying off the drug, usually measured by the number of users who eventually become dependent.
  5. Intoxication – The degree of intoxication produced by the drug in typical use.

Learn which are the most addictive drugs >>

Teen Cell Phone Use: Friend or Foe?

It’s frustrating to friends, family, teachers, coworkers, customer service workers, police officers, government officials, and many others, yet we just can’t get enough of it: talking on a cell phone. American teens have managed to squeeze talk, text, and photo-message time into every minute of their days – they’re on the phone at Starbucks, when they order at restaurants, in line at the supermarket, at the gym, and on the road.

Today’s teens are accustomed to constant contact and information at their fingertips. A teenager without a cell phone is seen as a flashback to the Stone Age, as rare these days as a person with a cell phone just 10 years ago. In 2000, just 5 percent of 13- to 17-year olds had cell phones, compared to 56 percent today, according to Linda Barrabee, wireless market analyst for The Yankee Group. Most teens have their first cell phones by the age of 15, and in many cases as young as 13. Teens are particularly vulnerable to the cell phone craze because they are hypersensitive to the opinions of their peers and want desperately to fit in. And fitting in now requires teens to be instantly available to their friends.

The Potential for Abuse
Surveys by telephone service providers indicate that the vast majority (over 94 percent) of parents agree that cellular phones are good for teens. The peace of mind in knowing that your child is just a phone call away is priceless to most parents. But embracing the benefits of cell phones requires an awareness of the dangers that go along with it.

Continue reading about the potential for cell phone abuse