Alcohol and drugs also affect the parts of the brain that deal with judgment, decision-making, problem-solving, emotions, learning, and memory.
They change how the cells in the brain send and process information.
For many young people, using alcohol, drugs, or other substances like cigarettes is just part of growing up.
Many of them try these substances only a few times and stop, while others may continue to use them on a more regular basis.
Young people may try a number of substances, including alcohol, household chemicals (inhalants), prescription and over-the-counter medicines, illegal drugs, and cigarettes. Marijuana is the illegal drug that young people use most often.
Young people use these substances for many of the same reasons that adults do—to relax or feel good.
Even casual use of certain drugs can cause severe health problems, such as an overdose or brain damage.
Many illegal drugs today are made in home labs, so they can vary greatly in strength.
With less of these chemicals, the brain can't function as well, and it becomes harder to feel pleasure.
So people use alcohol or drugs to get the good feeling back.