Substance Abuse and Mental Health
As a young adult, this may be the first time you will be responsible for your own healthcare decisions, including dealing with mental health issues such as addiction, anxiety, ADHD, or depression. One in five adolescents has had a serious mental health disorder at some point in their life. Depression, mental health disorders, and substance abuse disorders are major risk factors for suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact a mental health professional or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Many colleges also offer free counseling or referral services to enrolled students free of charge.
Alcohol. While drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is prohibited in Kentucky (and all 50 states), it is likely that your exposure to alcohol will increase now that you are an adult. In addition to criminal consequences, young adults who drink put themselves at risk of injury or death from alcohol poisoning or alcohol-related accidents. One in seven drivers ages 16-20 involved in fatal car crashes in 2016 had alcohol in their systems.
Tobacco. As with alcohol, the age to buy tobacco products has recently been raised from 18 to 21. There are multiple characteristics and risks associated with tobacco use, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking damages nearly every organ of the body, and nicotine is a highly addictive drug that affects users on a cellular level, making the addiction difficult to overcome, regardless of age. www.betobaccofree.gov has more information from the HSS regarding tobacco use.
Issues with prescription medications. This may also be the first time you are responsible for filling and monitoring your own prescriptions. Some prescriptions, particularly for pain treatment, may be highly addictive. The non-medical use of certain painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, is illegal. It is also against the law to possess certain prescription drugs that are prescribed for someone else. The non-medical use of someone else’s prescription drugs can be just as dangerous and illegal as using street drugs, and both can lead to overdose or death. If you are concerned about substance misuse or abuse, you may call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s National Helpful at 1-800-662-HELP.Steroids. The use of steroids to increase strength or growth can cause serious health problems. All non-medical use of anabolic steroids is illegal. Steroids can keep teenagers from growing to their full height; they can also cause heart disease, stroke, and damaged liver function. People using steroids and other dietary supplements may develop fertility problems, personality changes, and acne. Men can also experience balding and development of breast tissue. These health hazards are in addition to the civil and criminal penalties for the sale, use, or exchange of anabolic steroids.