Childrens Place at the Heart of Recovery - A Program of Youth and Family Enrichment Services
Home
Who we are
Our programs
Our achievments
Meet our children
About addiction
Resources
Donate
Four Basic Stages of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use in Teens


Initial Use
The user learns he/she can produce euphoric feeling from using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Drugs of Choice:  Tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, other drugs.
Use:  Weekend or occasional use.
Behavior:  No obvious change in personality.

Regular Use
The user deliberately and actively seeks the "good feelings" produced by the alcohol or other drugs.
Drugs:  Alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, uppers and downers.
Use:  Moves from occasional weekend to every weekend.
Behavior:  Obvious changes in personality.  Lying, displays of anger, may be confrontational with
parents/adults, change in friends.  May lose interest in extracurricular activities.

Daily Use
Achieving the "high" is the sole obsession and preoccupation.
Drugs:  Alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, uppers, downers, LSD, Ecstasy, cocaine, heroin.
Use:  Daily, frequently during the day.  Solitary use. Overdoses occur.
Behavior:  Lying, stealing, problems with the law, job loss, failure at school, loss of original friends.
Depression, suicidal thoughts.

Complete Dependency
Increased levels of alcohol and/or other drugs are needed to start and finish the day.
Drugs:  Alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, uppers, downers, LSD/Ecstasy, cocaine, heroin.
Use:  Constant.  It is addiction.  Compulsive.  The user has no control over use at this point.  He or she
is addicted and requires intensive medical intervention.
Behavior:  Total deterioration of physical health.  Weight loss, chronic cough, and memory loss.
Blackouts, flashbacks, frequent feelings of helplessness.



NaCOA:  "A Family Guide"  Families and Communities Together