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NOPE Task Force – Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education

Gateway Drugs


  • Smoking, chewing and dipping all involve the use of nicotine.
  • The nicotine in tobacco is one of the most addictive of drugs.
  • Long-term use of tobacco often results in high blood pressure, heart attack, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema and or cancer of the lungs, throat and mouth.


  • Like cocaine or marijuana, alcohol is a drug. It can alter moods, cause changes in the body and become habit-forming.
  • The most widely used drug among teenagers, and Americans in general, is alcohol.
  • Drinking is the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer.
  • Alcohol is a factor in well over half of the fire deaths, drowning, injuries traffic fatalities and murders in the U.S.
  • Long-term use of alcohol can result in loss of memory, high blood pressure, enlarged heart, liver ailments (severe swelling, hepatitis, and cirrhosis), impotency and ulcers, as well as alcoholism.


  • Today's marijuana is 10-20 times more potent than that used in the 1960's.
  • The active ingredient in marijuana (THC) accumulates in the body.
  • It takes 3-6 weeks for the body to get rid of the chemicals in just one marijuana joint. Those who smoke more continue to build up these chemicals.
  • Long-term use of marijuana can adversely affect the lungs, heart, brain reproductive system, and the body's immune response to infections and disease.
  • The younger the user, the more damaging the effects.
  • It is rare for younger people ever to use any other illegal drug without having first used marijuana.