A drug is any substance that causes a change in the way that a person's body or mind works.
Drugs come in many forms. They can be liquid or solid pills and come in lots of different colors. Depending on the type of drug, people can drink, eat or smoke them. Some drugs can be given directly into a person's vein.
Hundreds of years ago, early scientists discovered that certain plants had an affect on people, and the very first drugs were created from plants.
When they are used the right way, drugs are very helpful. They can get rid of a person's pain, help sick people to get better and can also keep people from getting sick. Nowadays, scientists work very hard to discover new drugs and also to find new ways to use drugs that have already been discovered.
Many drugs can be bought at the grocery store or at a pharmacy by anyone who is 18 years of age or older. These are called "over-the-counter" drugs. But, there are some drugs that have such a strong effect on the body or mind, that people need special permission from a doctor in order to buy them. Doctors gives permission and also instructions for how to take these drugs on a written sheet called a prescription.
A pharmacist reads the instructions on the prescription and then dispenses (or gives) the drugs to the sick person at a pharmacy. For drugs that children have to take, special flavors can be added to make them taste better so that they are easier to swallow.
When healthy people take drugs that they don't really need this is called drug abuse. When sick people take more of a drug than they are supposed to, this is also drug abuse. People can abuse both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Red Ribbon Week is a time to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
To download Red Ribbon Week activity sheets, enter to win cool prizes, or to take part in the week-long activities, visit the following sites: