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Ohana Sessions /
July 13, 2023

The Power of Addiction

What happens inside our brains when we do drugs or abuse alcohol?

I invited certified drug prevention specialist Ray Lozano to my Live Ohana Event to teach us about what addictive substances do to our brains. Ray has educated and entertained thousands of students at hundreds of schools across the country since 1986. While he has a background in stand up comedy, his experience working at the Teen Change Ministry Institute showed him how drugs and alcohol can damage young adults and their futures. This prompted him to become a drug and alcohol counselor for the State of California and a program specialist for very successful youth prevention program known for Level-A teaching. He works to showcase alternative choices to teens.

Ray kept us laughing and used many interesting statistics and stories to help us understand the dangers of addictive substances.

I found it super interesting that the frontal lobes of our brains aren’t developed until 21 for girls and 23 for guys. Because of this, it’s impossible to see danger prior to age 21. Our frontal lobes don’t fully realize and identify danger – it often looks good to us when we should run away from it.

This is one reason that so many teens become addicted in the first place. Then once they start, it’s incredibly difficult to stop.

Why? It only takes 2 days to become addicted. Nicotine, for example, is the strongest type of poison that a plant can produce. This has a horrifying effect on our brain. Ray explained that nicotine (and other drugs) hit the ‘go button’ in our brains, but don’t allow ‘stop button’ in our brains to be pushed.

Here’s a clip of Ray sharing more about this:

Weed also goes into our brains and mixes up all of the info we store there. According to Ray, our minds have the capacity to hold the information of 10 billion iPhones and all this info gets organized in various categories or behind different “doors”. When you smoke weed, suddenly the door in your brain that says “friend’s names” might open to your family’s names or the names of your favorite songs instead. Everything will become quite confusing!

Maybe weed isn’t as hard core as fentanyl and might not kill you the first time, but it will slowly destroy your drive for life. I’ve watched this happen to many incredible surfers that I know. I smelled weed almost every time I went out in the water as a girl. It was so sad for me to see these amazingly talented girls & guys completely loose their potential and ambition.

Life is made up of decisons and choices along the way. One poor choice can drastically alter the trajectory of your life.

Think about the motivation behind making these decisions. I believe that ultimately this world is not perfect and we often look for “fixes” that will help us cope with, forget, or drown out the broken parts of the world.

Drugs and alcohol may make us feel better in the short term, but they will be very damaging in the long term. Constantly looking for temporary joy ultimately robs us from true life. Instead, we have to look to the Lord to find true Joy! In Him we have life and life to the full!

Substances will pull you down. His love and truth lifts you up.

“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:11

I encourage you to say, “no” to drugs and alcohol and instead say, “yes” to pursuing all the good and beautiful things around you!

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