National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week – January 22- 29, 2019
Teens are exposed to countless messages about drugs and alcohol through TV, movies, music, the Internet, social media and friends. Many of those messages aren’t accurate. In response, The National Institute on Drug Abuse launched National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week in 2010 to educate teens about the myths and facts surrounding drugs and alcohol, in hopes of preventing addiction. Events are held in communities across the country and online. Below are some common myths to share with teens you know.
MYTH: Marijuana isn’t addictive.
FACT: Yes. Not everyone who uses marijuana will become addicted, but 1 out of 11 people will. That number increases to 1 in 6 if you begin using in your teens and goes up even higher if you use marijuana on a daily basis.
MYTH: Marijuana isn’t harmful because it’s “natural.”
FACT: Just because it’s a plant doesn’t mean it’s not harmful to your body. Tobacco is also “natural” and we all know the dangers of that. Did you know, if you smoke a lot of marijuana as a teen, you can actually can lose IQ points that you can’t get back?
MYTH: E-cigarettes are a safe alternative to regular cigarettes.
FACT: E-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which is addictive, and other chemicals that can harm your body.
MYTH: Prescription drugs are safer than other drugs because they are prescribed by doctors.
FACT: No drug is safe when it’s misused. Prescription drugs can be highly addictive, especially opioids. More people die from prescription opioid pain reliever overdoses than from heroin and cocaine combined.
MYTH: It is safe to drive after using marijuana.
FACT: “Drugged driving” is just as dangerous as drunk driving. It isn’t safe to drive with any substance in your system that alters your state-of-mind (stimulants, sedatives, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, etc.). Substances can alter your reaction time and impair your thinking, increasing your risk of being involved in an accident.
MYTH: Underage drinking isn’t a big deal; everyone does it.
FACT: Not everyone does drink before the legal age of 21 and it is dangerous. In the US, 4,300 people under the age of 21 die each year; many as a result of car crashes and other accidents. Those who drink underage are also more likely to binge drink, which increases the risk of alcohol poisoning.
Test your knowledge and take the National Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz.
Sources: Facts for this blog were compiled from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Center for Disease Control.
The holiday season is upon us. Before you know it, college kids will be coming home and gathering around the Thanksgiving dinner table, but where are they the night before?
Many young adults choose to spend Thanksgiving eve catching up with old friends at the local bars. In fact, it has become one of the biggest drinking days of the year; some refer to it as Black Wednesday, Blackout Wednesday and Drinksgiving. As a result, Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest holidays to be on the road. According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), between 2012 and 2016, more than 800 people were killed by drunk drivers during the Thanksgiving long weekend (Wednesday evening to early Monday morning).
Even if a person is responsible enough to avoid driving while under the influence, it doesn’t mean they are out of harm’s way. Many young people binge drink, especially during the holidays. Binge drinking is defined as consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. A binge is typically four drinks for a woman and five drinks for a man within two hours. The difference is due to the fact that men are typically larger than women, so their bodies metabolize the alcohol differently.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports binge drinking is most common among people ages 18 to 34, however, those under 21 who reported binge drinking drank larger quantities during the binge. The large quantities of alcohol put a person at risk for alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly if not treated promptly. The high levels of alcohol in the body can cause a person to stop breathing and shut down their gag reflex, which can cause a person to choke if they vomit. If you notice a person has slow or irregular breathing, acts confused or cannot be roused, call 911 and get them to the emergency room immediately.
Dangers of Binge Drinking
Besides alcohol poisoning, there are other dangers associated with binge drinking that you might not think of. Here is a list compiled by the CDC:
We don’t want to put a damper on your holiday festivities, but we want everyone to be safe. As MADD and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, “Make It to the Table: Don’t Drink and Drive this Thanksgiving Eve!”