Teenagers and scientists across the United States are taking part in “National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®
” March 22-28, 2021. The weeklong health observance is organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health. The goal of the observance is for teens to feel comfortable to ask questions about drugs and alcohol and to get scientific answers from experts.
While drugs can put a teenager’s health and life in jeopardy, many teens are not aware of the risks. Even for those teens who do not abuse drugs, many have friends or family who do, and they are often looking for ways to help them.
Let’s shatter three drug and alcohol myths according to NIDA!
- Myth: Cannabis is legal in California, so I shouldn’t worry if a teen is experimenting with cannabis use
Myth: White youth drink less alcohol than other groups their age.
- Fact: Cannabis can be addictive and can have long-term effects on teens’ brains, which are still developing. Studies have shown links between cannabis use and psychosis, anxiety and depression. These are important reasons why recreational use of cannabis is only legal for adults age 21 and over in California.
- FACT: A greater proportion of California students who are white report having consumed alcohol at least four times more.
Myth: Using tobacco is a normal part of growing up
- While substance use disorders are not more common in communities of color, people of color are less likely to access treatment. That’s because communities of color have faced longstanding discrimination, institutional racism and barriers to insurance coverage.
- Fact: Fewer than one in eight California students report using tobacco, so NOT smoking actually is far more popular.
“We want teens to have the opportunity to learn what science has taught us about drug and alcohol use, abuse and addiction,” said Lori Miller, Division Manager, Substance Use Prevention and Treatment, Sacramento County. “There are so many myths about drugs and alcohol cluttering our popular culture. National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® is for teens to get honest answers about drugs so they can make good, informed decisions for themselves and share accurate information with friends.”