It seems like there’s something in the news every week about drugs and alcohol, be it the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic, the debate about the legalization of marijuana, or a story about a crash caused by a drunk driver. Our impressionable teens are inundated with this stuff more so than we are, since they’re up against peer pressure in addition to everything coming at them through the media.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Institute on Drug Abuse. All opinions are 100% mine.
National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW) runs January 22nd through the 28th this year, and its sole purpose is to bring teens and experts together to debunk myths about substance use and addiction. Because teens get a lot of misinformation online, on TV, in movies, through music and friends, there’s a lot of damage to undo in only one week’s time. Community-based, SHATTER THE MYTHS® events taking place during NDAFW create a safe place for teens to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without judgment or lectures.
You can get involved in a few really easy ways. Start by downloading the Drugs: Shatter the Myths booklet for free. It answers teens’ most frequently asked questions and shares insight on both drug and alcohol facts.
A more interactive resource is the “National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge.” It’s a 12-question, multiple choice quiz that anyone can take to test his or her knowledge about drugs. Take it for yourself, and use the results to start a conversation with your teen. I thought I knew it all, yet I scored an 8 out of 12. I actually was happy to learn I was wrong about a few things, like the number of teens drinking alcohol these days. Still other answers were a little discouraging and proved I need to brush up on my facts!
The “Family Checkup” resource is really helpful and covers any wall you may come up against when communicating with your teen. It gives parents research-based skills to help keep kids drug-free. It’s comprised of several questions like, “Are you able to calmly set limits when your teen is defiant?” If your answer is no, the site gives you tons of practical advice (including videos) for how to stay calm and successfully set limits.
Here are a few Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know:
Teens are more likely to use marijuana than cigarettes. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most high school seniors don’t see marijuana use as being very harmful, but they disapprove of using it regularly.
Nearly 1 in 3 high school seniors say they’ve used e-vaporizers in the past year, raising concerns about long-term health effects.
Misuse of all prescription opioids among 12th graders has dropped dramatically, despite high overdose rates in adults.
What to do if your teen has a problem with drugs:
If you think your teen has a problem with drugs or alcohol, ask a professional for help. You can either bring your child to a doctor to be screened for signs of drug use and related health conditions (verify that the doctor is skilled in these areas before making the appointment.), or you can contact an addiction specialist directly. There are 3,500 board-certified physicians who specialize in addiction in the United States. Click here to find one near you.
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Take the National Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge
Learn more about National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week