Tag Archives: NDAFW

Shatter The Myths® About Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction


The internet, social media, television, movies, and music have a lot to say about drugs, alcohol, and addiction. Unfortunately, sometimes the message isn’t clear, and information doesn’t always deal in fact. The above trend may not seem like that big a deal until you consider the misconceptions that teenagers and young adults walk away with regarding substance use.

In the 21st Century, young people have access to more media outlets than ever before. Theoretically, it should lead to such people having a more informed grasp on any given subject. In just a few moments, one could learn all there is to know about drug and alcohol use on the internet. Television shows air programs that highlight the symptoms of mental illness and the risks of substance abuse. While it’s nice that there is now a lot of buzz about the above subjects, the information projected into the minds of youths is rarely science-based.

Again, talking about drugs, alcohol, substance use disorder, and mental illness is, without any doubt, of the utmost importance. Young people should understand what’s at stake when experimenting with any mind-altering substance, from cannabis right on down to heroin. Right? A problem of concern arises when you look at surveys focusing on this subject matter, revealing that young people have a multitude of potentially dangerous mistaken beliefs.

Surveys, such as Monitoring the Future, often highlight that both adolescents and young adults are misinformed about addiction. It’s entirely critical that younger Americans grasp the risk of prescription drug use, for instance. Experts must reiterate the dangers of binge drinking and regular cannabis use. When people are uninformed about alcohol and substance use, they make decisions putting their life in jeopardy.

Young Americans Misguided Beliefs

Each year, high schools and colleges devote significant amounts of time and resources in educating young people about substance use. Such efforts have paid off in many ways, ever-declining rates of tobacco use are just one example. However, while it’s clear most young people understand the dangers of smoking, many do not seem to have a grasp on the risks of addiction. E-cigarette use is prevalent among young people. Cigarette use down, e-cig use up is just an example of mixed messaging and a demographics failure to grasp the implications of their behavior.

Young people with stimulant medications for ADHD regularly divert their Adderall and Ritalin to their peers. A large number of people don’t see the harm, saying to themselves, ‘if it’s safe for me to use, surely it’s safe for my friend.’ Prescription stimulants are not to be toyed with, both highly addictive and known to cause dangerous side effects. We are in the midst of a prescription drug use epidemic in the U.S., and yet drug diversion is a clear indicator that thousands of young Americans downplay the seriousness of the situation. Another reason why experts must appeal to young people with facts.

A plethora of teenagers and young adults still don’t see the harm of grabbing oxycodone from the family medicine chest. What’s worse, parents will sometimes divert their opioid meds to an injured son or daughter. The takeaway is that young people are not the only ones with misguided beliefs about drug use.

We could offer up a long list of examples highlighting the misunderstandings young Americans share, but it’s more salient to discuss how to inform such people better, instead.

Shatter The Myths® About Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction

This week, addiction and health experts around the country are observing National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®. Now in its 8th year, NDAFW brings young people together to get the facts on drugs, alcohol, and addiction. Scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are using this week to Shatter The Myths®.

Here are a few facts that should be of interest to young people:

  • The brain keeps developing well into a person’s 20s, and alcohol can alter this development, potentially affecting both the brain’s structure and its function.
  • Smoking THC-rich resins, known as “dabbing,” pacts so much of the psychoactive ingredient that young people regularly need emergency services.
  • More than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids every day. Nearly 23,000 people died in the United States from prescription opioid pain reliever overdoses in 2015.

Such facts are just some of the information experts are talking about with young people this week. In all 50 states, young people have an opportunity to get clarity on several subjects at community and school events. At NDAFW events, scientists and experts from several fields encourage teens to ask questions about how drugs affect the brain, body, and behaviors. Last year, 2174 events took place in the U.S.

Even if you are unable to host an event or attend one, you can still spread the word about NDAFW. You can partner with the NIH by giving a Shout Out on Social Media (tweet, blog, or update your Facebook status).

Addiction Treatment

When young people don’t have the facts about drugs and alcohol, they are more likely to start down a treacherous path. Young adults struggling with addiction today, more times than not, began using in high school. Many of them had no idea that their behavior was problematic, and would lead them to heartache. If you are a young adult male battling alcohol and substance use disorder, please contact PACE Recovery Center. Let NDAFW be the week you decide to stem the tide of addiction, and embrace recovery.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week 2017

drug and alcohol use

A large percentage of young adults who struggle with addiction began using drugs and alcohol when they were in high school. The reasons for substance initiation are varied. Sometimes use begins due to pressures from your peers (i.e. siblings, friends and older classmates). Others begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol because of something they saw in a movie or television show. Media outlets have a penchant for showing people drinking and drugging with a smile on their face, veritable pictures of conviviality.

People often gauge the risks and dangers of doing something based on inaccurate images presented to them, and there isn’t a law mandating that media always present the dangers of drug and alcohol use when they show characters engaging in such pastimes. More times than not, it seems, media outlets effectively glamorize substance use, painting pictures of people having fun while engaging in activities that can beget addiction down the road. While it is easy to say that movies and TV shows are works of fiction, not intended to be taken at face value—young people (it would appear) often struggle to differentiate between fact and fiction. Dangerous misconceptions, to say the least.

It isn’t that movies and television are completely off when they show alcohol and drugs being a good time. Anyone working a program of recovery can likely recall a time before they lost control of their substance use, before the transition into abuse when getting drunk or high went from being a choice, to a need that felt like life depended on it. While the majority of young people who experiment with mind-altering substances are able to skirt the hooks and snares of addiction, there is a significant number of individuals who are not so fortunate. Those whose causal alcohol and drug use in high school would soon end up morphing into full-blown addiction. Many of those same people’s use began with misrepresentations in the media, resulting in misconceptions in the mind.

That being said, it is vital that teenagers and young adults have all the facts, so that they can make informed decisions before they engage in substance use.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

Every January, the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) sponsors National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). The organization’s goal is to Shatter the Myths that young people have about drug and alcohol use. In partnership with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the two along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) help organize events in communities and schools across the country, which give young people an opportunity to speak with experts about drug and alcohol use. This year’s NDAFW is happening right now, ending on Sunday, January 29th.

While the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey shows that teen alcohol, cigarette and some other drug use has continued to drop in recent years, in order for the trend to continue persistence is required. Data indicates that among high school seniors, more than 5% misuse prescription drugs; more than 20% smoke marijuana, and 35% use alcohol in the past year. It is likely that those same young adults who reported past year use, do not have all the facts regarding these behaviors. Both NIDA and NIAAA believe, when given information about how drugs affect the brain, body, and behaviors—young people will make different choices.

Please watch a short video about National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week:

If you are having trouble seeing the video, please click here.

If you are interested in taking part in NDAFW, please visit the website. There you can find the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz, the Drugs: SHATTER THE MYTHS booklet and a number of other valuable resources.

Young People In Recovery

If you began using drugs and alcohol in high school, which resulted in addiction as a young adult, please contact PACE Recovery Center. Recovery is possible, and there are many young people dedicated to working a program every day of the week. The sooner the problem is addressed, the sooner you can begin working towards a future free from the deadly symptoms of addiction.

At PACE, we specialize in treating young adult males who have been impacted by drugs and alcohol. Our qualified staff can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction, and learn how to live a healthy, balanced life.

Shatter the Myths of Drugs and Alcohol

In January, two NIH institutes will be coming together to talk to young people about drugs and alcohol. Teenagers and young adults often have misconceptions about the effects of substance use in both the short and long term; educating them is of the utmost importance and may save lives down the road. Sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) will occur between Jan. 25-31, 2016.

We are delighted that we can now fully focus on the scientific facts about alcohol as well as other drugs that are popular among teens,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “This partnership will allow teachers and other organizers to create events that are tailor-made for the specific issues in their communities by accessing links to the needed resources for drugs and alcohol all in one place.”

Just as NIAAA and NIDA scientists routinely collaborate on many issues of common concern, it’s vital that we join together in this effort to ensure that young people get the facts about how alcohol and drugs can affect them, both in the short-term and over their lifetime,” said NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D.

NDAFW was first launched in 2010, and last year there were more than 1,500 events in all 50 states. There is an online toolkit available that serves as a guide for people who would like to set up an event. The toolkit advises teens and their adult coordinators on how to:

  • Create an Event
  • Publicize an Event
  • Find an Expert
  • Obtain Scientific Information on Drugs

We are not powerless when it comes to drug and alcohol use among young people. We know that preventing substance use before it begins is the most cost-effective approach to reduce substance use and its consequences,” said White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Michael Botticelli. “By raising awareness and educating young people and their families, we can help reduce drug use and the number of people affected by substance use disorders.”


If you or a loved one has is struggling with addiction, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

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