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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.

Good Outcomes Are Contingent On Adequate Treatment Length

While every addiction treatment center has varying program lengths, it is generally agreed that the longer somebody with a substance use disorder stays in treatment – the better the outcome will be after discharge. After years of substance misuse and abuse, developing the skills necessary for long-term recovery will not happen overnight. Early recovery is a fragile time, clients are extremely vulnerable to relapse; longer time periods in treatment will protect clients from the pressures and temptations of the outside world.

Not surprisingly, on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website the organization states that less than 90 days in treatment for addiction is of limited effectiveness, and “research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length.” NIDA is a federal government agency, one that lawmakers turn to when making decisions regarding addiction treatment in the United States.

This week, the governing body of Medicaid proposed to cover 15 days of inpatient rehab per month for anyone enrolled in a managed care plan, NPR reports. While the proposal is a step in the right direction and one that would take some of the fiscal burden off state and local mental health agencies, there are a number of experts in the field of addiction medicine that say 15 days is not enough.

“Where they came up with the 15 days, I don’t know, but it’s not based on research,” says Mike Harle, head of the nonprofit treatment program in Pennsylvania.

In the past, people battling addiction had to rely entirely upon state and local sources, so when the federal government offers to chip in, it is a sign of changes for the better. However, after 15 days a client is just beginning to come out of the cloudy state of detoxification and it is when the real work begins with regard to learning how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol. Even treatment facilities that offer a thirty-day program will almost always strongly encourage clients to enroll in either inpatient or outpatient extended care program. Clients who opt against taking such advice put themselves at great risk of relapse.

There has been limited funding for researching what the optimal length of an inpatient treatment, with regard to how effective the outcome will be, according to Dr. Jeffrey Samet, a professor at Boston University’s Clinical Addiction research unit. He adds that without such data, private insurance fluctuates with how many days of treatment they will cover.

At PACE Recovery Center we offer extended residential care for men only – gender specific treatment, additionally we also have an intensive outpatient program and transitional living program. We are happy to work with our clients and/or their families to verify insurance benefits and coverage.

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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