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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week: Americans come together to fight misconceptions about drug and alcohol use

Dependence on drugs and alcohol has resulted in an epidemic that Americans are finding difficult to ignore. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), data collected in December 2016 revealed that more than 5 percent high school seniors misused prescription drugs, more than 20 percent smoked marijuana and almost 35 percent enjoyed alcohol.

The National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is being observed from Jan. 23, 2017 to Jan. 29, 2017 and is being used as an opportunity to spread awareness about effects of alcohol and drug use. Unlike other days and weeks observed to inform Americans about the ills of addiction, scientists at NIDA launched this week to help teens break through the misconceptions surrounding drug and alcohol use. The scientists also stressed the importance of educating American adolescents about the adverse effects of any kind of addiction and the science behind it to enable them to take better and more informed decisions.

Common myths regarding abuse

The common myths that drive teenagers to abuse alcohol are:

  • Drinking improves sexual performance
  • One can drink and still be in control
  • Drinking in excess during some occasions need not be dangerous
  • It does not take much time to sober up after drinking alcohol
  • The idea of reaching 21 years of age before taking the first drink is frivolous
  • One can drink and drive
  • Drinking beer is not dangerous as it contains less alcohol than hard liquor

The common myths that drive teenagers to abuse drugs are:

  • It is not difficult to rid oneself of the feeling of dependence resulting from drug use
  • People addicted to drugs can get rid of the habit whenever they want to
  • Addiction to drugs is the same as taking drugs
  • People who abuse drugs come from a weaker socio-economic background
  • Overdose or frequent use of prescription medicines does not result in feeling of dependence on drugs
  • Only hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, among others result in an addiction
  • Addiction is a moral failure, and hence, a cause for shame
  • Sharing about addiction problems with family and loved ones will only result in backlash
  • No treatment helps to get relief from addiction
  • Getting help from rehabilitation centers does not work
  • Relapse during the recovery process means utter failure in gaining sobriety

There is an imperative need to empower youth with the necessary information about substance abuse as lack of information regarding the same may lead to harmful results including:

  • Overindulgence in substance use
  • Strained relationships with families and friends
  • Mental health problems resulting from incessant drug use
  • Physiological disorders owing to hazardous effects of drugs
  • Tendency to overdose on addictive substances, at times, resulting in death

Numbers mirror a bleak future for American teenagers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealed that alcohol is the foremost choice of addictive substance abused by adolescents. The same is supported by figures published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting that on an average, underage drinkers consume a greater quantity of alcohol during each occasion involving drinks compared to adult drinkers.

The country’s ability to curb drug use among its teenage population seems to have missed its mark as most states have been unable to provide the necessary facilities to restrain its young population from abusing drugs. Implementation of evidence-based programs or facilities seems to have had no effect on prevention or alleviation of substance abuse among American teenagers.

A report published by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, suggests that roughly 60 percent of pregnant American teenagers had confessed to using one or more substances during the previous year. Abuse of substances, at times, continues through the entire gestation period, thus, raising the risk of infants being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Road to recovery

If you or your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the 24/7 Recovery Helpline can help you find the best drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 to know more about the drug rehab treatment centers in your vicinity. One may also chat online with our experts for necessary information about drug and alcohol addiction and get help with personalized care and programs.

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