National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week – January 25 – 31, 2016

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Institute on Drug Abuse for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Did you know that it’s National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week?. It’s an annual, week long (January 25 – 31, 2016) observance that unites teenagers and scientific experts to help SHATTER THE MYTHS about substance abuse and addiction. The event is sponsored 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.

I was unaware that National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW) has been going on annually since 2010.

Since National Drug and Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW) began in 2010, its community based programs and events have increased dramatically with more than 1,500+ events held last January (2015) across the country. The events help to bring together teenagers and scientists to discuss the myths about drug and alcohol that teenagers hear about from their friends, social media, movie, television and music. These events are a safe place for teens to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without judgment or lectures.

As a parent to two teenagers, I know first hand what types of thing they are hearing about drugs and alcohol from their friends, classmates and the worse culprit – social media. My daughter and I have conversations all the time about marijuana (specifically) and alcohol. Sadly she has friends who use (and abuse) marijuana and alcohol on a regular basis. She seems to feel that marijuana is perfectly harmless, and that it only gives you a feeling of euphoria for a little while, then it goes away. While that may be true in some cases, there ARE negative side effects to using pot. She’s only going by what she’s heard and what her pot smoking friends tell her.

This is a perfect example of one of the myths that need to be shattered. Alcohol is another “issue” we discuss on a regular basis. Most of my daughter’s friends drink when they go to parties, which is why we DON’T let her go to them. I don’t want her put in that kind of a situation. She knows about peer pressure, and she’s not as “strong” as she thinks and we (my husband and I) worry that in the wrong situation she will cave in and drink, even though she knows she’s not allowed to.

It scares me when I think about all the myths about drug and alcohol use that teenagers are bombarded with on a daily basis. They THINK they know the truth – but they don’t.

Take the IQ Challenge!
NIDA created the “National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge” for both teens and adults to test their knowledge about drugs. It’s a quick quiz with only 12 questions. Parents can also use the IQ Challenge to segue into a conversation with their teen about drugs and alcohol.
I would like to think that I am knowledgeable about drugs and alcohol, so I was surprised by how many answers on the IQ Challenge that I got wrong. I had my teenage daughter take the quiz too and she got more wrong answers than I did. There are also a few that she felt were inaccurate but I told her these answers are based on facts, so that really surprised her. Hopefully it’s an “eye opener” for her.
From one parent to another, I urge you to take the quiz for yourself and have your ‘tween and teen take it as well, then discuss the answers. There is no wrong time to discuss drug and alcohol with your children – except AFTER they are caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing.
You can also use the “Family Checkup” resource to help you with the skills you need to keep your children drug-free.
If you know a teen who is abusing drugs and need help please visit this resource – What to do if your teen has a problem with drugs.
Are you the parent of a teen or soon to be teen? Have you had talks with your child about drug and alcohol?

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.