What is National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week and How You and Your Teen Can Get Involved
Teenagers are bombarded by myths about drugs and alcohol from all sorts of places – including their friends, social media, movies, music, and more. For example, teens may believe common misinformation such as:
MYTH: Alcohol isn’t as harmful as other drugs.
FACT: Alcohol increases your risk of many deadly diseases, such as cancer. Drinking too much alcohol too quickly can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can kill you. Alcohol can also alter brain development, potentially affecting both the brain’s structure and how well it processes information.
MYTH: Marijuana is not addictive.
FACT: The main active ingredient in marijuana, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), stimulates brain cells to release the chemical dopamine, which creates a feeling of pleasure. It is one of the main reasons people use marijuana again and again, which can lead to addiction. In fact, 1 in 6 people who start using marijuana in their teens will become addicted.
MYTH: Dextromethorphan (DXM) is an easy and safe way to get high since it is found in over-the-counter cough medicines.
FACT: When abused, DXM cans cause serious side effects. You have the power to ensure your teen knows the truth.
However, whether teens admit it or not, parents are one of their primary influencers when it comes to their decision making. In fact, teens who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use them. That’s why having honest conversations with your teen about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol can enable them to make smarter and more informed decisions.
Need a way to spark a conversation with your teen? Participate together in National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) – taking place March 22-28! Developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the week is dedicated to connecting teens with resources to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about alcohol and drug use.
Not sure how to get involved? We’ve rounded up five ideas for how you and your teen can participate in NDAFW:
- Test your own and your teen’s drug and alcohol IQ. Take this interactive Drug & Alcohol IQ Quiz and test your knowledge. Then, compare your results with your teen!
- Take the Drug Facts Challenge! To kick the action level up after the quiz, dive into the Drug Facts Challenge, a downloadable Jeopardy-style game that tests your (or your teen’s) know-how across five categories of substances.
- Encourage your teen to think about their mental health. Explore NIDA’s Nurturing My Mental & Emotional Health activity to help your teen find productive strategies to cope with stress and support mental health. For tips on nurturing your own emotional health, check out these tips from the Partnership to End Addiction on how to tame your own anxiety to be a good role model for your teen.
- Play the Kahoot! games. Your teen may be familiar with the Kahoot platform from interactive online classroom learning activities. There are multiple NIDA-created Kahoot! quizzes to choose from.
- Share the facts on social media. Follow NIDA on Facebook and Twitter and reshare content to your own social media profiles to spread the word and help to dispel the myths about drugs and alcohol.
- Plan an event. If you are looking for ways to connect with others in a virtual setting, consider planning a NDAFW! The NIDA website offers a bevy of resources about planning virtual events like Twitter Chats and Facebook Lives. You can get inspiration for planning an event, download posters and flyers, register your event and more.
Increased awareness can only mean increased prevention. Join us in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse by exploring and sharing our free resources.