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January 22 through January 27 marks National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, which is a time for all teenagers to shatter myths about drugs and drug use. This national observance encourages community based events between teenagers and experts to address any questions or concerns they have about drugs and alcohol.
This year, the theme is Shatter the Myths - where science based information on drugs and alcohol are taught to teenagers. Teens will learn about the harmful impact that drugs and alcohol have on the body, thus, they will be able to make well informed decisions before engaging in risky behavior.
Did you know that about a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illegal drug sometime within the past year? More than 10 percent of high school seniors also report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In fact, more than 5 percent of high school seniors have reported to trying heroin, according to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
It's a known fact that drugs can put a teenager's health and life in jeopardy, but many teens are not aware of the risks. Today's pop culture is filled with inaccurate information about drugs and alcohol, often glorifying them instead of warning against them. Without a reliable source of information, teenagers often turn to the internet, television, or peers, and receive completely false information.
This false information about drugs and alcohol can have serious, and life-threatening consequences. For instance, the problem of addiction arises, as well as the alarmingly growing rate of overdoses. Research has shown that in 2014, there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths in the United States - 28,000 of them being directly related to prescription opioids and heroin.
In 2016, the rate jumped exponentially. More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, with half of the population overdosing on illicit drugs and prescription opioids. Experts say that this year, unfortunately the trend is continuing to rise, especially among younger people.
There is no one answer as to how to solve this growing drug problem, but with proper education, awareness, and knowledge, hopefully we as a society can change those statistics. Teenagers need to know that drugs and alcohol present real dangers, and they must know what those dangers are.
This week, let's join the movement and help to 'shatter the myths' about drugs and alcohol.