This March 21st marks the 12th National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, first launched in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The purpose of this week is to counteract the myths that youth get from the Internet, television, movies, music, or friends, and replace those myths with scientific facts about drug abuse and addiction. The more informed our youth are about substances and the negative impact those substances can have on their lives, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors. “Shatter the Myths” is a free NIDA publication that parents can use to talk to their kids about substance abuse, and can be found for download at www.drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s “Family Checkup” is a wealth of information relevant to parenting skills that help prevent the initiation and progression of youth drug use. Topics include clear communication about relationship issues, encouraging positive behaviors on a daily basis, negotiating emotional parent/teen conflicts and working toward a solution, setting limits when behavior ranges from defiant or disrespectful to more serious problem behavior, monitoring teens to assure that they are not spending too much time unsupervised, and knowing your child’s friends. Visit www.drugabuse.gov/family-checkup to access these tips and to view video clips that display positive and negative examples of the skills, as well as additional videos to help parents practice positive parenting skills.
According to the local Allegany County data from the 2021 Risk and Protective Factor Survey, 12th graders reported the following related to 30-day substance abuse. 74.1% had NOT used alcohol; 95.9% had NOT used traditional cigarettes; 72.4% had NOT used e-cigarettes; and 84.1% had NOT used marijuana. We can all do our part by supporting our youth, getting the facts, and reminding them that NOT all youth are using substances, which is a popular myth among this population.
Remember, Prevention Works!