Guest Blog: Let’s Shatter the Myths
Myths about drugs and alcohol use are pervasive, and for young people, it can be challenging to separate fact from fiction. Responsibility.org’s innovative programs, such as Ask, Listen, Learn, are having a positive effect on encouraging kids to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking, and play a critical role in impacting the health and wellness of youth by helping them make choices about their health based on facts, not myths.
For example, popular culture can make smoking appear commonplace. But the reality is that fewer teens than ever before are smoking cigarettes. In general, young adults tend to perceive their peers as exhibiting higher rates of drug use than what is actually occurring. Data from the 2017 Monitoring the Future study, an annual survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders on their attitudes and behaviors regarding drug, alcohol and cigarette use, tells part of the promising story. Past-year misuse of prescription opioids among 12th graders has dropped dramatically in the past 15 years, from nearly 10 percent in 2002 to 2 percent in 2017. And according to data from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 1 in 100 young adults between the ages of 12 and 17 currently misuse prescription opioids.
Information is power. Let’s work together to arm youth with the scientific facts about drug and alcohol use to help them make smart decisions.
Youth and youth influencers have an opportunity to use the latest data like these to challenge young people’s misperceptions and promote a culture of knowledge about drug and alcohol use and its effects. It’s time to shatter these myths about drugs and alcohol to help teens make choices about their health based on the facts. I invite you to join me for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW), January 22-27, 2019, to help educate youth about the consequences of drug use on their brain, body and behavior.