Facts Week set to shatter myths around drug use

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the use and misuse of alcohol, nicotine, and illicit drugs, and misuse of prescription drugs cost Americans more than $700 billion a year in increased health care costs, crime, and lost productivity. Every year, illicit and prescription drug overdoses cause tens of thousands of deaths (nearly 70,000 in 2018), alcohol contributes to the death of more than 90,000 Americans, while tobacco is linked to an estimated 480,000 deaths per year.

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), March 22-28, begins several days of focus around battling misinformation about drug use and addiction, especially for teens.

The annual event links teens to facts that shatter the myths commonly associated with drug use.

The goal is bringing together scientists, students, educators, healthcare providers and community partners to help advance the science, to improve prevention and awareness of substance misuse in communities nationwide.

The annual event was launched in 2010 by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to stimulate educational events in communities so teens can learn what science has discovered about drug use and addiction.

During the week youth and adults will learn about things like consequences that occur when using drugs and alcohol, both short term and long term.

Short term

Short-Term Consequences of Intoxication (being “drunk”):

An intoxicated person has a harder time making good decisions.

A person is less aware that their behavior may be inappropriate or unsafe.

A person has a greater risk of being injured from falls or vehicle crashes.

A person may be more likely to engage in unsafe behavior, including drinking and driving.

A person is less likely to recognize potential danger.

Long term

Long-Term Consequences as the Teen Brain Develops:

Research suggests that drinking during the teen years could interfere with normal brain development and change the brain in ways that:

Have negative effects on information processing and learning.

Increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in life.

On March 23, at 10 a.m., an NDAFW webinar will be offered.

Register to view A Conversation About the Science of Substance Abuse at https://loom.ly/JN3U8JY.

Discussion participants include Dr. Brenda Curtis, a NIDA scientist; Dr. Terra Jones, a CVS Health pharmacist; and Palmer Williams, a first-year college student at Georgia State University.

Also, according to the NDAFW registry map, several registered events are scheduled in Oklahoma City and Holdenville.

Visit teens.drugabuse.gov for events, activities and resources about NDAFW.

For more information about youth alcohol and drug prevention, contact Gateway to Prevention and Recovery Youth Prevention Specialist Taylor Bivings at tbivings@gatewaytoprevention.org or call (405) 275-3391.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.