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Shattering 3 Myths About Teen Drug Use

Cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol use being safe for teens is always a myth.

For a solid seven days each January, National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week aims to set the record straight about drug use through education. Pop up events and community gatherings led by local government leaders and addiction specialists increase awareness about current trends in substance abuse, dispel common myths about drug use and reassure those struggling that rehab is worth every penny.

Teen drug use is a key topic of each event, and this year’s presentations covered new drugs adolescents use, perceived risk surrounding common substances and more. Since young people’s drug habits change and evolve almost as rapidly as their attitudes, it’s important to separate the facts from the fiction. The more parents, educators and the public understand about teen drug use, the better they can help young people steer clear of addiction.

At this year’s “Shatter the Myths” events, speakers debunked three teen drug use myths:

Myth: Cigarettes are bad for teens, but they’re not gateways to drugs.

Truth: Thanks to the efforts of the truth campaign and other organizations, smoking rates among high school students are currently at an all-time low. It’s easy to think cigarettes aren’t that bad, but the so-called “cancer sticks” are actually much more dangerous for teens than most people realize. According to new research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nicotine “primes” developing (i.e. teenage) brains for abusing cocaine and other harder drugs. The concept of gateway drugs is still controversial, but studies show that adolescent nicotine exposure can increase teens’ vulnerability to illicit drug usage.

Myth: Marijuana use isn’t harmful because it’s “natural” and non-addictive.

Truth: Contrary to what many teens believe, marijuana use is not harmless. Marijuana can cause irreparable damage to the brain and body and can be addictive — but young people aren’t convinced. According to recent data from NIDA, a whopping 68 percent of teens don’t perceive marijuana as a dangerous drug. And naturally, with such a low perceived risk, more high school students may be willing to try weed, or even its more deadly synthetic counterpart, K2 (aka spice). Many students fail to realize that this “fake weed” can leave them blind, paralyzed or worse. With life-threatening substitutes targeted toward adolescents and literally explosive methods of making weed products like “shatter,” today’s teens must understand marijuana isn’t safe.

Myth: The new ways to consume alcohol aren’t as bad as drinking.

Truth: In the past few years, teens have embraced all sorts of “trendy” new ways to imbibe alcohol, from soaking tampons in liquor to pouring booze in their eyeballs. One trend bypasses drinking altogether: vaporizing allows teens to inhale alcohol, which means it goes directly into the bloodstream. Teens are drawn to this method as it results in no pesky weight gain or hangovers, unlike drinking calorie-dense, bubbly mixers. But alcohol isn’t any less harmful in a vapor form. In fact, when people inhale alcohol, it can be harder to tell when enough turns into too much, which raises their risk of overdose exponentially. No matter how it enters the body, alcohol can do serious damage to young brains and bodies.

Next Generation Village empowers teens ages 13 to 17 to overcome any type of addiction.

How Do I Help My Addicted Teen?

Being the parent of a teen can be stressful enough in itself. Watching them struggle with a substance use disorder can be heartbreaking, but you don’t have to stand by idly. Safe and effective care is available for your teen, and getting to treatment may be easier than you think. As a part of the Advanced Recovery Systems network of treatment centers, Next Generation Village empowers teens ages 13 to 17 to overcome any type of addiction.

With evidence-based programs, healing amenities and a serene Florida setting, your teen can work through their addiction and regain their well-being at Next Generation Village. Call today to speak with someone who can help you get started.

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