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22 Jan

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is here to help spread awareness regarding alcohol and drug use in the younger population. Check out some of the information below to help educate your children and young adults!

 

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Since 2010, the last week of January has been dedicated to bringing teens, their parents, and science experts around the world together to learn about the risks associated with alcohol and drugs. It is very easy to get involved by participating in a live video chat occurring across the country, called “Drug and Alcohol Chat Day”. The live video chat connects to classrooms in the United States on Monday, January 22nd and allows questions to be asked directly to the doctors involved. Mention it to one of your kids’ teachers and have them register their entire class (see link below)! Another option is to attend a local event at the Better Life Empowerment Center in Schenectady on Friday, January 26th. Call them at 518-280-8833 for more information!

 

Alcohol

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance of abuse among young people in America.  Understanding alcohol abuse is important for people of all ages as the use often begins with underage drinking, which occurs if anyone under the age of 21 drinks. Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking alcohol too often, which commonly interferes with a person’s daily life. It can harm your relationships with friends and family and lead to a physical dependence known as alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is defined differently for both males and females:

 

 Males 

 Females 
Alcohol Abuse Criteria 

 

• ≥ 14 drinks per week

•> 4 drinks per occasion

 

• ≥ 7 drinks per week

•> 3 drinks per occasion

 

Here are a couple more serious consequences of alcohol on the both the teenage and adult brain....

Short-Term Consequences:

  • Less aware of what decisions may be considered inappropriate/risky
    • Drinking and driving
    • Sexual activity, such as unprotected sex
    • Violent behavior

Long-Term Consequenes:

  • Interferes with normal brain development
    • Negative effects on information processing and learning
  • Increases risk of developing an alcohol use disorder in the future

 

Drug Misuse

There are three commonly misused/abused classes of medications - opioids, depressants, and stimulants. 

Drug Class Indication    Also known as...
Opioids (oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, Percocet, etc) Pain Happy pills, OC, oxy, oxycotton, percs, or vikes
Depressants (phenobarbital, diazepam, lorazepam, alprazolam, etc) Anxiety A-minus, barbs, candy, downers, phennies, or zombie pills
Stimulants (Adderall, amphetamines, Ritalin) Attention Deficit Disorder Bennies, black beauties, the smart drug, speed, or uppers

Many teens and adults get these medications from friends or family members, often without the person who prescribed the medication knowing, and this leads to misuse. One way to avoid this is to store medications in a locked cabinet or one that is out of reach from others. Another equally effective method to avoid misuse is to dispose of leftover medications properly, which can easily be done by dropping them off at any of the several “NYS Medical Drop Box” locations at local police departments. Misusing these drugs can be potentially fatal, as they are prescribed for people based on their personal history and their physical and mental characteristics. In other words, a dose that is safe for one individual may not be safe in a different individual, so even if you have the same symptoms as someone else, sharing medications can be dangerous. Always remember, just because it is a prescription, does not mean it is safe!

 

For more information see below:

Drugs and Alcohol Chat Day Registration:

https://www.nidachat.org/register.aspx

More information on Alcohol Abuse:

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2014/09/drinking-excess 

 

By: Mitchell Kinacid and Anthony Walrath, 2018 PharmD Candidates