First off, big thanks to teens and adults everywhere who took the time during NIDA’s first-ever National Drug Facts Week to learn new facts about drug abuse.
After a week full of activities around the country, what can teens take away?
At the center of the week was our annual “Chat Day,” which gave high school students around the country a chance to ask NIDA scientists their questions directly…we got more than 5,000! Here’s a sample?
Q: Does genetics play a big role in addiction?
A: That’s a sophisticated question….I sense future scientists. Research suggests that about 50-60% of the risk for drug addiction is due to your genes, and that about 40% is due to environmental influences (like access to drugs, media influences, drug use among friends).Scientists are now starting to identify some of the exact genes that cause this influence. That is giving them clues to how to develop new medications to help addicted people recover.
Of course, no matter what your genes are, you won't get addicted if you just don't take drugs.
Q. Does every teen take drugs?
A. You might think so from watching tv and movies, but you would be wrong. Most teens do NOT take drugs. In 2009, little more than a third of 12th graders reported using an illegal drug in the past year, mainly marijuana. Fewer 10th graders and even fewer 8th graders reported using an illegal drug. It’s a good question you ask, because many teens tend to want to do what other teens do, and if they think everyone else is using, that might influence them to use. That would be making two mistakes.
Q: How can prescription drugs be fatal to us?
A. Pretty much by how they can affect blood flow in your body (like blood vessels getting narrower), or how the brain tells the heart to beat and the lungs to expand and contract. Several medications are ”depressants,” and combined with other drugs, especially alcohol, can shut down that breathing machinery. That’s why these kinds of drugs have warning labels. The key is to only use prescription medications under the care and direction of your doctor. They can be life-saving that way. The problems come when you abuse them or take someone else's prescription.
Q: How does marijuana get you high specifically
A. The exact nature of what ”high” is still up in the air, but here is some of what we know. The active ingredient in marijuana is THC, which causes cellular reactions in the brain that ultimately lead to the high that users get. THC acts on what are called “cannabinoid receptors,” found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, time perception, and coordinated movement. This is why some 'weed' smokers experience problems with memory, concentration, and coordination. And some marijuana users, about 9%, get addicted.
Know the Facts, Think before You Act!
Teens and adult sponsors organized events to shatter drug myths from California to Florida to Maine and everywhere in between. At Rockville High School, in Rockville, Maryland, teens produced this public service announcement advertising National Drug Facts Chat Day. http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/rockvillehs/Ramvision/index.html
Other events included the following:
- The Boys and Girls Club’s family advocacy network in Sulphur Springs, Texas, hosted a symposium for parents, caregivers, and youth of all ages, giving them the chance to ask questions about drugs.
- YOUth CARES of El Cajon Valley, California, shared drug facts during morning announcements for middle and high school kids and sponsored a carnival for middle school, high school, and college students. One review called “a great event,” adding that it was “encouraging to see so many teenagers taking action against substance use, and promoting health and fun!”
- NIDA held a CyberShoutout to kick off National Drug Facts Week. All over the country, people blogged, tweeted, and posted to Facebook in support of “shattering the myths” about drug abuse and addiction. Click here to see what people had to say!
This first-ever Drug Facts Week couldn’t have been such a success without your help! But we’ve only just begun: watch this blog for more facts, games, and quizzes to get the drug facts.
Teens have so many choices to make: what classes and afterschool activities to sign up for, which music or videos to download, where to go to hang out with friends. And that’s not all of them! Making smart decisions can be complicated, but there’s one choice you can make that might help other teens as much as it helps you: On October 28, join the Sara Bellum Blog for the National Drug Facts Week CyberShoutout to shatter the myths about drugs. By learning the facts about drugs and drug abuse [PDF, 7.42MB] and sharing your thoughts on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter, you’ll join thousands of teens around the country who are spreading the truth. How You Can Participate On October 28, we encourage you to do one of the following:
- Blog about what you learned about drug abuse and let us know about it by dropping us a comment or sending us a message. SBB will post a link to select blogs on our blogroll.
- Tweet your shoutout and use the hashtag #drugfacts2011. NIDA might retweet you on October 28. Post to your Facebook page using the tag @DrugFacts, link to NIDA’s CyberShoutout page, and share some important info that your friends might not know. If you post to your Facebook page, remember to open the privacy settings for that particular post so we can see what you wrote!
- Give us a shoutout by simply posting a comment to one of the SBB posts you like on October 28!
No matter how you participate in the CyberShoutout, we hope you’ll be an online opinion leader on October 28 and help your peers get the facts about drug abuse and addiction!
See our shoutouts: Bloggers | Tweeters | Facebook Posts Today, October 28, marks the second annual CyberShoutout! This is a day for teens to come together with teachers, parents, community organizations, and scientists to shatter myths about drug abuse and addiction and spread the facts by blogging, tweeting, or posting on Facebook. People all over the country are helping to raise awareness about drugs and drug abuse. Throughout the day, we will be showcasing some of Sara’s friends who are spreading the facts and shattering the myths. Thanks again to everyone who is participating! Let your voice be heard! Keep those shout-outs coming all day today, and be sure to watch the Sara Bellum Blog for updates. Bloggers:
- Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA, is featured on the Partnership at Drugfree.org giving a shoutout to the importance of engaging the American teenager around the facts of drug abuse.
- Sue Scheff, author and parent advocate who founded Parents Universal Resource Expert (PURE), says What path will your teen choose? National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) is a health observance week for teens that aims to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. Through community--based events and activities on the Web, on TV, and through contests, NIDA is working to encourage teens to get factual answers from scientific experts about drugs and drug abuse.
- Sue Scheff gave a second shoutout in her post "It's Not Just Pot Anymore," in which she shares the facts behind marijuana use.
- Jack Maypole, pediatrician and writer, posted this in a story, Deserving of Your Attention: Teens Abuse of ADHD Meds on newly minted college students issues with prescription drugs on The Faster Times blog: I’m covering this topic on the occasion of the opening of NIDA’s National Drug Facts Week to raise awareness — for teens and the adults in their lives — of something about which there are a lot of myths: prescription drug abuse, including ADHD meds.
- The Dana Foundation is participating in today’s CyberShoutout for the second straight year and shattering myths about drug abuse by interviewing Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives member Bertha K. Madras, Ph.D., professor of psychobiology at Harvard Medical School in their post Drug Facts Week Interview: Bertha Madras.
- The MomtiniLounge, a mommy blogger who also participated last year, says: Today, I’m joining teens, parents, teachers, and scientists across America to kick off National Drug Facts Week by publishing my own shoutout for educating teens about the effects of drug abuse" in her post Shoutout to Educate Teens About Drug Abuse.
- The Ultimate Block Party, in its post Everyday ways to promote healthy development – now and later!, asks: Want to do something for your kids that helps promote healthy physical, cognitive, and social development? What if I told you that this activity also helps prevent substance abuse later on? With all these positive effects, you might think that I am talking about something difficult or expensive, but all you need to do is eat together as a family!
- Ryan Donnelly, a recoving drug addict and alcoholic, says: Today, I’m giving a shoutout to educate teens about drug abuse. Monday is the start of the second annual National Drug Facts Week, and I’m adding my voice to spread a powerful message about drug abuse and addiction. Please take some time today to read more on this topic. Visit NIDA’s Sara Bellum Blog and get educated! RESPECT!
- The NIH Science Education blog is also joining teens, parents, teachers, and scientists across America to kick off National Drug Facts Week by offering up their own shoutout for educating teens about drug abuse.
- Lisa Frederiksen of Breaking the Cycles says in her shoutout: One of the key risk factors for a person developing a drug abuse/drug addiction is early use — using drugs while their brains are going through the critical developmental stages that occur ages 12-25.
- Dirk Hanson, science reporter and novelist, says: Addiction Inbox is pleased to join the CyberShout again this year, because cigarette smoking among 12th graders reached it’s lowest point in history in 2010—and also because, in the same year, about 10% of high school seniors reported abusing Vicodin. Good things are happening, more truth is being told—but there is a lot of hard work yet to do.
- Barbara of Recovery Happens shares her story as a mother of a drug addict: Here is my message to both parents and teens based on my personal experience being the mother of a very intelligent, kind, funny and good looking young man who got addicted to heroin when he was 17 years old.
- LaDonna Coy shares ways to use social media to support drug use prevention in her post, CyberShoutout - Applying Social Media Technology in Prevention, by listing activities you can do both online and offline.
- Bill Ford from DadOnFire says: Drug abuse can turn into drug addiction and moms and dads need to know they are often the last ones to know. Yes, I am on fire. I have children and have known many young people who have suffered needlessly.
- Phoenix House, a nonprofit provider of drug abuse treatment and prevention services, announced: This morning, singer/songwriter Kara DioGuardi, the creator of our Phoenix Rising Music Program, made this year’s kickoff especially memorable. Appearing on Fox & Friends, Kara announced that two talented teens from our Phoenix House Academy of Los Angeles had won the MusiCares/GRAMMY Foundation’s Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest.
- "The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Joins NIDA in Celebrating National Drug Facts Week 2011:" As reflected in the 2011 National Drug ControlStrategy, a key ingredient for preventing drug use is ensuring that communities, parents, and especially our youth, have the most up-to-date scientific information about drug use and its consequences. National Drug Facts Week provides young adults with science-based facts and information about drug and alcohol use, and empowers them to make healthy decisions as informed consumers.
- The team at GovLoop is supporting the cause: NIDA is running a pretty cool program today to shatter myths about Drug Abuse to gear up for next week's National Drug Facts Week program. Much props to NIDA for a cool program.
- AwareRx shouts out this drug fact: Nearly 15% of all US high school students misuse prescription controlled substance drugs.
- The Indiana Prevention Resource Center promoted NIDA's online resources that help teens plan their own National Drug Fact Week events.
- Lisa Killam-Worrall, Pharm.D., director of the Drug Information Center at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, reminds us that: “Prescription drugs can be safe when they are taken by the patient whom they are prescribed for. Danger incurs when people decide to take someone else’s medication without knowing what it is, the dosage amount or the side effects associated with it.”
- Find Youth Info says: Teens have many questions about drugs and drug abuse. Without a reliable source for answers, they turn to the Internet, TV, friends, and pop culture—where the answers they get might be fictional or dishonest. Moreover, when it comes to drugs and drug abuse, misinformation can have serious consequences.
- Wise-Life.com shouts out from across the pond in Liverpool, England: While the above messages may originate from the United States, they apply to all people, of all cultures, all over the world!!! Let’s shout about it together.
- Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc (P.U.R.E.): PEERx: Who are your teens choosing to hang out with? It isn't always the 'friend' -it can be your teen making that bad choice. #parenting
- American School Counselor Association: Help shatter the myths! Learn more about the science behind addiction via the Sara Bellum Blog: http://1.usa.gov/iKSFo @DrugFacts
- Phoenix House: Today, National Drug Facts Week begins! We had an amazing kickoff this morning when our friend Kara DioGuardi announced on Fox that teens at our Phoenix House Academy of Los Angeles won the MusiCares/GRAMMY Foundation's Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest. We're so proud of these talented young musicians!
- Talbert House: Next week is National Drug Facts Week. Are you up to the challenge? Take the National Drug IQ Challenge to test your knowledge on drug abuse and addiction. What myths did you shatter?
- Centerpoint Health: Next week is National Drug Facts Week. Every day 2,000 teens on average use Rx drugs for the first time - without a doctor's prescription http://bit.ly/d4d6Oj.
- LaDonna Coy: In 2007, prescription pain meds were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined http://bit.ly/djfjGi
- Richland One Community Coalition (ROCC): @DrugFacts about Marijuana: I'm shouting out because long-term marijuana use CAN lead to addiction in some people. Addiction means people can't control their use of marijuana, even though it may negatively affect family relationships, school performance, and extracurricular activities.
- Dominion Diagnostics: We are joining Drug Facts CyberShoutout to shatter the myths about drug abuse. Join us! http://bit.ly/9rUsL8.
- TOGETHER!: Help shatter the myths! Learn more about the science behind addiction via the Sara Bellum Blog: http://1.usa.gov/iKSFo (via Drug Facts)
- The Partnership at Drugfree.org: It's "Fill in the Blank Friday" and we'd appreciate your help! If I could tell the world one thing about drug addiction, it would be _____________.
- Arapahoe House - Official Page: I'm joining Drug Facts CyberShoutout to shatter the myths about drug abuse. Join me - http://bit.ly/9rUsL8.
- BASE (Building A Safer Evansville): It's national drug facts week! Know what you stand for, 63% of Rock County High School students have never tried marijuana! I'm shouting out to give props to that 63%! Drug Facts.
- Healthy Lifestyle Choices: I'm joining Drug Facts CyberShoutout to shatter the myths about drug abuse! Join me here http://bit.ly/9rUsL8
- Dysart Safe Schools/Healthy Students: SHOUTOUT TO SHATTER THE MYTHS! Monday is the start of the second annual National Drug Facts Week, and we're adding our voices to spread a powerful message about drug abuse and addiction. Add YOUR voice by liking "Drug Facts" on Facebook or by going to the Sara Bellum Blog.
- Indiana Prevention Resource Center: I'm joining @DrugFacts CyberShoutout to shatter the myths about drug abuse. Join me: link to your blog post or link to http://bit.ly/9rUsL8.
- Recovery Month: National Drug Facts Week is October 31-Novemeber 6, 2011. Join us to Shatter the Myths about drug abuse with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/index.php
- Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health-Prevention Department: Today, we are giving a shoutout to educate teens about drug abuse. Monday is the kickoff of the second annual National Drug Facts Week, and we are joining teens, parents, teachers, and scientists to add our voice to spread a powerful message about drug abuse and addiction.
- Substance Abuse Helpline via Drug Facts: National Drug Facts Week kicks off today! Test your drug IQ!
- Family First Intervention: National Drug Facts Week is October 31-Novemeber 6, 2011. Join us to Shatter the Myths about drug abuse with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (NIDA): http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/IQchallenge.php
The bloggers below have shown their support for NIDA’s 2011 CyberShoutout, the kick-off to National Drug Facts Week. Sara Bellum would like to thank everybody that helped to shatter myths about drug abuse and addiction by spreading the facts. If you’d like to see what these bloggers had to say, just click the post title next to their blogs.*
Drug Abuse and Addiction Blogs:
- Addiction Inbox | post
- AWARxE | post
- Breaking the Cycles | post
- DadOnFire | post
- FreeFromHell.com | post
- Indiana Prevention Resource Center | post
- Phoenix House | post
- The Partnership at DrugFree.org | post
- Recovery Happens | post
Health and Science Blogs:
- Dana Foundation | post
- The Faster Times | post
- Social Media Technology in Prevention | post
- Texas A&M Health Science Center | post
- Ultimate Block Party | post
- Wise-Life | post
*Disclaimer: These are links to external blogs and/or organizations that have supported the Sara Bellum blog. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a part of the U.S. Government, and does not endorse or favor any specific commercial product or company or its content.
National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) is a 5-day event that features teen-led activities, a cool contest sponsored by the Grammy Awards, and chats to shatter the myths around drug abuse and addiction. SBB and NIDA want you to help us spread the word through school and community events, both online and in person. Read on… NDFW kicks off on Monday, November 8, with the Sara Bellum CyberShoutout. We’ll be blogging here on the SBB and adding updates from you throughout the day. We need your support to make this good. Could you maybe:
- Post a comment here on the Sara Bellum blog?
- Write a new post for your own blog?
- Post our new NDFW Web badge on your blog.
- Upload event pictures to Flickr?
- Post drug facts that we give you to your Facebook and/or Twitter account, or wherever you share updates and issues with friends and family?
Note: If you plan to blog or post something to your Facebook page for the CyberShoutout, let us know in the comments. If you’ll be tweeting, don’t forget to use the hashtag #drugfacts2010 so we can update Sara Bellum throughout that day with your ideas and thoughts. We hope you’ll take part in this CyberShoutout event – together, we can separate fact from fiction when it comes to drug abuse and addiction! Here are some facts to get you started:
- The chances of becoming addicted to marijuana or any drug differ for everyone. For weed, that's about 1 in 11 people. Learn more.
- In 2006, prescription pain medications were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Learn more.
- Drugs reset brain’s pleasure meter, making you feel hopeless & sad w/out drugs 'til normal fun stops making you happy. Learn more.
Get in on the action! Teens across the nation will be participating in NDFW through activities, participating in Drug Facts Chat Day, and leading events in their communities. How loud can you shout? Remember, no matter how or where you speak out, add the hashtag #drugfacts2010.
The Shoutout is gathering volume and the message is coming through loud and clear: JUST THINK TWICE!
Myth: If I smoke cigarettes now and then, I won’t get addicted.
- Think twice: Each puff of a cigarette gives a smoker about 1 to 2 milligrams of nicotine. Although that may not seem like much, it is enough to make someone addicted. Learn more.
Myth: Huffing – like sniffing Sharpies or household cleaners – really doesn’t do anything bad; just gives me a quick high.
- Think twice: In the short term, these chemicals can cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, bad mood swings, and headaches. In the long term, toxic fumes can take the place of oxygen in the blood, which can damage your brain and other organs. Learn more.
Myth: Prescription drugs can’t be dangerous if a doctor prescribes them.
- Think twice ADHD medications like Adderall can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, psychosis, and seizures if they’re abused; pain medications like Vicodin can cause respiratory depression and arrest, and even death, particularly when combined with alcohol. Learn more.
Throughout the day on November 8, watch our Sara Bellum Blog, where we will showcase as many shoutouts as we find. Follow us on Twitter (#drugfacts2010) and check out NIDA’s National Drug Facts Week Facebook page. On November 9, check out Chat Day as we shout it out for teens everywhere – First, get the facts on drugs. Then choose health.
Today is the official start of National Drug Facts Week! All over the country, teens are coming together with scientists, parents, teachers, and community organizations to learn the facts about drugs and addiction.
In Philadelphia, Women in Forensic Science is holding an event about the link between drugs and crime. In Laramie, Wyoming, students at Wyoming Indian High School plan to take part in a chat with an addiction expert, then travel 4 hours to the Wind River Indian Reservation where they will explore the consequences of drug use by writing or drawing on a canvas tipis about what they would miss out on if they were using drugs.
You can get involved in a matter of minutes, online! Give us a shoutout here on this blog or in your own blog, or on Twitter or Facebook. Shatter the myths out there about and shout it out about drugs and addiction! Tag your shoutout so we can find it, and check this blog throughout the day for a showcase of your shoutouts. See http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/cyberShoutout.php for more information and sample facts to post!
BLOGS SHOUTING OUT:
"Giving teens accurate scientific information they understand will empower them to think critically about drug use and its consequences; enabling them to make smart, healthy, and responsible decisions."
"As we all know, there is a growing awareness that military personnel, veterans and their families need help confronting a variety of war related problems, including substance abuse. Tobacco use, for example, is about 50 percent higher among the Nation’s active duty military personnel and veterans than in the civilian population."
"Mark your calendars! Next week is National Drug Facts Week (NDFW), a week-long health observance week held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for teens that aims to shatter the myths about drug and alcohol abuse."
"This week is National Drug Facts Week, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As someone who has spent a long time working with teens and substance use and abuse, I’m happy to take part!"
"The organization has a NIDA for Teens site, covering the science behind drug abuse, and a blog called Sara Bellum (cute). There's also a Drug Facts Week web site and a Facebook page. NIDA is on Twitter at @NIDANews (using hashtag #drugfacts2010 for this week)."
"I’m shouting out because in 2009, nearly 1 out of 10 high school seniors were still abusing prescription pain pills… unintentional overdoses involving pain medicines have more than tripled in the past 10 years, outnumbering total deaths involving heroin and cocaine."
"November 8-14 is National Drug Facts Week, and as a parent of a tween/teen, I know you want to be able to talk to your teen about drugs and know the facts...not just facts, but the correct facts. So I’m joining teens, parents, teachers, and scientists across America to kick off National Drug Facts Week by offering up my own shoutout for educating teens about drug abuse."
"Armed with the best of science we can all do better at protecting our health and that of our kids."
"Today, I’m joining teens, parents, teachers, and scientists across America to kick off National Drug Facts Week by offering up my own shoutout for educating teens about drug abuse."
"Add your voice today and post your own drug abuse shoutout on your blog, Facebook profile, Twitter account—or wherever you see fit. When you choose to speak, you choose to act."
"Here at Reclaiming Futures, of course, we're especially concerned about adolescent substance abuse among teens in the juvenile justice system."
"According to NIDA's 2009 Monitoring the Future Survey (High School and Youth Trends), cigarette smoking is at its lowest among students in grades 8, 10, and 12. On the other hand, Marijuana use rates have remained steady and non-medical use of Vicodin and Oxycodin increased in the past 5 years."
"Young people are far more likely to use and to become dependent on alcohol and tobacco than the more illicit drugs (though purchasing all of these is illegal for teenagers)."
"This week, you have the opportunity to get smart about what drugs might do, before you act. Learn the facts about drugs and addiction, then think twice."
"We proudly join teens and adults everywhere rallying together on Twitter, Facebook, and their blogs to shatter the myths and spread the facts when it comes to drug abuse and addiction. Won’t you join us?"