“This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
Sound familiar? For some of our readers, maybe not. This line actually dates back to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s 1987 classic television public service campaign. Perhaps even more memorable than the slogan was the imagery that accompanied it—a sizzling egg in a hot frying pan. Check out the video and see for yourself.
When it launched in the late 1980s, this classic public service campaign challenged the idea that drugs’ effects were temporary. The campaign message that drug addiction changes people’s brains and shatters people’s lives would soon start to take hold.
Brain Scans Replace Fried Eggs
Today, we don’t have to use a frying egg to demonstrate what a “brain on drugs” might look like. Through the use of brain-imaging technology, science can show us a real picture of how drug use affects the brain. By measuring the amount of glucose in a particular area of the brain, a brain scan (called positron emission tomography) can tell how active the brain is.
Take a look at the “control” scan on the left, which is the brain of a normal person. Look at all the red—this means that these regions of the brain are highly active since red represents glucose. The right scan is taken from someone who is on cocaine. What do you notice? A lot less red, right?, which means less activity. Reduced glucose can affect many brain functions, such as decision-making, memory, and concentration.
“This is your brain on drugs” just got a whole new meaning.
What drug-prevention slogans or images have the greatest impact on you? Send us a message or leave us a comment, and let us know what you think.
In September, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sponsored the first ever “Take Back” campaign, asking people to bring all their old and unused prescription drugs to law enforcement sites all over the country. The American public really responded and brought 121 TONS of drugs back to more than 4,000 sites! That’s a lot of unused drugs.
Now, on November 13th, the Partnership for a Drug Free America and its partners are sponsoring the American Medicine Chest Challenge--once again asking Americans to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring their old prescription drugs to sites listed on the Web site.
Why all the commotion about unused prescription drugs? Studies show that when teens take prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons (like trying to get “high”) they usually get them from family or friends. Taking drugs not prescribed for you--or taking prescribed drugs long after you really need them--can be dangerous. And mixing them with alcohol and other drugs can cause overdose and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recently reported that in the last 10 years, the number of fatal overdoses involving pain medications more than tripled from 4,000 to 13,800 deaths, greater than heroin and cocaine combined.
So ask your parents to check out the family medicine cabinets for old or unused medicines---let them know they can bring them to sites in your own communities where they can be disposed of properly. By doing so, you can benefit the public health in two ways—getting more prescription drugs out of circulation and helping the environment, since flushing pills is not good for it. Photos from the DEA event can be found on the DEA Web site: http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/pressrel/pr100510.html
November 30 to December 7, 2013 is the first national Meth Awareness Week. Sponsored by our friends at The Partnership at DrugFree.org and coordinated by the Meth Project, this event aims to increase awareness of the devastating effects of using methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a manmade stimulant that is sometimes made in basement labs from the cold medicine pseudoephedrine and various toxic chemicals like drain cleaner, battery acid, and antifreeze. Meth makes a person more awake and physically active, causes rapid heart rate, and increases blood pressure and body temperature. Repeated use causes your teeth to fall out and makes you pick at your skin until you have open sores.
Meth is nasty stuff, and teens get that. Only 1% of teens (8th, 10th, and 12th graders) used meth in 2012—reflecting a steady decline since 1999. The number of adults using meth dropped too: About 133,000 people tried meth in 2012, down more than 50% from 2002 to 2004.
This is all good news, but we still have work to do to prevent meth use. Meth is becoming more available, more pure (making it more dangerous), and less expensive to buy. The U.S. Department of Justice considers meth use a threat to this country because of how destructive it is.
To see just how destructive meth is, check out the Meth Project’s Facebook page for disturbing stories from people addicted to meth, as well as from their friends and family members. While some might consider such stories scare tactics (something SBB tries to avoid), they definitely show how awful meth can be.