Serenity Observes National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

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The last week of January we advocate and educate through a week full of the hard truths about drugs and alcohol.

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What does work, for most young people, when it comes to talking about drugs and alcohol and making a difference, involves using actual statistics. Scare tactic approaches are less effective.

The National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), in collaboration with other advocates for drug and alcohol awareness, have worked with communities to designate the last full week of January as National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. This year, observed January 23-29, 2017, the theme is “Shatter the Myths.” As a community, we can advocate for effective treatment, but also especially effective prevention of alcohol and drug use, by using the actual science and statistics behind such behaviors.

Teens in the United States are more connected to messages of drugs and alcohol than ever in history — through social media, the internet, television, movies, music and their friends. While in generations before young people had a few of these resources, in smaller numbers, the teens of today live in a “sound bite” age, where they are inundated with messages on every subject. When it comes to alcohol and drug use, such messages may not only normalize dangerous behavior, but also confuse young people with untrue or misleading information.

In some ways, access to information has made young people more savvy, but in other ways perhaps more cynical. Teens are as apt to believe their friends as any generation before and “because I said so” has never been the most convincing parental reasoning.

What does work, for most young people, when it comes to talking about drugs and alcohol and making a difference, involves using actual statistics. Scare tactic approaches are less effective. Anecdotal evidence may not ring true. However, when you say, “The United States has just 5% of the world’s populations but consumes 75% of the world’s prescription drugs,” you may get a listening ear. Follow it up with, “More teens die from prescription drugs than heroin/cocaine combined,” and you may segue into an honest conversation with your teen about prescription drug use (and misuse).

As you observe National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, here’s another fact for parents of teens: practice what you preach. As you lead by example, listen more than you advise, and speak with kindness and understanding, you may find more receptive ears.

Meanwhile, if you, or a loved one in your life, are dependent upon drugs or alcohol, or to learn more about addiction (including a free guide for speaking with teens about alcohol and drugs), call 1-855-218-3775 or visit the Serenity Recovery website:http://www.serenityrehab.org

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Derry Hallmark
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