This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Institute on Drug Abuse. All opinions are 100% mine.
My daughter Vayda has been talking about making a video about alcohol because she doesn’t understand why they glorify drinking on TV. She’s a smart kid, right? Yes, but sadly the reason she is aware of the effects alcohol can really have on an individual and their family, is because she has watched her aunt relapse several times and it broke her heart. Vayda witnessed not only the effects alcohol had on her aunt but on the whole family. She watched someone she dearly loved turn into someone she didn’t know.
My sister started drinking in high school because it was “cool,” went off to college, and before she knew it, she was taking shots before work so she didn’t have the shakes. It didn’t take long for things to snowball out of control. I remember getting phone calls informing me that she was in the hospital more often than I heard from her. She is lucky that all alcohol took was 10 years of her life. The last time she was in the hospital the doctors told her that if she didn’t stop drinking she wouldn’t be around for another year. She was only 30 years old at that time.
Thankfully my sister wanted to turn things around, so she put herself in rehab and is doing great but she didn’t graduate from college because drinking got in the way. Vayda now has a full understanding of what alcohol can do to a person and wants to share her message with other kids who might only see the commercials that make drinking look fun and attractive. I guess in a way I’ve been lucky – talking about drugs and alcohol has always been an easy conversation to have with my kids because it’s been so close to home. However, now that they are getting older I want to make sure I know what to do to keep that connection.
Do you know drug and alcohol facts? I admit I know a little about drugs, but I was clueless to how many drugs are in the world today. Of course, you know drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, etc., but there are so many newer drugs on the streets now I think it’s important as parents that we educate ourselves so we can have that meaningful conversation with our teens.
I don’t know if you have heard of salvia or not, but it’s an herb in the mint family that is found in southern Mexico. Salvia isn’t illegal per the Federal law, but some states have passed laws to help regulate its use. To use salvia people generally chew on fresh leaves or drink extracted juices. If the salvia leaves are dry, they can be rolled into cigarettes, put in a pipe, or vaporized and inhaled. Using salvia can cause people to hallucinate, have changes in their vision, mood, emotions, feelings of detachment, and body sensations. There have also been reports of people being unable to tell the difference between what is real and what is not.
Have you heard of a drug known as bath salts? Maybe you’ve heard it referred to as Bloom, Flakka, Cloud Nine, White Lightning, Vanilla Sky, and Scarface? The first time I ever heard of bath salts was last year when I was sharing information about National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM. Writing that post made me realize that we live in a different world today and how little I knew about the drugs out there today. It’s scary, but I am thankful there are programs out there like National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM that not only help teach our children about the myths of drugs and alcohol but their “National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge” can also help parents start a conversation about drugs and alcohol with their teens.
National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW) was launched in 2010 to help counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that so many of our teens often hear while on the internet, watching TV, movies, listening to music, or hear from friends. The week-long observance for NDAFW is held from January 23, 2017, until January 29, 2017 and is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which are both parts of the National Institute of Health.
SHATTER THE MYTHSTM,SM
Since NDAFW launched, the number of events held to SHATTER THE MYTHSTM,SM in communities has dramatically grown. Last year there were over 2,000 events held in the U.S. even in several international sites. These events typically link teens with scientists as well as other experts to create a safe place for our teens to ask questions and get drug and alcohol facts without worrying about being judged or lectured. It’s a great place for teens to learn the truth about drugs in an environment they feel comfortable in but as a parent we also want them to feel comfortable coming to us with questions that we can answer. And, let’s be honest, how much do we really know about drugs today? We might know about drugs from when we were younger but things have changed. There are new drugs and new names, and we might not have up-to-date information. Which is why the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge is available for both teens and parents. It’s a 12-question multiple choice quiz that tests our teen’s knowledge about drugs and parents can take the quiz and use their results to start a conversation about drugs and alcohol with their teens.
Take a moment and check it out!