Every year, the National Institutes of Health celebrates National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, an opportunity to address common misinformation about drugs and alcohol, particularly among teens. Below are some of the most common myths— read on to test your knowledge or to brush up on the facts before sharing them with the teenager in your life!
MYTH: Vaping doesn’t pose any risks to your health.
FACT: Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, just like regular cigarettes. Nicotine is not only addictive, but also has been shown to harm the developing brain, including the parts that control attention, mood, learning, and impulse control. In addition, in 2020, there was an outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-use associated lung injury (EVALI) caused by THC-containing vaping products, which led to dozens of deaths. Other possible long-term effects of vaping are yet to be known.
MYTH: There are ways to “sober up” quickly if necessary.
FACT: Coffee, cold showers, greasy food, you name it— none of them will help get the alcohol out of your system. Alcohol gets absorbed fairly quickly into the bloodstream, and the only thing that will lower the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is time. It takes about one to two hours for your liver to break down the amount of alcohol in a standard drink (1 beer, 1 glass of wine, or 1 shot). The specific time depends on your weight and other biological factors, but there isn’t anything that can speed up this process.
MYTH: Marijuana isn’t addictive.
FACT: While less addictive than alcohol or drugs like cocaine, marijuana can in fact be addictive. Around 1 in 10 adults who use marijuana get addicted to it, and these odds go up to 1 in 6 if you use it before the age of 18.
MYTH: Prescription drugs must be safe— a doctor wouldn’t prescribe them if they weren’t.
FACT: Actually, since 2003, more people have overdosed on prescription pain medications like OxyContin and Vicodin than on heroin and cocaine combined. With prescription drugs, the context you take them in matters. Otherwise, it can still be considered drug abuse.
MYTH: Once you’re addicted, you’re addicted for life.
FACT: There are plenty of effective treatments available for addiction. A good place to start is by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This is a free, confidential information service available 24 hours a day to refer you to local treatment facilities, support groups, community-based organizations, and other resources.
If you have more questions about this topic, please feel free to call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!
—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team