National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

January 22, 2019

It’s proven that drugs and alcohol can have negative effects on our personal life, work, relationships and health, especially during our formative years. Many feel pressure from their peers, social media, classmates and family to use and abuse substances without thinking about the consequences. During National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (Jan. 22-27), we wanted to share some key facts everyone should know about drugs and alcohol.

Alcohol

  • Excessive alcohol use leads to approximately 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
  • Underage drinking has both long and short-term consequences on the brain. In the short-term, people who abuse alcohol have a harder time making good decisions, are more likely to engage in inappropriate or risky behavior, and to face potential legal consequences. In the long-term, underage drinking makes it more difficult to process information and learn new things. It also makes you more likely to develop alcoholism later in life.
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, underage drinkers have actually gone down by one-third in the last 10 years.

Marijuana

  • Medical marijuana has been approved in 33 states and the District of Columbia. However, researchers are still trying to determine how (and if) medical marijuana helps with health issues.
  • Despite popular belief, marijuana has addictive consequences. People who use marijuana before the age of 18 are up to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder, which can impact health, school, friendships and employment.
  • Marijuana can have negative long-term effects on your brain including hindering learning and memory, coordination and judgement.
  • Although there are no reports of overdosing on marijuana, some people have had to seek treatment at the emergency room for side effects including shaking, paranoia and hallucinations. Extreme side effects can also occur when mixing other substances alongside marijuana, or the potency of the substance.

Heroin

  • Fatal overdoses of heroin have increased drastically since the 1990’s. In 2015, nearly 13,000 people died from heroin overdoses with males dying at the highest rate.
  • Heroin is extremely dangerous for your body. It is often mixed with other addictive substances and can include fentanyl, which is both highly addictive and deadly.
  • Heroin can cause permanent problems to your lungs, kidneys and brain. Sharing needles while taking heroin leaves you at risk for contracting serious diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis.

Tobacco and Nicotine

  • Cigarette smoking in the U.S. has decreased according to the Center of Disease Control.
  • Teen smoking has also decreased over the last 40 years, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimating 3.6 million middle and high school students smoking in 2017.
  • Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers in the United States began smoking before they turned 18 years old.
  • As a rapidly emerging smoking method, e-cigarettes or vapes have increased tobacco and nicotine use in the U.S. with teen vaping figures soaring.
  • Vaping is not safe and can have long-term negative effects on your health. They still contain highly addictive nicotine and side effects include increased heart rate, blood pressure, lung disease, chronic bronchitis and potential to lead to type 2 diabetes.

Access Community Health Network (ACCESS)

If you, your child or someone you know is having trouble with drugs or alcohol, ACCESS is here to help. We have extensive medical resources and support services available. Visit our website to schedule an appointment today.