Tough Stuff

Fact or fiction: What you need to know about drugs

Before you shrug off National Drug Facts Week as one that doesn’t apply to you, stick with us for just a minute: An increasing number of tweens and teens are experimenting and actively using drugs every single day. And we don’t mean one in one hundred. We mean one in ten, one in five and sometimes, one in three. From alcohol to marijuana to bath salts to cocaine to prescription pills, drug abuse is running rampant. Here’s what you need to know:

“You can’t get addicted to marijuana.”

Fiction. Nine percent of people who use marijuana become dependent on it. That might not seem like a lot, but for those who start using it in their teens, the number goes up to 1 in 6.

“I can do drugs once and be OK.”

Fiction. Sure, you might be able to, but the thing with drugs is that they target your brain’s reward system. Your body remembers how much you enjoyed doing it that one time, and so it pushes you to do it again and again.

“My friends who drink have it under control.”

Fiction. Your friends might be OK—though they’re probably breaking the law, regardless of how much alcohol they consume. But according to a new CDC survey, nearly 20 percent of high school girls binge drink, which can have deadly consequences. 

“Compared to stuff like cocaine and heroin, prescription pain killers are NBD.”

Fiction. Right now, more people die from pain killer overdoses than from heroin and cocaine combined. Why? Because when you don’t need them or aren’t taking them as prescribed by your doctor, they can severely depress your respiratory system.


“Sniffing glue isn’t really the same thing as doing a drug.”

Fiction. Most inhalants depress the central nervous system just like alcohol does. Your speech can slur, you might lose coordination, you might become dizzy or light-headed. You could even have hallucinations or delusions. But huffing can cause serious, long-term damage, too. Highly concentrated solvents and aerosol sprays can cause heart failure and brain damage—yikes.

“Taking a friend’s ADHD meds before a test is totally fine.”

Fiction. Taking a medication prescribed for someone else is a felony, and is just as illegal as possessing marijuana is.

“Synthetic drugs like Spice are softer than the real stuff.”

Fiction. Synthetic drugs are untested, so you never know what you’re getting. While Spice or K2 mimics the active ingredient in marijuana, it’s much, much stronger and has put some users in the hospital with serious complications, like heart attacks.

Are you up for the National Drug IQ Challenge? Click here to take the quiz!


by Brittany Taylor | 2/1/2016