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Do You Know the Real Facts?

There seems to be a lot of mystique surrounding the youth with the facts about underage drinking and marijuana. You may know some teens who drink. You may even have tried it yourself. But the truth is three out of four teens don’t drink. For the month of October MADD Texas is helping educate teens around the state about the facts and sometimes dire consequences that come from underage drinking and marijuana use. We are going to bust some myths that teens may believe or have been told are true. Young people who begin drinking at 15 are six times more likely to become alcohol dependent or even abuse alcohol later in life.  Teens really do hold the power to take a stand against underage drinking.  Here are some myths we are breaking with the facts.

MYTH 1.  I can drink and handle myself just fine. I am very mature for my age.

FACT: While you may be mature for your age, your brain is not.  It is not maturity, its biology.  The young body cannot handle alcohol the way an adult one can. (NIAAA)   Alcohol impairs judgement and reflexes. It increases the chances that you will make terrible choices that you never would have made sober. (NSDUH)

MYTH 2: If I needed too, I could sober up quickly. There are lots of ways to make that happen!

FACT:  Time is the ONLY thing that can sober a person up. Alcohol is a water soluble drug. In order for your body to get back to normal and your brain be able to get back to its normal self, the body needs to flush out the bad. Coffee only creates a wide awake drunk and a shower only creates a wet one.  (NIH)

MYTH 3: Hey, it’s just a little alcohol. What’s the harm? It’s not all THAT dangerous.

FACT: Every year over 4,300 youth die as a result of underage drinking (CDC). Additionally, the younger youth start drinking, the higher the likelihood for developing alcohol dependence later in life. (SAMSHA)

Myths on Marijuana

MYTH 1: Marijuana is safer than other drugs like alcohol because it is not addictive.

FACT:  The main active ingredient in marijuana, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), stimulates brain cells to release the chemical dopamine, which creates a feeling of pleasure. 1 in 11 adults who use marijuana become addicted. And the younger someone starts smoking, the higher the risk. One in six people who start in their teens will become addicted.  (NIDA)  In 2010 aver 1 million people received treatment for marijuana use. (SAMHSA)

MYTH 2: I study better high.  I feel more focused.

FACT:  THC affects a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is necessary for learning. These affects can last long after the “high” is gone. In fact, college students who use are much more likely to drop out than those who do not.

MYTH 3: I am a better driver when I am high. It just helps to relax me.

FACT:  Driving is a divided attention task. THC mutes the senses needed to drive safely and the ability to react to changing dangers while driving. (NHTSA) Some of the effects experienced by drivers are: slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving® Texas are encouraging teens to know the facts, and then decide to refrain from underage drinking and drug use! With all the noise out there, sometimes it is tough to know fact from fiction.  MADD focuses this month on educating youth and parents about the truth around alcohol, marijuana, and the teen body.

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