National Drug Facts Week will be Monday, Jan. 26, through Sunday, Feb. 1. This week is a national health observance for teens to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse.
According to data gathered through the 2013 PRIDE Survey in Jackson County, 34 percent of 11th graders reported using alcohol, 29 percent of 11th graders reported using cigarettes and 26 percent of 11th graders reported using marijuana within the past 30 days.
Also, e-cigarettes are on the rise among high school students. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that across the country, students are more likely to use e-cigarettes than cigarettes while only 14.2 percent of 12th graders viewed e-cigarettes as harmful. Marijuana (35 percent) and Adderall (7 percent) account for most of the top drugs abused nationwide by 12th-graders in the past year.
Much can be done to prevent drug abuse and to shatter the myths around drugs. First, students are encouraged to attend “Drug Facts Chat Day.” This is an annual live online chat held between high school students and NIDA scientists on Friday, Jan. 30. Students are welcomed to ask questions about drugs, drug abuse, drug effects and how to help friends and family that are abusing. To register for “Drug Facts Chat Day,” visit www.nidachat.org/register.aspx.
Locally, students are also welcome to attend Jackson County Project Lazarus meetings. Jackson County Project Lazarus is a coalition that empowers communities and individuals to prevent drug overdoses. Meetings are held the third Thursday of every month at 3 p.m. For more information about the coalition, visit https://jacksoncountyprojectlazarus.wordpress.com or call Melissa McKnight, health education specialist, at 587-8288.