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By Jim Adler January 18, 2017

Americans are hooked on drugs — or, at least, dependent on them, even when it comes to prescription drugs or over the counter (OTC) medicines taken for health purposes. Indeed, around two-thirds of Americans take at least one prescription drug, and about the same percentage of parents have given their child over the counter drugs.

That’s why National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, Jan. 23-29, is especially important. Sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an arm of federal agency the National Institutes of Health, it’s designed to inform teens about how drug use affects their lives.

Though the week is called “Drug & Alcohol Facts Week,” that’s a bit of a misnomer, because alcohol isn’t separate, but is itself a drug. In fact, alcohol is the most widely used drug in America. So when you consume alcohol, you’re taking a drug.

There — that’s drug awareness in itself.

Last year, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism joined NIDA as partners in the national event.

Facts Week Activities

Activities of National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week aim to shatter myths about drugs. Various NDAFW events are planned around the country to achieve this. A good place to check on the availability of events is at your local school or online.

NIDA launched the week as an annual event in 2010 to link students with scientists and other experts with the express purpose of overcoming myths about drugs (that’s you, too, alcohol). Youths pick up such drug myths from movies, TV, music, the Internet, social media and their peers.

Dispelling misconceptions and misinformation about drugs is done by providing youths with hard science about drugs and drug addiction.

One forum for that mission is Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day. Students are invited to go online for a live chat with drug experts such as NIDA scientists. For more information on how to participate, go to the NIDA’s Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day page.

Questions students might ask could include how drugs affect the brain, how drugs become addictive and how students can help friends or family members who have drug problems. Students also can learn about incorrect usage of prescription and over the counter drugs.

You mean what your doctor prescribed could be dangerous? If not used properly, yes. Indeed, drug abuse covers far more than drugs which are illicit or illegal. Prescription drug abuse also is a major health problem in America.

Don’t Drink and Drive

One of the most important lessons any teen can learn is this: Don’t drink and drive. In fact, don’t take any drugs or medications which could hamper your ability to drive, and then take the wheel.

Did you know that, over the decades, drunk drivers have killed more Americans than all foreign enemies have killed Americans in all wars combined? Who’s the biggest killer among us? It’s drunk drivers.

Each year, thousands of innocent people fall victim to drivers who were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while they were at the wheel.

Jim Adler & Associates strongly supports National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, and we urge everyone to heed lessons that alcohol and other drugs can be hazardous, especially when those who abuse such drugs put others at risk by driving a car.

If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, notify our law firm to learn about your legal rights.

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