Teens think you know everything about alcohol? Here are some common myths debunked.
MYTH: Everyone drinks.
TRUTH: Not true. Although 31% of teens said they've drank alcohol in the past month that still leaves 69% who did not! If you choose not to drink, you're definitely not alone.
MYTH: Driving with someone who drank can be safe, because they drive extra carefully so they don't get pulled over.
TRUTH: YIKES! Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking and about 1,900 of these deaths are from motor vehicle crashes (NIAAA). In 2002, alcohol was involved in 41% of all fatal crashes (NIDA). A person might think he's in control, but alcohol slows down reaction time which makes driving a car one of the worst decisions one can make — even if he's had only a little bit to drink.
MYTH: If I drink too much, the worst thing that can happen is I get my stomach pumped.
TRUTH: No way. If alcohol is drunk excessively, it can lead to alcohol poisoning which can cause death. Also, drinking excessive alcohol can cause vomiting. When drunk and unconscious, a person may inhale fluids that have been vomited, resulting in death by asphyxiation. Long-term, heavy use of alcohol can lead to addiction (alcoholism), and can even cause a heart attack or stroke.
MYTH: Talk to me about drugs - that's a bigger issue than alcohol.
TRUTH: Both drugs and alcohol are serious problems among teens. Alcohol kills young people just like cocaine, heroin and other serious illegal drugs. Also, according to recent studies, nearly one-half (47%) of persons who began drinking before age 14 were alcohol dependent at some point in their lifetime.
MYTH: My parents drink - so what's the big deal if I do?
TRUTH: Actually, it's scientifically proven to be a big deal. According to new research by A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., teens who drink and take drugs may be at greater risk than previously thought. His research suggests that the brain is not fully formed until age 24. Using drugs and alcohol during this important time as your brain develops might have negative long-term effects on brain functions such as memory.
Teen Web Resources: www.toosmarttostart.samhsa.gov, www.thecoolspot.gov, www.abovetheinfluence.com, http://teens.drugabuse.gov
Parents, family, and friends of teens please make sure to check out these sites or contact the SAFE Coalition for more information on issues that teens are facing today! Van Buren County SAFE Coalition: 319-293-6412, email@example.com or check us out at www.vbsafecoalition.com and on Face Book.
Sources: NIAAA, NESARC and www.thecoolspot.gov