By Jacinta Wenke
In Van Buren County, the Youth Leadership Council or YLC sponsored National Drugs Fact Week in our community. The reason for this week is to shatter myths about drugs and a health observance. Van Buren YLC members along with many other organizations across the U.S.A. in partnership with NIDA encouraged teens to get the facts about drugs through a variety of events this past week.
Each day of the week we taught and talked about a different drug. For the whole week we put up different posters, kept some up all week, and had announcements every day. We had themes and activities for each day. Monday was marijuana; there was peer teaching at the elementary and students put up a display at the school in the front case. Tuesday was tobacco; there were numbers hung around the school and we asked students to guess what they meant in regards to smoking and there was a mystery box guessing contest during lunch. Wednesday was Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs; there were medicine bottle facts and posters for that day. Thursday was Underage Drinking; there was a balloon scavenger hunt this day; finally on Friday there were a variety of miscellaneous drugs that were addressed by posters with facts.
Some of the facts that were shared with the students this week include the following:
· Marijuana can affect learning and memory by acting in the hippocampus of the brain in a negative way.
· People who smoke in their teens become regular smokers and e-cigarettes are not a safer alternative to smoking.
· If medicine is not prescribed to you and used in the wrong way it is drug abuse.
· Approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year from injuries caused by underage drinking and about 40% of those are car crashes.
· Inhalants, synthetic drugs, steroids, meth, heroine, and many more have a negative impact on your brain. Some of these drugs can lead to death.