Thinking back to your middle school or high school health classes, you may recall photographs of lungs blackened by cigarette tar or videos of teenagers dropping out of school, fighting with friends and family, or even dying because of their errant drug and alcohol use. Exposing children and teenagers to the most damaging consequences of these behaviors has long been a mainstay in America’s addiction prevention strategy – but that poses the question: do scare tactics work?
While scanning the latest news, it’s easy to feel as if we’ve traveled back in time to the 1980s. “Just say no?” “The war on drugs?” After nearly three decades, there’s still little evidence to suggest these outdated addiction prevention and treatment strategies work, and some evidence even shows that they are counterproductive. Yet, they continue to influence how we both talk about and treat addiction. And just last month, dialogue about the “gateway drug theory” resurfaced in the New York Times, raising the question: is this highly publicized hypothesis, which also originated in the final quarter of the 20th century, grounded in fact or fiction?
Did you watch the ball drop with a glass of champagne? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. New Year’s Eve is the most popular drinking holiday of the year. But, festivities filled with friends and family may occasionally lead to overconsumption. For some, a few too many drinks can even cause alcohol-induced amnesia, better known as a blackout. In our December poll, we asked readers about another factor that affects the likelihood of blacking out from drinking: whether the person consuming alcohol is male or female.
More than two million Americans are addicted to opioids, ranging from the illegal drugs heroin and fentanyl to the prescription medications OxyContin and Vicodin, yet eight times as many people misuse or are addicted to a substance that is more widely available and easier to access. This substance is alcohol. Despite the fact that it has largely retreated from public consciousness in the context of the current opioid epidemic, research shows that rates of alcohol misuse and addiction are on the rise.
Parents who know or suspect their child is using drugs or alcohol are often at a loss for what to do next. Do you take a hard-lined punitive approach? Confront your child? Approach your child as you would a friend?
Molly Bobek, a Senior Research Associate here at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) and a licensed therapist who specializes in family therapy, provides some suggestions for what parents can do when it comes to this difficult situation and explains her approach to helping families concerned about their teen’s substance use.
Can the alcohol industry genuinely care about the health of its customers when its primary business objective is to gain revenue from one of the most harmful substances and when most profits are made off of people with drinking problems?
Have you ever woken up panicked and confused, wondering how you got home after a night out drinking with friends? If this has happened, you might have experienced an episode of alcohol induced amnesia, also known as a blackout. This is different than passing out or losing consciousness. Your friends may report drinking and talking with you during the evening and you may have even driven home – but your memory of some or most of the night is wiped away.
Have you ever come home from work and had a few glasses of wine to wind down only to wake up the next morning feeling like you didn’t get a good night’s sleep? There is a reason why people use alcohol to relax and help them fall asleep: alcohol does actually speed up this process, but the science shows that the consequences outweigh the benefits. The truth is, although alcohol makes you think you’re getting a better sleep, it’s actually more harmful than helpful for your rest.
Every two minutes a person is injured due to drinking and driving in America. This frightening statistic reveals that there’s still much work that needs to be done to prevent those who drink from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In fact, an old technology may very well help promote safer driving practices. Politicians are now calling for new laws that require those convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense to equip their vehicles with devices that can detect alcohol on their breath.
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