National Drug and Alcohol Week is an awareness week that was started by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2010 to raise awareness for teenagers about the myths and dangers of alcohol and drugs. This campaign focuses on using science to educate young minds how drugs and alcohol affect both the mind and the body. From January 22-28th 2018, there will be educational events, activities, and online events to break down unhealthy and incorrect perceptions regarding drugs and alcohol. Any community organization, school or local area can become involved in National Drug and Alcohol Week by hosting an event in there are during this week. The NIDA website offers a toolkit on how to plan events and there are plenty NIDA employees available to answer any questions.

  • There will be a Chat Day during this week where students can ask questions that will be answered by professionals. Last year 52 schools participated and over 10,000 questions were submitted during this online event.
  • There are already over 440 registered worldwide community events already set-up on the NIDA website for the 2018 dates.
  • Schools and educators can visit the website and download free curriculums about drug use and addiction.
  • Other materials available for free on the website are “SHATTER THE MYTH” booklets that answer some of the most commonly asked questions by teens about drugs, alcohol, and addiction

Teen alcohol abuse

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among teenagers in the United States. Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,500 deaths among underage youth each year, and costs the United States $24 billion each year on average and although drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, individuals 12 to 20 years of age drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United State with more than 90% of this alcohol consumed in the form of binge drinking. Alcohol is known to lessen inhibitions resulting in risky and even illegal behaviors among teenagers potentially leading to violence, drug abuse and incarceration.

Drug abuse in teenagers

The most commonly abused drugs by adolescents include alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs (benzodiazepines, Adderall, and opioids) and hallucinogens. According to research, Almost 50% of high school seniors have abused a drug of some kind. According to research, by 8th grade 15% of kids have used marijuana, over 60% of teens report that drugs of some kind are kept, sold, and used at their school, 64% of teens say they have used prescription painkillers that they got from a friend or family member, over 5% of 12th graders have used cocaine and over 2% have used crack and more teenagers die from taking prescription drugs than the use of cocaine and heroin combined

Psychotherapy treatment for alcohol and substance abuse disorders in teens

Behavioral therapy, family based approaches and recovery support systems such as Assertive Continuing Care, Mutual Help Groups, Peer Recovery Support Services and Recovery High schools are the mainstay of psychotherapy approaches used for alcohol treatment in teens. Behavioral therapy focuses on identifying the negative feelings, thoughts and emotions driving the teen to use alcohol and uses positive behavior approaches, coping skills and problem solving techniques to prevent these thoughts and negative behaviors. Family therapy approaches are used to provide education to the family as a unit about addiction and focus on family stressors and negative behaviors that may be present triggers for the teen’s behavior.