DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Drug Policy Coordinator Steve Lukan is calling on parents and youth caregivers to talk with children over the next week about the real dangers of using drugs.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has declared Jan. 26-Feb. 1 as National Drug Facts Week, to use science-based facts to shatter myths about drugs, according to a press release from NIDA.
“Teens are regularly exposed to misinformation, but it’s important they know what the science says about drugs,” Lukan stated in the press release. “As drug laws are debated and drug threats evolve, facts matter. Parents talking with children is an essential form of continuing education to prevent substance abuse involving alcohol, tobacco, medicine, marijuana, synthetic drugs and other illicit drugs.”
One myth, according to NIDA, is that marijuana is harmless. According to NIDA, marijuana is an addictive drug, and its use by teens may negatively affect brain development and impair school performance. Studies such as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey show while perceived risk associated with marijuana use has been declining, teen use of marijuana in the U.S. is up compared to five years ago, and marijuana use by teens and adults is the highest it’s been in more than a decade.
New NSDUH results find that as the rate of marijuana use among Iowans 12 and older decreased from 6.1 percent in 2011-2012 to 5.98 percent in 2012-2013, use in the U.S. increased from 7.13 percent to 7.4 percent.
For more information on National Drug Facts Week, visit www.iowa.gov/odcp.