Myths and Facts about Cigarettes, Alcohol, Marijuana Use


Myths and Facts About Cigarettes

1. Myth: Cigarettes help you think clearly.

Fact: It may seem like you are thinking more clearly, but smoking has no effect on the reasoning process. Nicotine is the substance in tobacco that is highly addictive. It is both a stimulant and a sedative to the central nervous system. The initial nicotine “kick,” which stimulates the central nervous system and causes a sudden release of glucose, is followed by depression and fatigue, leading the smoker to seek more nicotine.

2. Myth: Cigarettes calm you down.

Fact: Many people believe this, but they really feel better only because they are addicted to nicotine. As with other addictive drugs, you begin to feel jittery if the level of nicotine in your body drops. If you are not addicted, cigarettes actually make you feel nervous.

3. Myth: Smoking keeps you thin.

Fact: Smoking stimulates the central nervous system, which can suppress appetite, but it doesn’t change eating habits. It can also decrease the sensitivity of the taste buds and sense of smell making food less appetizing. Overall, this is not an effective way to lose weight as there are many negative consequences from smoking.

4. Myth: It’s easy to quit later.

Fact: Only 3% of daily smokers in high school think they will be smoking in 5 years. But over 60% are still regular smokers up to 9 years later. Usually people make five to seven attempts before finally being able to quit.


Myths and Facts About Marijuana

1. Myth: Marijuana makes uncomfortable feelings go away (fear, anger, depression).

Fact: You may feel less scared, angry, or depressed because marijuana may temporarily cover up feelings; it doesn’t make them go away. Some people actually get more depressed or anxious when they have used marijuana. Using marijuana may also bring on other problems such as legal consequences and physical dependency.

2. Myth: Marijuana makes you creative.

Fact: Sometimes marijuana makes a person feel creative while high, but actual performance is not better and is often worse. Marijuana can’t make you become something you aren’t. After the marijuana wears off, people often say that what seemed creative when they were high no longer makes sense.

3. Myth: Marijuana makes your problems go away (trouble with parents, school, or friends).

Fact: You may feel you have escaped your problems by getting high, but when the marijuana wears off, the problems are still there. Using marijuana may also bring on other problems such as legal consequences and physical dependency.

4. Myth: You can’t get addicted to marijuana.

Fact: Increasingly, research is showing that long-term use of marijuana produces changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term use of cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Chronic users can experience “withdrawal” symptoms (agitation, sleep problems) after stopping heavy use suddenly, as well as “tolerance” (needing larger doses of a drug to get the same desired effects once produced by smaller amounts). Many experts believe marijuana is addicting.

5. Myth: Marijuana makes you a better dancer, talker.

Fact: Marijuana can create this illusion, which has been termed “magical thinking,” but it can’t make you be anything you aren’t. If anything, you become less competent because marijuana interferes with memory, perception, and coordination.

6. Myth: It is safe to drive after using marijuana.

Fact: Marijuana use makes driving more dangerous. It affects important skills needed for safe driving. The ability to concentrate diminishes and reflexes slow down, making it hard to respond to sudden, unexpected events. It also impairs coordination and the ability to judge distances and react to signals and sounds.

7. Myth: Since marijuana is “natural,” it is much safer than other drugs.

Fact: Many “natural” substances also have toxic properties (poisonous mushrooms, mistletoe, tobacco). Prolonged or frequent use of marijuana can adversely affect hormones in both males and females. Young men can have delayed puberty and young women can find that the drug disturbs their monthly cycle (ovulation and menstrual period).


Myths and Facts About Alcohol

1. Myth: A can of beer will not have as much effect as a mixed drink (or a shot of liquor).

Fact: A can of beer, a glass of wine, a mixed drink, and a shot of liquor all have about the same amount of alcohol and will have about the same effect.

2. Myth: Alcohol is not a drug.

Fact: Alcohol is a drug that affects the brain. It slows down the brain area that controls judgment, thought, and muscular coordination. Mixing alcohol with other drugs can be extremely dangerous, causing nausea, vomiting, fainting, heart problems, difficulty breathing, coma, or even death.

3. Myth: Alcohol is not as dangerous as other drugs.

Fact: Alcohol can be deadly. Drinking a quart of vodka in one sitting can kill you. Even one drink can affect your judgment and cause you to lose control. Auto crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers, and of these fatalities, over one-third are

4. Myth: Black coffee and a cold shower can sober you up quickly.

Fact: Only time sobers you. The liver needs one hour to burn up one ounce of pure alcohol (the amount contained in a can of beer, glass of wine, or mixed drink). Coffee and cold water may make a person less sleepy, but neither improves judgment or coordination.

5. Myth: Drinking makes your problems disappear.

Fact: You may feel you have escaped your problems by drinking, but when you get sober, the problems are still there.

6. Myth: Drinking makes uncomfortable feelings go away (anger, shyness, loneliness, frustration).

Fact: Alcohol may cover up uncomfortable feelings for a while, but they come back when you are sober again. Drinking isn’t always a reprieve from uncomfortable feelings. The fact is that alcohol just as often has the opposite efect and intensifies feelings with sometimes catastrophic results: sadness (poor choices, crying jags, suicide) or anger (domestic violence, rage).

7. Myth: Most teens drink alcohol.

Fact: Most teens aren’t drinking alcohol. According to Monitoring the Future’s 2015 study, only 9.7% of 8th grade students consumed alcohol in the past 30 days.

8. Myth: Drinking alcohol when you are young helps prevent abuse later.

Fact: Teens’ brains and bodies are still developing and alcohol use can cause learning problems or lead to adult alcoholism. People who begin drinking by age 15 are five times more likely to abuse or become dependent on alcohol than those who begin drinking after 20.


Myths and Facts About Cocaine

1. Myth: Using cocaine just once can’t hurt you.

Fact: Cocaine in any form is a powerful drug that causes many mental and physical problems. A single dose of cocaine, whether snorted, smoked or injected, can cause death.

2. Myth: It takes a long time to become addicted to cocaine or crack.

Fact: Cocaine is highly addictive. Some people become addicted after using it a few times. Smoking cocaine increases the risk of getting addicted quickly.

3. Myth: Cocaine gives people more self-confidence.

Fact: Relying on a drug to feel self-confident usually indicates a lack of personal selfesteem. The use of cocaine doesn’t take away feelings of insecurity, but only masks them temporarily.

4. Myth: You get more work done when you use cocaine.

Fact: Cocaine may help keep you going when you feel tired, but the effect is only temporary. As soon as the drug wears off, you feel more tired than before.

5. Myth: Cocaine cures depression.

Fact: Cocaine may make you feel less depressed temporarily, but after the effects wear off, you feel more depressed than you did before. Prolonged use of cocaine may cause changes in the brain that make it harder to feel a sense of pleasure.

5. Myth: Crack high is better than a cocaine high .

Fact: A cocaine high lasts about thirty minutes and a crack high ten to twenty minutes.


Myths and Facts About Prescription Drugs

1. Myth: Cough syrup is sold with and without a prescription so it is safe.

Fact: If you follow the instructions on the bottle, taking cough syrup will reduce coughing. However, too much cough syrup, or cold medicine, can cause hallucinations, make a person violent, act crazy, and lose control of their body so other people could take advantage of them and they would not be able to stop them. Cold medicines also have a variety of chemicals some of which if taken in doses larger than recommended can damage their liver and kidneys.



Source Project ALERT 2016 Manual



Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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