Debunking Myths About Teen Substance Abuse

Jan 21, 2019

It’s not easy being a teenager. Stress and pressure come in a variety of ways, but one of the biggest worries can be over drug and alcohol use. Our children are bombarded with myths and mixed messages from the internet, TV, movies, music or from friends. But the Ocean County Health Department is endeavoring to set straight many of the myths by answering questions and providing valuable information on a variety of topics during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, taking place Jan. 22-27.

“There is so much conflicting information teens are forced to process and then try to make all the right decisions. The goal behind this national event is to offer some answers to the questions teens have regarding substance abuse based on facts and the science behind them,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, reported use of vaping has nearly doubled among American high school seniors with a jump from 11 percent in 2017 to 20.9 percent in 2018. Additionally, close to one in four high school seniors report using an illicit drug in the past month, with marijuana at the top of the list.

But there is good news to report. In some cases, use has dropped this past year to lower levels than ever before. Substances at historic low levels of use include alcohol, cigarettes, heroin, prescription opioids, MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly), methamphetamine, amphetamines, sedatives and ketamine. 

Teenagers can get involved in the campaign by following the Ocean County Health Department on its social media platforms every day during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, where they will find posts and videos on topics such as vaping, tobacco, drinking, opioids, addiction and the many other services the agency provides the community.

Daniel E. Regenye, Ocean County Health Department public health coordinator, said, “With teenagers so comfortable using social media today we thought this campaign was a great opportunity to use the OCHD social media platforms to reinforce our steady message about the dangers and facts behind substance abuse. Ultimately, our wish is that we make a connection with the teens participating in the event and that they and their friends would continue to visit our sites down the road to get all the latest information and facts not only in regards to substance abuse, but other important public health services and programs.”

For more information about National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, visit the Ocean County Health Department website Also check out the new website, to access and learn more about the department’s Public Health is You Too! campaign to help equip you to take simple steps to improve your health.


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