How Does Your Brain Work?

(Posted March 2019)

Do you ever wonder how your brain works? Do you get frustrated at some of the decisions and risky behaviors you may experience? The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has developed a new video to help you understand the issues of a teen’s brain and the how drug use can impact the brain development. The video, Teen Brain Development, is narrated by a real teen and explains brain development along with strategies on how to make healthy choices that assist in proper “coding” of your own brain. NIDA explores the interesting similarities between the progression of brain development and computer programming. The analogy helps you understand why an unhealthy environment like drugs, bullying, or lack of sleep can have such a long-lasting impact on a teenager’s life. Be an informed teen. Know the facts and how to take ownership of a healthy brain development. The video is 3:10 minutes in length and may be viewed on:  or

Driving is a Privilege: How Do You Rate?

(Posted January2019)

Do you want to be a safe driver? Do you understand the risks associated with the responsibility that goes with your valued driver’s license? To help you understand how much you know or don’t know about drugged, drunken and distracted driving, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has placed a Pop Quiz on their teen website, Take the challenge and see how you rate. Remember, as a young driver, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens. The more information you have, the safer you are. You will find more information on the NIDA teen blog drugged driving issues impacting teens. Go to:

You spent hours driving with someone, waited months to be able to take the official driving test so…. BE SAFE and protect your driving privilege.

Think Sober: Celebrate Sober

(Posted November 2018)

With the approaching holidays around the corner, do you wonder how you can stay sober with parties, family dinners, and other social gatherings? Whether you are newly sober or several years into your recovery journey, it can be difficult to prepare for sobriety during the holidays.

The holidays are a time when people reunite with family members and friends that they haven’t seen in a while. When you are charged with emotions, you may turn to alcohol or other substances in order to cope with feelings of anger, anxiety, embarrassment, stress, depression or other human responses to the holiday environment.

To assist you in managing your sobriety and to stay healthy through the holidays, visit the website and integrate their 10 hints for staying sober during the holiday season into your holiday plan. Some example are:

  • Create a plan,
  • Bring your own drinks to the party,
  • Ask a sober friend to be on call,
  • Additional guidelines to help you have a safe and happy holiday.

You will discover the 10 Tips for Staying Sober This Holiday Season by visiting:

The Latest on E-cigarettes

(Posted October 2018)

True or false: Teens are not using e-cigarettes as much as when introduced?

True or false: E-cigs are chemical free and safer than cigarettes?

True or false: E-cig flavorings are safe to use in the e-cig?

False!! The answer to all the above is false. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) teen website, the use of e-cigarettes by high school students has increased 18% between 2001 and 2017. This indicates that the popularity is growing.

When a person “vapes,” you are inhaling poisonous chemicals. They are not harm free. Many teens believe that since they do not produce smoke like regular cigarettes, the danger is limited. This is not accurate. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers teen vaping an epidemic in America. The FDA is warning parents and teachers about certain products that hide the products. For example, the “flash drive” look-alike. Understandably, it is easily hidden.

One of the most important myths, you as a young person may have, is the belief that the e-cig flavorings have no health risks of their own. Again this information is FALSE. The FDA is considering a banning of these products like they did with flavoring use in regular cigarettes. The NIDA blog team invite you to check out the most recent data on e-cigs and add comments on the NIDA teen blog. To learn more about e-cig concerns, visit vaping?utm_source=teenRSS&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=teen-Blog.

What is Naloxone?

(Posted July 2018)

Naloxone Info

Are you or someone experiencing problems with opioid use?

Do you know what Naloxone is?

Do you know how to use it properly?

If you or someone you love and care about is using and abusing opioid substances, you may have heard of that there is a substance to administer that can counteract an overdose. That substance is naloxone. Naloxone is a prescription medication that can block or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and may be used to save the life of someone overdosing on opioids. According to Dr. Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois is one of several states that has a statewide standing order that allows pharmacists and naloxone training programs to provide naloxone without a direct prescription to those with a potential of an opioid overdose. The standing order also applies to the family and friends who may help in case of an individual experiencing an opioid-related overdose.

To learn more about opioids, link to the Illinois Department of Public Health website. Visit for an explanation of the opioid family of drugs. Take a look at to learn more about Naloxone and when it is appropriate to access its benefits. To help create safer communities for families, support the efforts for prevention, treatment and recovery for all citizens. Create safe communities.

Do You Know? Learn the Facts!

(Posted April 2018)

As a teen or young adult, you may not be aware of the current warnings generated by the Illinois Department of Public Health in regard to the increasing alarm about the synthetic cannabinoids that are causing adverse reactions for individuals using these products laced with rat poison. Between April 24, 2018 and March 7, 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) documented over 153 cases of adverse reactions to the synthetic cannabinoids. Included among the reactions are coughing up blood, bleeding gums, and internal bleeding. Use of these synthetic chemicals is dangerous and has resulted in four reported deaths since March 7, 2018. IDPH reported the synthetic cannabinoid products, such as K2, spice, marijuana and legal weed, were obtained from convenience stores, dealers or friends. These products are sold for recreational use and marketed to you, the user, as instigating effects similar to marijuana.
With the occurrence of this health risk, it is important to be aware of the threatening environment created in our communities with this health concern. As a young person, you can make a difference by learning the facts and sharing them with your family and friends. The more you know about the dangers of using substances such as K2 or spice, the more prevention you can support within your environment. To learn more information about synthetic cannabinoid products, visit the IDPH Question & Answer page at:

Enjoying Your Holiday as a Teen

(Posted December 2017)

Do you dread the holidays with your family?

Are you tired of hearing what the “family” has planned?

Are you ready to create a new set of traditions and strategies that help you feel included?

With the 2017 holidays upon us, it is time to think about how to meet the needs of the entire family in planning for the holidays. As teens and young adults, you often want to make your own plans and do your “own thing.” This may leave your parents and other family members frustrated or feeling like they are not valued. Just remember that during your teen years, as well as a young adult, you are developmentally moving into your own traditions, setting newer values and planning your own celebrations for the holidays. With that being said, the website, Your Teen, For Parents, has published a guide for making holidays with your parents a positive experience for all. The article, Holidays with Teens: 5 Ways to Make It Merry, identifies 5 areas to consider when addressing your holiday. They are:

  1. Planning Makes Perfect (Almost),
  2. Traditions, Traditions,
  3. The Friend Factor,
  4. Attitude,
  5. Gratitude.

To access the article, visit: The tools for an enjoyable holiday may be right before your eyes. Enjoy your holidays.

Bullying: A Public Health Issue

(Posted November 2017)

 If you have been a victim of bullying, you will understand the damage that being bullied can cause. Even though bullying behavior has been around as a rite of passage forever, it is not normal behavior and it has been increasing in intensity in recent years. The bullying behavior harms everyone involved, including the person who is demonstrating the bullying behavior. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has identified four primary types of bullying behavior. They are physical bullying, verbal bullying, relational bullying and bullying by damage to property. In response, the National Academies developed an online resource Toolkit. The Toolkit offers youth, parents, school personnel, community leaders, policy makers and health care providers’ strategies to help them address bullying from their perspective. By clicking on each area, information specific to each audience opens up with an overview of how to address bullying behaviors and it provides effective strategies that may be effective to help reduce the behavior within that setting. Each area also has links to other supportive resources. To access the National Academies Toolkit, visit:

Who Are You Going To Call? 

(Posted October 2017)


Are you prepared for an emergency?                                   

Do you know who to call in a crisis?

What information do first responders need to know?


As we enter the Halloween and Holiday season, safety and resources is a focus. If you have ever been in an emergency situation that requires immediate action, it is important that you know the answers to the above questions. These situations may be a fire, an accident or an overdose of alcohol or other drugs. Knowing what actions to take may be the difference between life and death. Planning ahead is the first step to handling an emergency effectively. As a young person, talk to your parents or other adults that can help you plan on a safe response to an emergency. Know how to get in touch with a responsible adult in such situations. Talk about what information you might need to give a 911 operator if you make the call. Increase your skills that may help in an emergency setting. For example, take a CPR to help be prepared.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA) has a resource available that will assist you and your family in preparing for emergencies. Basic prevention is the first step to being safe and healthy even in a crisis. Visit

Campus Awareness

(Posted September 2017)

Do you feel safe when you enter your school campus?

Do you know where to go for help if you need it? 

Do you know someone who has been victimized on campus?

As school began this fall, students entered their school campus expecting it to be a safe place for learning. The majority of campuses are relatively safe places but crimes do happen in these environments. For the victims of crime, the impact can change the person in many ways, both emotionally and physically. The stress alone interferes with the process of learning. As a result of crime in the school setting, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, compiled a list of federal resources that address campus crime and safety. By visiting you can link to a variety of resources. Most states have amended their constitutions to guarantee certain fundamental rights for crime victims. Learn what your rights are and how professional resources can support you in your recovery from crime. Be safe. Know how to take care of yourself in your campus environment.  


School & Campus Crime. National Criminal Justice Reference Service. 2017.

Special Feature: Campus Safety. National Criminal Justice Reference Service. 2017.

What You Can Do if You Are a Victim of Crime. U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs.

What’s “Dripping?”

(Posted June 2017)

Dripping? What does that have to do with substance abuse and families? If you are not aware of the term, it is time to learn more about the practice called “dripping.” Research indicates that one in four high school e-cigarette users have tried the practice of “dripping.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains “dripping” occurs when e-cigarette users place drips of e-liquids directly onto heated atomizer coils. The result is production of thicker clouds of vapor, “improved” flavors and a stronger throat hit.

Research funded by NIDA and the FED Center for Tobacco Products indicates the need for further exploration about the safety and the potential risks of “dripping.” To learn more about the potential dangers of the practice, go to:  For more in-depth information follow the link to:

Read, learn, and be safe.

Know About Campus Safety   

(Posted May 2017)

Do you start a new journey this fall?

Is college life in that journey?

 If YES, you will want to know how to enjoy and grow as an adult while at college. Right now you may not be concerned about your campus safety. Fall semester may seem a long way off. BUT… as you cross this exciting starting line, be aware of the importance of staying safe in your new environment. To assist you in creating a safe college experience, the CollegeXpress website of Carnegie Communications, offers sensible and easy to follow safety tips for campus life. One important tip is to remember to NOT put yourself in a risky or compromising position by being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. CollegeXpress safety tips are found by visiting: Enjoy your journey as a college student and lookout for your friends and roommates. There is safety in numbers and in knowing the people you are with.

Get to know the facts

(Posted April 2017)

During January 2017, the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW) was held. The week is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NDAFW is a national health observance week for teens that promotes local events and uses NIDA science to “SHATTER THE MYTHS” about drugs. This past January there were 2,174 community events held around the country as part of NDAFW. Each year during the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, top scientists from NIDA come together for a live day-long online session called “Chat Day.” The scientists answer students’ questions about drugs and their impact on the teen brain and physical structure. In January, fifty-two schools participated in Chat Day and generated 10,000 questions for discussion. To read the transcript from the 2017 Chat Day, visit . It’s not too early to start planning for participation in the 2018 event. Visit to find out how to get started.

Driving Under the Influence

(Posted January 2017)

Do you have a drivers license or plan on having one soon? If so, it will be important for you to recognize how the use of alcohol or other drugs may impact your driving privilege. As a teen or young adult you likely consider your driving privilege one of your most cherished accomplishments. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) offers information about the dangers of using illicit drugs, misusing prescription drugs, and consuming alcohol and then driving. The dangers are high for you, the driver, and all other persons sharing the road. Various drugs impact the brain function differently. However, all drug use places you at risk, especially as a younger driver. When the lack of driving experience is combined with the use of drugs or alcohol you are more likely to place yourself and others in dangerous situations. Remember, according to NIDA, car crashes are the leading cause of death among young people aged 16 to 19 years of age. To help protect yourself and your driving privilege, check out the information provided in the resources below.


Drug Facts: Drugged Driving. National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016). Retrieved September 2016 from:

Other resources:

Emerging Adults: Planning for Health and Career

(Posted November 2016)

As a young adult you are challenged with many new decisions that were not issues for you before you turned 18 years of age. Two of the most overwhelming and confusing decisions you may be faced with are the issues of managing your own health care and selecting a career. The two issues may go hand in hand since many types of employment also offer health care insurance as a benefit. The ability to manage these life decisions is a skill you can build with assistance. The Alliance with the Youth Transitions Collaborative, Got Transition/Center for Health Care Transition Improvement, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has developed tools to assist you. They offer a six page booklet with information and checklists on how to navigate the health care transition and career planning. To aid you in establishing your skills, go to:

Camouflaging: It’s Not Just a Style of Clothes

(Posted November 2016)

As strange as it may seem, the term camouflaging applies to more than a pattern on your clothes or on your military uniform. It also applies to the issue of how young people respond to the strong “social rewards” that the maturing brain seeks. Peer pressure plays a big part of the camouflaging process. For example, how often do you exhibit a behavior or opinion that is not normal for you? The behavior, camouflaging, may misrepresent how you genuinely feel about an event so you will fit in with your peers attitudes and demeanors. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reviewed the research on “camouflaging” and the connection to how you feel about yourself and the decisions you make. To gain a better understanding about the concept, read the information on: Learn to like who you are and the value of being the real you.

Be Informed! How the New FDA Rules Affect You

(Posted September 2016)

Do you know what is in the e-cig you may be using?

Are e-cigs “risk-free” as advertised?

Is using a hookah safer than regular cigarettes?

On August 2, 2016, the National Institute on Drug Abuse website, NIDA for Teens, posted the new Federal Drug Administration (FDA) rules that address e-cigs and tobacco products. Up until now e-cigs, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco and flavored tobacco products have not been federally regulated. However, as of August 8, 2016, the new FDA rule will require companies to put accurate health warnings on smoking and vaping products as well as hookah products. The new ruling also established an age limit of 18 years of age for purchase of these products.

Prior to using any of the products mentioned above, become an informed consumer. Take a look at the information from NIDA for Teens website. The FDA information is found on:

Find the Answers Here

(Posted August 2016)

Do you know why some people become addicted to drugs while others don’t?

Do you know if prescription drugs are addictive?

Do you know why it is important for teens and young adults to delay first use of alcohol?

As a teen or young adult, it is important for you to develop good decision making skills and have accurate information you can apply to your lifestyle behaviors. To help you find the information you need to make these important choices, there are two resources that will assist you. When making life decisions you often need some good advice to meet that need, the Too Smart to Start website provides an article called “Need Advice?” The article provides guidance on common life issues and refers the reader to other resources for added information. The article is found on the website at: (2016)

The second resource, Frequently Asked Questions from Young People, is provided by the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. The article answers 15 common questions that you may have about substance use. It offers support for healthy decision making skills you may elect to practice. You will find the questions and answers at: . (2015)

Headed to College? Be in the Know

(Posted July 2016)

Are you off to college in the fall?

What do you know about college drinking?

Do you have the skills to “parent” yourself through the college years?

If not, take a look at the information about underage and college age drinking. Be prepared to handle possible situations around partying and other risky situations related to alcohol consumption. To help prepare you for the transition from a high school “kid” to a successful college “student,” review the information offered on the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) website. The two articles listed below will help you make healthier decisions when you are challenged with situations that encourage risky behavior. Even though the risks may sound like fun, they may carry dangerous consequences to either your personal safety or possible legal issues.

To help you in your college journey, take a few minutes to read the information offered by NCADD. Have a safe and promising college experience.


Underage and College Drinking (2015). National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. Retrieved on June 22, 2016 from: .

Alcohol Energy Drinks (2015). National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. Retrieved on June 22, 2016 from: .

Chat Time: What’s Next?

(Posted June 2016)

Are you overwhelmed when thinking about what your life will be after high school? Have you thought about the various choices available for you? Some of you already know what and how you are moving ahead after you graduate. Others are not sure about the transition your life will have. Determining how to identify and reach your goals as you enter early adult age is an exciting but often confusing time. The National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability/Youth and members of the Youth Action Council on Transition have published a 14 page guide to assist in your transition from high school into adulthood. The guide, “Hitting the Open Road After High School: How to Choose Your Own Adventure to Success!” offers hints on making life choices, activities to help you get ready, possible choices after graduation, and ideas of how to gain support for your success. Check it out today! The information may be just what you need to travel forward.


Hitting the Open Road After High School: How to Choose Your Own Adventure to Success! (2015). National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability/Youth. Retrieved on May 27, 2016 from:

Chat Time: Are You Experiencing Stress?

(Posted June 2016)

Not all stress is bad.”

“Everyone experiences some stress.”

“Regular physical activity may help handle stress.”

True or false? Do you know the answers to the above statements? The answers are TRUE for each of them. Stress is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as “The body’s natural response to difficult or scary situations.” Some familiar stress symptoms you may experience are headaches, or trouble sleeping. You may also experience some depression or anger and worry. Research shows that avoiding all stress is difficult. However, you can TAKE ACTION and deal with your stress symptoms by being prepared. (, 2015). Take a look at the websites below. They offer simple hints to help you handle your stress and have a great and healthy summer.


Manage Stress. (July 30, 2015). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved on May 30, 2016 from:

Nine Tips to Help You Cope With Stress. (May, 2016). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved on May 18, 2016 from:

Don’t Stress about Stress. (October 2011). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved on May 27, 2016 from:


Looking for a Job? Start Your Journey here

(Posted April 2016)

“I want a job. What do I need to do?”

Have you ever made that statement? Spring is here and school will be out before long. The time to start looking for a job is here. As a teen you may want part-time employment or a “summer only” job. However, you may not know how to start. Work during your high school years offers valuable experience. Finding out how to obtain and sustain a job are skills you will use throughout life. (, 2016) Searching for employment, learning how to write a resume, and participating in an interview can be frustrating. To help build your confidence and assist you with the process, check out the following resource:

Chat time: What Does Your Brain Do for You?

(Posted March 2016)

What allows you to learn, to laugh, to cry and to experience fun?

What tells your heart to beat and your lungs to breathe?

Most important, how do you assess risk and keep yourself safe?

The answer, of course, is your BRAIN. Simply put, the brain is the management “system” that defines who you are as person and how you function as a human being. The brain is a complex organ that controls everything you do. During the first three years of life the brain doubles in size and reaches about 80 % of the adult size. (Urban Child Institute, 2015) Brain growth is faster during these three years than any other time. However, the brain continues to develop through the teen years into the early 20’s. (Zero to Three, 2014) Why is the brain information important? It’s important because the decisions you make now will impact the rest of your life.

Brain growth during the teen years is critical because your intellectual skills are developing. During these years the brain changes from a concrete thinking process to abstract thought. At the same time you are developing problem solving and critical thinking skills. All these skills are important for you to live a healthy and productive life. (Lorain, 2015) The potential for harm to brain neurons is high if a teen decides to use substances such as alcohol or marijuana. Substance use interrupts the development of healthy brain neurons (cells) and may disturb the development of needed skills. (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014)

To find out more about how your brain develops and functions, take a look at the National Institute on Drug Abuse website for teens at . You may be surprised at the facts you pick up by participating in the interactive games such as “Drugs + Your Body” or “Genetics and the Brain.” Learn more about how the brain functions by becoming a MAD scientist. Click on “Make a Mad, Mad, Neuron” and explore. These activities are just a few of the interactive games you can explore on the site.


Lorain, Peter. Brain Development in Young Adolescents. National Education Association. 2015. Retrieved from on December 28, 2015

Brain Development. Zero To Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. 2014. Retrieved from on December 29, 2015

Baby’s Brain Begins Now: Conception to Age 3. Urban Child Institute. Retrieved from on December 29, 2015

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Revised 2014. Retrieved from on December 28, 2015

You Earned Your License, Now What?   (Posted October 2015)

How will you protect your driver’s license?

Do you know the laws protecting your privilege?

As a teen, you dream of getting that rectangular card with your picture and current information. It allows you to get behind the wheel of a car…. Or truck if that is your preference. Many teens think of the license as a right when they turn 16. However, Illinois defines driving as a privilege and the law sets guidelines for keeping the privilege.

To keep your license safe, it might be helpful for you and your parents to understand the potential issues that could cause the loss of your license. Illinois has a Zero Tolerance Law that is defined as: “A driver under age 21 caught with any trace of alcohol in his/her system will lose his/her driving privileges.” (Illinois Secretary of State Office, 2015) Often teens think the law only applies if they are driving. That is not the case! Remember, a person does not have to be operating a motor vehicle to receive legal charges under the Illinois Zero Tolerance law. In addition, the law states:

  • Any person under age 21 may be charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence): if he/she has a BAC of .08 or more: more than .05 with additional evidence proving impairment: any illegal drugs in his/her system or other indications of impaired driving. The first conviction has a minimum of a two-year revocation of driving privileges.
  • Any person under age 21 convicted of the illegal purchase, possession, receipt or consumption of alcohol will have his/her driving privileges suspended for six months for a first conviction and 12 months for a second one.
  • Any person under age 21 who receives court supervision for the purchase, possession, receipt or consumption of alcohol will have his/her driving privileges suspended for three months. (Illinois Secretary of State Office, 2015)

The severity of the charge and the length of time the license will be suspended or revoked depends on the situation and the amount of alcohol or other substance present. The Illinois Secretary of State website offers the following resources to help you understand and protect your driving privilege. Check out the websites listed below.


Illinois Secretary of State. Zero Tolerance/Underage Drinking (2015) Retrieved on October 5, 2015 from

Illinois Secretary of State. DUI, Zero Tolerance and Related DUI Offenses. (March 2015) Retrieved on October 5, 2015 from

Think About It… (Posted August 2015)

Do you know that most young people between 12 and 20 do not drink? Think about it!
Do you know what a standard drink of alcohol is? Think About It!!
Do you know the risks for teens drinking alcohol? Think About It!!

Each of these questions allows you to think about it. However, the first question is the most significant for a teenager to know and understand. The BAD news is many teens, and parents, believe the myth that “all teens” are drinking alcohol. The GOOD news is the vast majority of tweens and teens do not use alcohol. The research data shows that alcohol use by 12 to 20 year olds actually declined from 2002 until 2012. (SAMHSA, 2013) Young people are recognizing that they do not need alcohol to have fun or fit in. Teens are also realizing that the risks linked to alcohol consumption are high. (SAMHSA, 2014) (CDC, 2014)

Alcohol use affects decision making, school success, legal problems and often effects family relationships. BUT… one of the scariest risks is the way it may interfere with brain development. Even though teens may physically appear to be adults, the human brain does not reach full maturity until the early twenties. Alcohol can change the development of the brain structure and function. It can interfere with the way the brain looks and works. Using alcohol as a teen can disrupt the brain functions critical to motivation, memory, learning, judgment, and behavior control. (NIH, 2014) Research shows that early alcohol use may make the brain more prone to alcohol dependence. (NIAAA, 2013) In addition, the brain controls all physical body functions including the muscles that control your breathing and heartbeat. Think about it!!

Sadly, the risks related to drinking alcohol may be ignored by some teens who believe it “can’t happen to me.” The risk is due to many reasons but buying into the “myths” shared by friends or media often happens. Here is a challenge. Test your knowledge of myths versus facts by taking the challenge titled Real Facts About Underage Drinking included on this web page. SAMHSA’s Too Smart To Start website is a resource with new and interactive information for teens and families to access. Visit and take a look. Click on the Quiz Whiz offered on the site. View the videos on each subject page. Be safe. Don’t drink. Remember, “Not everyone is doing it.”

Underage Drinking. (July 2013). National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from:

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior. The science of Addiction. (2014). National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved on July 10, 2015 from:

Underage Drinking. (October 2014). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on July 23, 2015 from:

Facts About Alcohol. (November 2014). Too Smart To Start, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved on July 23, 2015 from:

Dating, Violence and Drugs: The Relationship (Posted August 2015)

Safety First! When it comes to issues related to dating, drugs, and violence, safety is vital. Every year as summer winds down and school begins the news reports begin to contain stories of parties, drug overdoses and “date rape” incidents. It is important for all teens to be aware of the danger these situations hold. The concern is not just for teens who consume alcohol. All young people are at risk of being a victim of a “date rape” drug whether they are consuming alcohol, soda, bottled water or other non-alcoholic drinks. You may ask “What is a ‘date rape’ drug?” The National Institute of Drug Abuse defines date rape drugs as follows: a drug that a person secretly slips into another person’s drink in order take advantage of them sexually. Date rape, also known as “drug-facilitated sexual assault,” is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. (NIDA, March 16, 2015) The three most common “date rape” drugs are Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), GHB (gamma hydroxybutryic acid), and ketamine. These drugs can make people physically weak or even pass out. Many times the victim is not able to remember what happened to them. These drug induced side effects may leave a person unable to protect themselves. Adding to the risk is the fact that these drugs are available in odorless, colorless and tasteless forms and can be easily dropped into a drink. Since they are not identifiable they go undetected by the victim. (NIDA, December 2014).

Additionally, data shows that alcohol is linked to more date rapes and other dating relationship violence than the drugs previously mentioned. (NIDA, March 16, 2015) Dating violence is described as controlling, abusive and aggressive behavior including verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse. (NIDA, March 26, 2015).

  • Listed below are some hints to help reduce the risk of being a “date rape” victim:
  • Don’t accept beverages from other people.
  • Open your own bottles and cans.
  • Keep your beverage with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom.
  • Don’t share beverages.
  • Don’t drink from punch bowls or other common, open containers.
  • If someone offers to get you a refreshment at a party, go with the person to get it.
  • Watch while drinks are being poured.
  • Don’t drink anything that tastes or smells strange. Sometimes GHB tastes salty.
  • If you realize you left your beverage unattended, pour it out and get a new one.
  • If you feel drunk even though you haven’t had any alcohol, or you feel strange in any other way, get help immediately.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. What Are Date Rape Drugs and How Do You Avoid Them? (March 16, 2015). Retrieved from on July 20, 2015.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drug Use and Violence: An Unhappy Relationship (March 26, 2015). Retrieved from on July 20, 2015.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Club Drugs (GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol) (December 2014). Retrieved from on July 20, 2015.

Teen Chat Time (Posted July 2015)

“My parents never listen to me.”
“I don’t have any friends.”
“School makes me crazy. The teachers pick on me.”

Have you ever said or thought these things? If so, you are not alone. Many teens have this experience. It all goes back to communication, the key to good relationships with parents and friends. Knowing this, the “Chat Time…” column will be an ongoing feature and offer some hints to help you talk “with” not “to” your parents and friends. Learning and using effective “talking” skills makes teen relationships more workable for all. Note, it is about talking, not texting. It is easy to avoid the talking part of a relationship with the ability to text but too often the human part of a relationship is left to a written text. We cannot begin to discuss better communication with others unless we address the word respect. states respect for both oneself and others is a key characteristic of healthy relationships. Respect means that each person values who the other is and understands the other person’s boundaries. If you want parents and friends to talk respectfully, you have to offer that respect to them. That word can be scary and put you on the defensive. Remember, it is often tough for others too. Respect does not mean you agree. This means you share your opinions in a respectful way. This may take lots of practice but the time spent is worth it.

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