Drug addictions, myths
Jan. 22-28 is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week; a national health observance week sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Every year, students are linked with scientists and experts to counteract myths that they may obtain from social media, music, the Internet, TV, movies, or from friends. Adolescents and adults are challenged to “Shatter the Myths” that exist related to the risks and consequences associated with alcohol and other drugs use.
For example, some parents may believe that providing alcohol to teens at home will decrease the risk for continued drinking as the teens get older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “adolescents who start drinking before age 15 are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21.”
In our region, 4,602 individuals received treatment for substance use in 2015; 16 percent were ages 12-17. Additionally, adults need to be aware that they can face stiff penalties under the law for providing alcohol to minors. Several cities have passed social host ordinances around the country and in Texas, such as El Paso, San Antonio and Palmview. These ordinances aim to curb underage drinking by targeting parents who provide a place for minors to consume alcohol.
Another common myth revolves around prescription drugs. Some individuals may believe that prescription drugs are not dangerous because doctors prescribe them. However, experimenting with prescription drugs are just as dangerous as illicit drugs. Most addictions develop during the adolescent years, and studies have shown that youth who take prescription drugs for non-medical reasons are at least five times more likely to develop a drug abuse problem than those who don’t. Prescription painkillers and heroin cause half of all deaths related to drug overdoses, and more people die from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes or firearms in the United States.
There also are plenty of myths surrounding marijuana consumption. For instance, youth may believe that marijuana is harmless and non-addictive. The truth is that marijuana consumption can lead to cognitive impairment, mental health problems, traffic accidents, lung damage and can have long-term consequences. Additionally, more teens enter treatment with a diagnosis of marijuana dependency than for all other illicit drugs combined. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about two out of three teens in drug treatment are dependent on marijuana.
The Prevention Resource Center (PRC), a program of Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, serves as the central data collection repository for Region 11 and the developer of a yearly Regional Needs Assessment (RNA), which is available to community members at no cost. PRC wants to help shatter the myths regarding drugs during this National Drug and Alcohol Fact Week. To find out more about the prevention work being conducted in your community download the latest Regional Needs Assessment at our website, www.prc11.org/data . If you are interested in becoming a part of this project and would like to play a role in the 2018 Regional Needs Assessment process, please contact call (956) 787-7111.
Irwin Mendoza, regional evaluator, Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, Pharr
Who’s in charge?
A dirt detour road was put in when Scott Lane Road, in Mission, was to be repaired. This road has been blacktopped and is called Tordillo Road, which runs along ranch fields on the east and several RV parks on the west. It has a posted speed limit of 30 mph. It is not striped or lit. But the large number of vehicles has not stopped since Scott Lane has reopened. Many vehicles travel well above the speed limit, and at night.
Mission police and Palmview police say this is not their jurisdiction and complaints should be handled by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department
The day will come when someone walking at night doesn’t stand a chance. Radar enforcement is needed by some public safety official.
John Pawlak, Palmview