Myths of Drug Use

Myth: My child isn’t exposed to drugs and alcohol and wouldn’t do them anyway.

Fact: Youth of all ages are exposed to drugs and alcohol. According to a 2011 national survey, almost 26 percent of youths had been offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey)

Fact: 13% of 8th graders; 30% of 10th graders and 40% of 12th graders have used an illicit drug in the past year. (University of Michigan, 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey.)

  • Tell your kids you want them to stay healthy. The best way is to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Myth: My kids don’t care what I think about using drugs.

Fact: National surveys of teens have shown that youths were less likely to use drugs if they believed their parents strongly disapproved. (National Institute of Drug Abuse, (NIDA), 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

  • Tell your teen that you don’t tolerate drug use.
  • Tell them how you feel about drugs and alcohol and what you expect.

To learn more check out: Growing up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention.

Myth: Using marijuana is not that harmful.

Fact: Marijuana can cause problems with short-term memory, attention, judgment and decision making, coordination and balance, heart rate and psychotic episodes. Long term problems include addiction, poor educational outcomes, respiratory problems, risk of psychosis in certain people, cognitive impairment. Current research shows marijuana use may negatively affect the teen brain and teen development.

  • Tell your kids that their brain is still developing until their early 20s.
  • Smoking marijuana could be damaging and cause addiction. (National Institute of Drug Abuse.)

“Marijuana is an addictive drug. Children who smoke marijuana can lose control over their use and become addicted. Those using marijuana heavily often perform poorly in school or sports, lose interest in hobbies, and develop interpersonal problems with family and friends.”

(American Academy of Pediatrics. “Marijuana: What You Need to Know.” 12/30/2011,

Myth: Most teens will use drugs even if they perceive they are risky.

Fact: Research has shown that when teens perceive a drug to be harmful, they may be less likely to use the drug. (National Institute of Drug Abuse,

  • Learn about drugs and make sure your children know that using drugs has serious health and social effects. It is illegal for children to use them.
  • Using drugs can lead to abuse which can lead to addiction.