Teens Across United States and Beyond Submit 1,644 Drug and Alcohol Questions in 2016

On 2016 National Drug Facts Chat Day, teens across the United States and beyond submitted their questions about drugs and drug abuse, and national expert scientists gave them the facts. Click here to read the teens' questions.

Howard County Teens Submit 869 Drug and Alcohol Questions in 2015

On 2015 National Drug Facts Chat Day, HC DrugFree partnered with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to provide an online access code for Howard County teens to submit their questions about drugs and drug abuse, and NIDA expert scientists gave them the facts. Click here to read the teens' questions, and click here to read the bios on the NIDA experts.

Questions Submitted to HC DrugFree

Question #2: Every summer I have gone to camps to keep me busy. This doesn’t give me a lot of time to hang out during the day or hang out at night because I have to get up early every morning. This summer I won’t be attending any camps and my friends keep talking about all the partying and drinking we will be able to do. We're not 21, but my best friend’s sister is always willing to buy us alcohol and she always throws parties with her college friends at their house. I want to hang out with my friends, but I don’t want to get talked into doing something I don’t feel comfortable doing. Any advice?          

Answer #2: Answer provided by Salisbury University Intern majoring in Community Health Education (located in Salisbury, Maryland)

Many people have this same concern; of course you want to fit in with your friends, but at what cost? Just make sure your need to fit in isn’t making you change your morals. The first and most important step is to be honest with your friends on how you feel. Saying something along the lines of, “I really want to hang out with everyone and I’m excited for this summer; however, I don’t want to drink.” Your friends might not “get” why you don’t want to drink at the party, but if they are friends they will accept that you don’t want to and won’t pressure you. It would be good to add somewhere in the conversation that they shouldn’t drink either. There are so many reasons not to drink at your age including the fact that it’s illegal for you do so!

That being said, you and your friends need to be aware of the legal and safety issues that can arise from this situation. If there is loud music, a lot of cars and people, or anything else that your friend’s neighbors are concerned about, they can/will call the police. If the police show up and see underage drinking, citations can be given out even if you personally weren’t drinking. As for your friend’s sister, giving alcohol to minors is illegal and is a serious criminal offense. 

When drinking, your cognition is impaired and you’re more likely to make risky decisions and act inappropriately and less likely to spot out a dangerous situation.  There are long term risks too, especially at your age and making a habit of drinking throughout the summer can lead to negative impacts on processing, learning and retaining information. Not only that, but drinking increases your chances of developing alcohol addiction later in life. Alcohol addiction can lead to a long list of physical and mental health problems like cirrhosis of the liver and chronic depression.

Summertime is supposed to be a time to relax and not worry about things. Remember, true friends will respect your decision to not drink, and by not drinking, maybe your friends will follow your lead.  

Question #1: I am a big fan of live music and spend most of my time at concerts outside over the summer. I am over 21, so I am legally allowed to drink but I know there are ways I can be safer about my decision to drink. Are there things myself and other concert goers can keep in mind to have a safe experience?

Answer #1: Answer provided by Salisbury University Intern majoring in Community Health Education (located in Salisbury, Maryland)

The most important thing you can do while attending concerts is stay hydrated. All day concerts outside in the heat and in the sun will cause you to become dehydrated whether you are drinking alcohol or not. Yes, Alcohol DOES make dehydration happen faster and easier so make sure you limit your drinks and keep drinking water. A tip I use when drinking is to order a bottle of water with every drink I get, and I don’t allow myself to get another drink until I finish the bottle of water. Drinking alcohol can also cause you to forget to apply sun block, forget to eat, and forget to drink water.

On HC DrugFree’s website we have resources on concert safety, including tips on how to stay safe. You can read the article at http://www.hcdrugfree.org/concert-tipts/. This link includes safety tips for raves as well.

It is very important to mention not only the safety of yourself but the safety of others. Don’t buy alcohol for anyone under 21 (there are many undercover officers at concerts), get someone help if they seem to be struggling from drinking too much (or using drugs), and make sure the people you are with are being responsible. Remember to drink water, eat food and wear sunscreen. Before you even get to the concert always make sure you have a designated driver to pick you up…even if that means utilizing services like Uber, Lyft, or a taxi service.