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Society's Mixed Messages

Myth:
Alcohol is less dangerous than other drugs.
Truth:
Alcohol is just as dangerous as other drugs. Alcohol can damage the brain, and early and longtime use can cause addiction. Withdrawal can be painful and may lead to depression and suicide.
Myth:
Alcohol is not a drug.
Truth:
Alcohol is a drug. The body reacts to alcohol just like it does to any other drug: to treat it like poison. That is why people throw up when they have had too much to drink—to get rid of the poison.
Myth:
Underage drinking is a normal rite of passage to adulthood.
Truth:
Actually, teens who drink are more likely to become alcoholics as adults. Research shows that teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life.
Myth:
Misuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs is less harmful than using other drugs like alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine.
Truth:
Abuse of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by teens is just as dangerous as using street drugs. Prescription drugs and OTCs can be highly addictive and deadly.
Myth:
Alcohol and drug use is normal for experimenting teens and nothing a parent should worry about.
Truth:
Alcohol and drug use creates many emotional and physical health problems for developing teens. Early experimentation can lead to addiction and alcohol- and drug-related problems down the road. Also, because their bodies are still developing, it takes teens a lot less time than adults to become addicted.
Myth:
Cold showers and black coffee can sober up a drunk person.
Truth:
Cold showers, coffee, and exercise will not sober up someone who's drunk. Only time can make someone sober. The amount of time it takes depends on things like body weight and whether there's food in the stomach. Giving a cold shower and coffee to a person who's been drinking will just make that person cold, wet, and awake—not sober.