Like any controversial, emotional topic, such as illegal drug use, there can be lots of information in the public discourse. Some of it is factual and some are myths. \r\n\r\nThe National Institute of Drug Abuse sponsors the annual National Drug and Alcohol Fact Week from March 22 to 28. The aim is to connect teens to the facts and \u201cShatter the Myths\u201d that youth get from the Internet, social media, TV, movies, music or friends. \r\n\r\nThe members of the Youth Leadership Council at Pocahontas County High School have researched the facts and myths about commonly used substances. Their findings will be posted in this column throughout the month of March. \r\n\r\nAlan Gibson\r\n\r\nLSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the most powerful mood altering substances manmade in laboratories. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health there was a 56% increase in the use of LSD between 2015 and 2018. \r\n\r\nOnce a person takes the drug there is no stopping its effects. Physical changes include increased heart rate and blood pressure, muscle twitching and shaking, irritability and sleeplessness. \r\n\r\nLSD use can result in perceptual changes relating to vision, touch, emotions and thinking. The experience varies from person to person and can be horrific, including hallucinations and risky, dangerous behaviors due to altered judgment. \r\n\r\nYou can participate in the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week by going online to NDAFW. \r\n\r\nPlease stay safe and stay Above the Influence. \r\n\r\nSara Stull\r\n\r\nDid you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about two thirds of 12th grade students have tried alcohol? \r\n\r\nAlcohol.org describes short term effects of alcohol as lowered inhibitions and altered critical thinking skills leading to risky behaviors such as vehicular accidents, unlawful activities, and becoming a victim of physical and sexual violence. \r\n\r\nLong-term effects of alcohol use include serious physical and mental health conditions, relationship problems, poor academic performance, potential addiction and use of other street drugs. \r\n\r\nHere is a challenge from the Pocahontas Youth Leadership Council: make positive choices every day and stay Above the Influence.