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An Ounce of Prevention

This week is The National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. The Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition and the Youth Leadership Council encourage parents and leaders in our communities to know the facts to protect our youth from believing the myths about drugs and alcohol that are prevalent in our culture.

Here are more facts that the YLC members have researched in order to “ Shatter the Myths.”

Hello, I’m Cheylin Wood-ruff, a student at Pocahontas County High School, and I am featured on the new Warriors Above the Influence Poster.

Here is a fact I would like to share with you:

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It increases the amount of dopamine, the natural chemical in the brain, that is responsible for the euphoria felt when using methamphetamine. Because the immediate effects fade quickly, people often take repeated doses.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, As of 2015, around six percent of the American population (aged 12 and older) had tried methamphetamine at least once and NIDA reports that meth is one of the most highly addictive illicit substances used.

Short-term effects include increased wakefulness, decreased appetite, rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure. Because it is so potent, long-term effects include the body becoming more tolerant to the drug’s effects, which will require larger doses to get high. Other long-term effects include extreme weight loss, severe dental problems, anxiety, extreme itching, memory loss, violent behavior and addiction. The drug can cause intense uncontrollable cravings and, sadly, lives often deteriorate and revolve around the pursuit of the drug.

This is Cheyliln Woodruff, a member of the Pocahontas County Youth Leadership Council urging you to “Live Above The Influence.”

Hello, I’m Ben Dunz, a student at Pocahontas County High School. I’m a member of the Pocahontas County Youth Leadership Council, and I am featured on the newest Warriors Above the Influence poster.

Here is a fact I’d like to share with you:

The purchase and use of alcohol is legal for people age 21 and older, so sometimes it’s easy to forget alcohol is a drug. It is a very powerful depressant. And we know that legal does not mean safe!

Youth who engage in underage drinking have special risks when using alcohol. Drinking is more harmful to teens than adults because their brains are still developing throughout adolescence and well into young adulthood. Drinking during this critical growth period can lead to lifelong damage in brain function, particularly as it relates to memory, motor skills and coordination. Long-term damage is especially a risk when people start drinking at a young age and drink heavily.

Short-term effects of alcohol intoxication include poor judgement and decision making, poor coordination and memory loss.

Drinking can lead to poor decisions about engaging in risky behavior, including drinking and driving, and aggressive or violent behavior.

Drinking alcohol is also associated with the use of other drugs.

Drinking may cause youth to have trouble in school or with the law.

Underage drinking in relation to the law in West Virginia:

Underage purchase, possession, sale or consumption: 

Violations carry a fine of up to $500, up to 72 hours in jail (or a juvenile detention facility), or both (as decided by the judge). The judge may also order up to one year of probation in lieu of jail time for first offenses. (W.Va. Ann. Code Section 11-16-19(3)(a).) 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research shows that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.

As a member of the Pocahontas County Youth Leadership Council, this is Ben Dunz, and I encourage you to be “Above The Influence!”

Hello, I’m Emma Riffe, a student at Pocahontas County High School. I’m a member of the Pocahontas County Youth Leadership Council, and I am featured on the newest Warriors Above the Influence poster.

Here is a fact I’d like to share with you:

The Centers for Disease Control tells us that tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.

Nicotine, the powerful drug in tobacco products, has traditionally been delivered in cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

Now there is a new way to use nicotine with ENDS or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems most commonly called VAPES.

Vaping devices come in many forms, and one type actually looks like a memory stick or flash drive.

Puffing on the device activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge or reservoir. The person then inhales the resulting aerosol or vapor. The vapor is not simply a harmful mist.

Remember, tobacco and vaping devices contain nicotine, an ingredient that can lead to addiction, which is why so many people who smoke or vape find it difficult to quit.

Both tobacco and vaping devices contain other harmful chemicals. Burning tobacco can create these chemicals and vaping devices turn chemicals and flavorings into mist that combines with synthetic nicotine.

Short-term effects of nicotine use include increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate and increase in breathing.

Long-term effects include risk of cancer, bronchitis, heart disease, pneumonia and emphysema. Use by teens can result in damage to the brain circuits that control memory and learning.

Vaping products include chemicals that greatly interfere with breathing and have caused lung diseases.

According to the 2020 Monitoring the Future Survey, 39 percent of high school seniors vaped in the past year.

As a member of the Pocahontas County Youth Leadership Council, this is Emma Riffe and I encourage you to be “Above the Influence.”

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