NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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Shattering the Myths: Q & A With an NDFW Participant

Sara Bellum
January 29, 2014

Christa Reuter is a 21-year-old carpentry vocation student at the Great Onyx Job Corps in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. She has completed the program and will begin her new job soon. The Sara Bellum Blog asked Christa about her experience participating in National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) and what she learned.

What does your community do for National Drug Facts Week?

As part of National Drug Facts Week, the Great Onyx Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center hosts contests that help teens learn about addiction and drug abuse. During these contests, I learned that you can be addicted to more than just drugs. So, to me, shattering the myths about addiction involves learning about more than just drugs.

How do you define addiction?

I think addiction is a behavior that is supported by a person’s thoughts and feelings. Addiction can have bad consequences in a person’s life and the lives of people around them. When someone is addicted, behaviors like using drugs become so important in the person’s life that they think drugs are part of normal life. [*See below for NIDA’s definition of addiction.]

Why do you think it’s important to share facts about addiction and drug abuse with teens?

I think sharing the facts about addiction and drug abuse is really important because many of the people I know that are my age and younger already have an addiction or are starting down the path of addiction. Any knowledge that can help them change their behaviors and ways of thinking will help them and those around them.

What are you doing to shatter the myths about drug use?

I helped spread the word about the dangers of drug abuse beyond National Drug Facts Week by sharing what I learned with my friends, coworkers, and family. I hope that by sharing drug facts I will help them learn what I have learned and encourage them to steer clear of drugs and alcohol, and be aware of the signs of addiction so that they can change their behaviors and thoughts.

Thank you to my National Drug Facts Week mentor Mr. Joe and the Great Onyx Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center for bringing National Drug Facts Week to my community!

Job Corps is a technical training program from the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people improve their lives by helping them through school and teaching them valuable career skills. The Great Onyx Job Corps supports National Drug Facts Week by holding events for their students.

*Note from NIDA: NIDA defines addiction as a chronic relapsing brain disease marked by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite negative consequences. 


Tell us: In your own words, how do you define addiction? Why do you think it’s important for teens to learn the facts about addiction and drug abuse?

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