Group joins teens across the U.S. in weeklong effort to shatter the myths on drugs
The Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) has joined forces with teens and scientists across the United States as part of “National Drug Facts Week,” or NDFW, a weeklong health observance that takes place this week through Sunday, Feb. 1.
Organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as part of the National Institutes of Health, NDFW celebrates the inquisitive minds of teens by giving them a physical or virtual space to ask questions about drugs and to get scientific answers from experts. As part of the NDFW celebration, the MYC will distribute educational materials at organizational events, post to social media, and release a slideshow featuring MYC members explaining why they are shattering the myth that all teens are using drugs. The slideshow will be featured online and on City7.
About a third of American high school seniors report using an illicit drug sometime in the past year, and more than 10 percent report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller. Many teens are not aware of the health risks associated with drug abuse.
In 2013, Kansas teens reported using drugs and alcohol at rates lower than the national average, according the Centers for Disease Control. MYC’s work in this area includes hosting Junior Jumpstart and leading workshops for middle- and high-school students that encourage positive decision-making, healthy relationships, and drug and alcohol abuse prevention. The next Junior Jumpstart will take place on Friday, Feb. 13.
“We want teens to have the opportunity to learn what science has taught us about drug abuse and addiction,” said Jason Verbeckmoes, a co-coordinator of MYC and Vice President of Prevention and Wellness Services at Mirror Inc. “There are so many myths about drugs cluttering our popular culture. National Drug Facts Week allows teens to get honest answers about drugs to help them make good, informed decisions for themselves and share accurate information with friends.”
The Mayor’s Youth Council was established in 2007 by Mayor Carl Brewer to give youth in Wichita the opportunity to weigh in on community issues and learn about city government. The Council currently has 38 high school students from more than a dozen public, private, and home schools. Its signature events include the Legislative Forum, Junior Jumpstart, and Youth Leaders Across Wichita (YLAW). In addition to the City of Wichita, the Mayor’s Youth Council is also sponsored by Mirror, Inc. and Spirit AeroSystems. To learn more about the Mayor’s Youth Council, visit its website or sign up for its newsletter.