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You have the power to stand up against negative influences. Here's everything you need to know about alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs.




The national legal drinking age is 21 years old and older. Although there are some teens who drink, the truth is that the majority don't! According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 80 percent of teens 12 to 17 years old did not have a drink in the past month.




Alcohol and the Body
Alcohol is a drug that has an effect on every organ in the body. Here are some of the issues alcohol can cause on major organs in the body:

  • Brain – Alcohol slows down the brain. It causes the brain to send out signals too slowly, which can result in problems with walking, talking, and being in control of emotions. Alcohol can also cause memory loss.
  • Heart – Alcohol can cause the heart to beat too fast and also weaken the heart so that it cannot pump blood properly to the other organs in the body. Alcohol can also cause high blood pressure and strokes in otherwise healthy people.
  • Lungs – Alcohol can cause damage to the lungs which weakens it and makes it easier for someone to get infections in the lungs like pneumonia and for the lungs to collapse when seriously injured like in a car accident.
  • Liver – Alcohol can cause the liver to become fatty and unable to do one of its jobs, which is to remove toxins from the body. If the liver becomes too fatty, it does not receive the blood it needs to survive and can cause liver disease, liver failure, and even death.
  • Stomach – Alcohol can cause irritation in the stomach which can lead to ulcers, internal bleeding, and cancer. Alcohol in the stomach can also keep the body from getting the nutrients it needs.

Myths vs. Facts

  • Myth: Alcohol is legal so it's not as dangerous as other drugs.
  • Fact:Alcohol increases your risk to be involved in accidents, drownings, violence, and deadly diseases. Alcohol is involved in more than 80,000 deaths every year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

  • Myth: I can sober up quickly by drinking coffee or taking a cold shower.
  • Fact: It takes the body about 2-3 hours to remove 2 drinks from your system. Nothing can speed this process up...not even cold showers, coffee, or energy drinks.

  • Myth: Beer and wine don't have as much alcohol as hard liquor, so they're safer to drink.
  • Fact: One 12-ounce beer has the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine. These both have the same amount of alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor.

Local Laws
Drinking alcohol before turning 21 can land you in trouble with the law. Here are some Nebraska laws you should know:

  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP): If you are caught with alcohol, you can go to jail for up to 3 months, have to pay a $500 fine, or both. You can also lose your driver's license or permit for up to 12 months.
  • Procuring for a Minor: If any adult 21 or older provides you with alcohol, they can go to jail for up to 5 years, have to pay a $10,000 fine, or both.

What Can You Do?

  • Make good decisions.
  • Never get into a car with someone who's been drinking.
  • Report underage drinking or adults/businesses providing at 1-866-MUST-B-21 (1-866-687-8221).

Learn More




Marijuana is not harmless. Using marijuana when you are young actually has the potential of inflicting a long-lasting, negative impact on your brain. It can result in structural and functional deficits of the brain, which could cause you to develop weakened verbal and communication skills, have lowered learning capabilities, and a shortened attention span.


A Few Other Important Facts...

  • Marijuana is the illegal drug most often identified in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims.
  • The short-term effects of marijuana use include memory loss, trouble with thinking, decreased muscle strength, and increased heart rate and anxiety.
  • Studies show that someone who smokes 5 joints a week may be taking in as many cancer causing chemicals as someone who smokes 1 pack of cigarettes every day.
  • Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, including most of the harmful substances found in tobacco.

What You Can Do

  • Know the facts about Marijuana and make smart decisions about it.
  • Stand up to negative influences.
  • Be a positive influence on others.


Learn how to Be the Difference »

Prescription Drugs


Painkillers are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Without a doctor's prescription and supervision, short- and long-term use of prescription painkillers can lead to dangerous side effects, including accidental overdose.

When combined with alcohol or other drugs, these medications can be instantly deadly.

Some people mistakenly believe that prescription stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin, can give them energy, help them focus, and help them perform better in school. But if they haven't been diagnosed with a condition that requires taking these drugs, stimulant abuse can lead to side effects that are both dangerous and deadly. When taken at high doses or mixed with alcohol or with over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, stimulants can cause irregular heartbeats, dangerously high body temperatures, and the potential for seizures or heart failure.

Stimulants can be addictive. The more a person takes, the easier it is to get hooked. When stimulants are taken over a long period of time, stimulant abusers run the risk of suicidal and homicidal tendencies, paranoia, and cardiovascular collapse. Prescription drugs are prescribed by a doctor for a reason. They have potentially dangerous side effects and can be fatal if taken in the wrong combination.


What You Can Do:

  • Know the facts about prescription drugs and make smart decisions about them.
  • Don't share your prescription drugs with others.
  • Don't take pills given to you by friends.
  • Always follow your doctor's instructions for how to take your prescriptions.

Learn how to Be the Difference »