Two NIH institutes join forces to educate teens about the risks of using drugs and alcohol.
An annual, week-long observance that brings together teens and scientific experts to shatter persistent myths about substance use and addiction will feature information about alcohol in addition to drug use.
Now called National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), the observance will be held Jan. 25-31, 2016, and is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health. The institutes often work together on research and prevention initiatives.
The week-long observance was launched in 2010 to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens often hear from the Internet, TV, movies, music, or friends.
Since its inception, the number of community-based events has grown dramatically, with more than 1,500 held last January throughout all 50 states and several international sites. Events link teens with scientists and other experts, creating a safe place for teens to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without judgment or lectures. Events can be sponsored by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, and hospitals. Event holders are provided with an online toolkit (http://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-facts-week/promote-events) that advises teens and their adult coordinators how to create an event, publicize it, find an expert, and obtain scientific information on drugs.
Ideas for events, as well as success stories from previous years, are highlighted on the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week Web portal that resides within the popular NIDA for Teens site.
Special resources on alcohol have been added this year in recognition of the new partnership. The site also features a new tobacco toolkit for event holders who want to focus on the scientific facts about smoking.
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is again supported by many federal agencies, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); the Office of Safe and Healthy Students in the U.S. Department of Education; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Each agency will post National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week information on its website and encourage the development of special events linking experts to teens.
Also during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, NIDA and NIAAA scientists will hold their annual Web chat with teens around the country. National Drugs and Alcohol Chat Day will be held Jan. 26, 2016 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.
Further details on the popular annual chat, including registration information and transcripts from previous years, can be found at http://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-facts-week/chat-with-scientists.