Teens and NIH scientists join forces for National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week(SM)

National Health Observance helps SHATTER THE MYTHS about Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Jan 25, 2016, 08:37 ET from National Institute on Drug Abuse

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teens and scientists will connect for the sixth annual National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW) held Jan. 25-31. This week-long observance gives young people the facts about how alcohol and drugs can affect them, both in the short-term and over their lifetime.  This year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will be joined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health, to coordinate this effort.

To view the Digital Media Release click here

"National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM is designed to educate youth regarding the many myths about drug and alcohol use confronting them on a daily basis," said NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Wilson Compton. "By giving teens scientific facts and answering their questions, we're equipping them to make smart decisions."

More than 1,500 NDAFW events in 50 states and 10 nations are planned for this January. An interactive map includes brief descriptions of each local event. Event holders are provided with an online toolkit to advise teens and their adult coordinators how to create an event, publicize it, find an expert, and obtain scientific information on drugs. This year, there are drug specific toolkits to better meet the needs of individual communities. NIDA will also host the annual Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day where hundreds of high school students participate in a live Web chat with NIH scientists on drug and alcohol use. The chat can be followed online.

Questions from past Chat Days include:

  • Are e-cigarettes healthier than regular cigarettes?
  • Is marijuana really addictive?
  • Can over-the-counter drugs be as bad as illegal drugs?

Online resources, including the popular National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge, will be interactive and accessible on mobile devices, with videos of scientists answering the IQ Challenge questions to better illustrate the science behind the answers. By taking the quiz, teens can better understand the risks and side effects of drug use. For instance, the majority of high school seniors do not think regular marijuana smoking is harmful, but the amount of THC – the active ingredient in marijuana – is more than four times higher than it was 20 years ago. Daily use today can have greater health consequences on a developing teen brain.

NIDA is part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. NIDA's media guide can be found at http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist.

SOURCE National Institute on Drug Abuse