August 22, 2011
Teens and drug experts will connect for the second annual National Drug Facts Week, held Oct. 31 through Nov. 6. This week-long observance will bring together teens and scientific experts in community events across the country to discuss scientific facts about drug abuse. It is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health.
"This week-long observance is designed to counteract the many drug abuse myths that bombard today's youth," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "We have learned that teens are craving factual information about drug risks and dangers to help them make smart choices."
National Drug Facts Week encourages community-based question and answer sessions between teens and scientists. Events can be sponsored by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, book clubs, and local hospitals. NIDA provides an online toolkit that advises teens and their sponsoring organizations on to how create an event, how to publicize it, how to find a scientific expert, and where to find scientific information on drugs. NIDA will support event holders by offering its popular teen booklet, Drugs: Shatter the Myths, free of charge as well as a new online National Drug IQ Challenge, a 10-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs.
"We expect to build on the success of our 2010 National Drug Facts Week, which garnered more than 100 events in communities around the country," stated Volkow. "NIDA is actively working with federal, regional and local partners to build events that will expose teens to the science behind drug abuse."
National Drug Facts Week is being supported by multiple federal agencies that share an interest in preventing teen drug abuse. They are:
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at NIH, the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at HHS and The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the U.S. Department of Justice. Each of these agencies will post National Drug Facts Week information on their websites and will encourage the development of special events linking scientists to teens.
"Knowledge is the most powerful tool we can provide our teens to help them make responsible and healthy decisions," said ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske. "Science plays a vital role in helping teens think critically about drug use and its consequences and can help ensure that every new generation of young people in America can live up to their full potential."
The Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools in the Department of Education will reach out to schools across America to encourage activities during National Drug Facts Week. "We can't expect to reach our education goals unless we can convince youth that use of alcohol and other drugs will hinder their ability to learn," said Bill Modzeleski, acting assistant deputy secretary of Education.
Also during National Drug Facts Week, NIDA will announce the results of its MusiCares and GRAMMY Foundation Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest. Information on the contest, the quiz, the booklet and other National Drug Facts Week educational tools can be found at drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov. In addition, NIDA's annual Drug Facts Chat Day will be held Tuesday, Nov. 1. Registration information about this popular Web chat can be found at drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/chat.