A Smash Success!
NIDA’s first annual National Drug Facts Week (NDFW), a health observance week for teens aimed to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse, was held November 8-14, 2010. NIDA encouraged teens to get factual answers from scientific experts about drugs and drug abuse through community-based events around the country, activities on the Web, TV stories, and interactive contests. NDFW was inspired by the success of NIDA’s Drug Facts Chat Day, which began in 2007. In response to this demonstrated interest by teens to get the scientific facts about drugs, NIDA developed NDFW, asking teens, schools and community groups all over America to hold their own “Q and A” events with local experts. This special issue of What's New @ NIDA gives an overview of NIDA’s media and promotional outreach efforts surrounding NDFW and highlights the millions of people reached during this week with facts about drug abuse.
National Drug Facts Week Community Events Held Across the Nation
NIDA’s outreach efforts stimulated more than 90 community-based events nationwide, in over 20 states. Events were sponsored by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, book clubs, and local hospitals. NIDA provided an online toolkit that advised teens and their sponsoring organizations how to create an event, publicize it, find a scientific expert, and where to find scientific information on drugs. Several of NIDA’s grantees assisted by either participating in events or identifying scientists who could be a part of an activity. After the events, NIDA contacted the public information officers at the institution of each participating scientist to let them know of the grantee’s volunteer involvement. View the Toolkit ⇒
NIDA also worked with a number of partners to help spread the word about NDFW, including Discovery, MTV, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Partnership for a Drug Free America, as well as federal, state, and local agencies. View the list of partners ⇒
Examples of local events included:
- In Washington, DC, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, AAA Mid-Atlantic, Nation's Capital Council to Prevent Underage Drinking and the DC Metropolitan Police Department invited local teens to participate in a “Know Your Facts — Shatter the Myths” event on November 12. The event consisted of information stations, participation by a local radio station (WPGC) and a Q&A with an expert panel, including NIDA’s Ruben Baler.
- In Philadelphia, the Association of Women in Forensic Science hosted a "National Drug Facts Week — Shatter the Myths" event at the Simons Recreation Center designed to attract many kids and adults in the urban community. The event was organized by a forensic chemist from the Philadelphia Police Department-Forensic Science Center. A drug abuse expert from the Health Department in Philadelphia was on-site to discuss the physical and psychological effects of drugs on the human body. Various activities for the kids were planned, along with refreshments and advertising through social networking and media.
- In Canton, Mississippi, NIDA grantee Dr. Kevin Freeman, from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, spoke at Rosa Scott Middle School. He met with students in four sessions throughout the day, with between 50-100 students per session.
- In Golden, Colorado, Golden High School held a raffle challenging students to take the National Drug IQ Challenge. Posters were displayed to help teens learn about resources to obtain updated scientific materials. Students worked on identifying “perceptions and myths” about drug abuse from the student body. Mayor Jacob Smith of Golden, Colo. presented a signed proclamation to the student body and a scientific expert attended the event.
- In Niagara County, New York (including Niagara Falls, Lewiston-Porter, Lockport, and Newfane), the Northpoint Council held a variety of activities aimed at reaching more than 800 youth, including presentations in health classes for 6th, 7th & 8th graders focused on debunking myths associated with drug and alcohol use, and dissemination and discussion of NIDA’s Shatter the Myths fact books. The Council broadcast information over the school’s PA system about NDFW, shared statistics about drug use, solicited questions from students about drugs and alcohol during lunch periods, and provided accurate answers during Friday announcements. In addition, the organization hosted a movie night (featuring a documentary about drug/alcohol abuse) with a local YMCA teen group, followed by a discussion with a certified addiction counselor; posted drug abuse informational messages on the Council’s facebook page; and encouraged teens to take the National Drug IQ Challenge.
- In Bradenton, Florida, Lakewood Ranch High School hosted a symposium on drug facts and myths. Approximately 275 students and parents participated in an interactive medical information symposium. The host of the event was Dr. Lora L. Brown, MD, a pain management specialist who not only educates the public on the facts regarding legal medications, but also collaborates with legislators regarding the ever-increasing problem of “pill mills.”
- In Cedar City, Utah, the Safety Solutions Coalition hosted an assembly at Cedar City High School with a question-and-answer session using information from NIDA’s website and the Shatter the Myths teen booklet as the focus of the discussion. The students signed a pledge posted on a school wall to be drug and alcohol free.
- In Alabama, the State Department of Mental Health planned a number of youth education activities. For example, in Birmingham, five prevention providers hosted events at six different public libraries. The Cherokee County Substance Abuse Council sponsored a poster and sidewalk art contest using the Shatter the Myths booklets at Gaylesville High School. They also had a representative present at several middle and high school assemblies throughout the week taking questions and providing information about drug abuse. The CED Mental Health Center, based in Attalla, arranged for prevention specialists to present at approximately ten middle school assemblies and youth organization meetings throughout the week.
More information on other events ⇒ | View more pictures of local events on the NIDA flickr site ⇒
“Drug Free State of Mind” Wins NIDA’s Teen Substance Abuse Awareness Music Contest
Teens from Alton, IL win first place for their music video, “Drug-Free State of Mind”
NIDA collaborated with MusiCares® and the GRAMMY Foundation® to create the Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest, with winners announced during NDFW. The contest was open to teens ages 14-18. Entrants were asked to compose or create an original song and/or music video that explores, encourages and celebrates a healthy lifestyle or accurately depicts a story about drug abuse. Composers of all three winning entries were given an amazing opportunity to attend a 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards "Backstage Experience," a special backstage tour while artists rehearse for the live GRAMMY Awards show on Feb. 13, 2011 in Los Angeles. Both winners and runners-up also received acknowledgement from the GRAMMY® Foundation and NIDA for their role in the dissemination of health information about substance abuse. In addition, their musical entries were posted on the NIDA website, the Grammy 365 site, and the “Above the Influence” site. As a follow up to the announcement of the winners and runners-up, NIDA pitched the local press and high schools in each of their hometowns in an effort to garner more media coverage.
L to R: Jazmin Copeland and Lauren Vollaire, Runners-Up; MusiCares executive Erica Krusen; Kara DioGuardi; Michael Sanger, contest entrant, and Vera Marquardt, Third Place.
Former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi visits the Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles to congratulate teens who entered the MusiCares and GRAMMY Foundation's Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest, a competition designed exclusively for NIDA's National Drug Facts Week. Ms. DioGuardi helped to build a recording studio in the teen center. See and hear the winners! ⇒
National Drug IQ Challenge Encourages Kids to Get the Facts
As part of the week’s activities, NIDA launched the first annual "National Drug IQ Challenge," a 20-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their science-based knowledge about drugs. Over 12,000 people logged onto the NIDA website to take the quiz, which can be found at http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/IQchallenge.php. An online Time magazine story, which reached over 4.5 million people, also encouraged readers to take the quiz. View the Story ⇒
Chat Day 2010 Breaks its Record for Number of Questions Answered
NIDA scientists and science writers answering questions on Chat Day 2010
On November 9th, NIDA held its annual Drug Facts Chat Day from 8 am to 6 pm EST and answered almost 1600 questions, reaching a new record! In 2007, Chat Day’s first year, NIDA answered approximately 700 questions and in 2008 and 2009, NIDA answered about 1200 questions. There were 75 schools that registered for Chat Day this year -- the farthest was from Rome, Italy! This year, the top four most commonly asked topics were about marijuana, alcohol, nicotine and prescription drugs, respectively. This year there were more questions about prescription drugs — indicating that kids are finally beginning to connect non-medical use of prescription drugs with drug abuse. Chat Day also had representatives from NIAAA and NIMH participate for the first time. View the Chat Day transcript ⇒
Spreading the Word about NDFW and GRAMMY Music Contest via Press Releases
Three press releases were issued about National Drug Facts Week to national, local, and trade reporters. The first was distributed August 16 to announce the new national awareness week to bring together teens and scientific experts to discuss the facts about drug abuse. View First Release ⇒
The second release was distributed September 10 to announce the MusiCares and GRAMMY Foundation's Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest. View Second Release ⇒
The third release was distributed on November 10 to unveil the winners of the MusiCares and GRAMMY Foundation's Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest. View Third Release ⇒
“Shatter the Myths” Messages Disseminated Nationwide through NAPS Print and Radio Releases
NIDA partnered with NAPS, a media release distribution service, to produce print and radio releases about NDFW to be disseminated in cities throughout the United States. Over 17 million people were reached via radio placements and over 3 million people through print readership. Websites featuring the print story reached close to 4.5 million unique monthly visitors. View the Radio Release as a PDF ⇒ | View the Print Release as a PDF ⇒
NDFW Outreach Tools
NIDA developed several tools about drug facts for the NDFW launch, including a “Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths” booklet, T-shirt transfers, and posters. Students at Rockville High School helped create the new teen booklet. View all items ⇒.
Mark Your Calendars for Next Year! National Drug Facts Week will be held the week of October 31 – November 6, 2011!