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NIDA in the News

APRIL 2013


Events were held in all 50 states this year.

Teens and scientists connected at local events held in all 50 states for the third annual National Drug Facts Week (NDFW), which ran January 28 – February 3 this year. Through community‐based events, online activities, and a web-based chat with scientists, teens were encouraged to get facts from scientific experts about drugs and drug abuse. Promotional media activities surrounding the week reached more than 71 million people.

History of National Drug Facts Week

National Drug Facts Week logo
NDFW, a week-long observance that links teens with experts who can give them factual information and “Shatter the Myths” on drugs and drug abuse, was inspired by the success of NIDA’s Drug Facts Chat Day, which began in 2007. Each year, NIDA scientists receive thousands of questions via a web chat from teens at registered schools across the country. 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. Read press release ⇒

Did you take the Drug IQ Challenge?

Drug IQ Challenge logo
As part of the week’s activities, each year NIDA provides a “National Drug IQ Challenge,” an interactive 10-minute, multiple-choice quiz that teens and adults take to test their knowledge about drugs. New this year was a mobile-friendly version of the IQ Challenge, in addition to the revised Spanish version. To date, close to 2,000 people have taken the 2013 IQ Challenge! See it mentioned in Blog and The Novato Patch.

NDFW Community Events Educate Teens about the Science of Addiction

map showing locations of events
For the first time, NDFW events were held in all 50 states this year. At more than 500 locations across the country, teens asked questions of addiction scientists, clinicians or educators familiar with NIDA’s scientific materials. Events were sponsored by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, book clubs, and local hospitals. This year, NIDA created a new event toolkit to advise adult advisors, teens and their sponsoring organizations on how to create an event, publicize it, identify a scientific expert, and find information on drugs. The toolkit included the Drug IQ Challenge, Drugs: Shatter the Myths brochure and other relevant materials. View announcement ⇒ | View article in Addiction Professional ⇒

NIDA worked with many partners to help spread the word about NDFW, including federal, state, and local agencies, as well as media companies and organizations like Phoenix House, MTV, and View the list of partners ⇒

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Highlights of local events:
Photo of Ms. Eva Hafström and Dr. Sheri Grabus

L to R:David Mineta, ONDCP, Dr. Lonise Bias and PILB’s Brian Marquis

Photo of Ms. Eva Hafström and Dr. Sheri Grabus

L to R: Ms. Eva Hafström, wife of Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafström, and Dr. Sheri Grabus, NIDA’s Acting Press Officer

Mentor Foundation USA held an event at the Swedish Embassy, with OSPC’s Dr. Sheri Grabus answering questions from more than 150 students from nearby Washington, D.C. public schools. Dr. Lonise Bias, mother of Len Bias, also spoke at the event. Len Bias –once considered the nation’s best college basketball player – died of a cocaine overdose in 1986, just two days after he was drafted by the Boston Celtics. Global fashion retailer H&M held a "drug-free" T-shirt slogan contest. The winner was announced at the event, and H&M sold T-shirts with the winning slogan at their D.C. metro area stores. The students also participated in poetry workshops led by the D.C. Youth Poetry Slam Team. Read press release ⇒ | View the Mentor Foundation’s event photos ⇒ | View National Drug Facts Day event ⇒


Students at Walter G. Byers Middle School take Drug IQ Challenge

Photo of students and mayor

Anuvia’s Marcella Young, Clint Grant and Nicole Augustine with Mayor Pro Term Patrick Cannon (holding proclamation)

The Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center in Charlotte, NC, distributed NDFW packets to 32 elementary, middle and high schools so that they could participate in NIDA’s National Drug Facts Week. They also obtained a proclamation from Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon participated at an event at Walter G. Byers Middle School, where students took the Drug IQ Challenge through an interactive game show presentation. An event was also scheduled for a screening of HBO’s series “Addiction” at Johnson C. Smith University. View the proclamation ⇒

The National Drug Council in the Cayman Islands launched an awareness campaign called “Drug Facts Week” to provide Cayman’s teens with evidence-based information about drugs. The Council distributed “Shatter the Myths” brochures during drug education sessions held in schools and orchestrated an island-wide poster contest. OSPC’s Brian Marquis worked with the Council to promote the event on Cayman 27 News.

Photo from news broadcast

Drug Facts Week event promoted on Cayman 27 News

The Drug Education Council in Mobile, AL, held a Prescription Drug Abuse Summit with Governor Robert Bentley, the Mobile County Sheriff's Office, the Mobile County District Attorney's Office, the Mobile County Health Office, the Mobile County Medical Society, the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council, the University of South Alabama and the Junior League of Mobile. The summit was featured on Fox 10 TV and Read the article ⇒


Alabama Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee (center) presents proclamation to Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran and executive director Virginia Guy

Safe Schools Healthy Students in Charlottesville, VA sponsored a Facebook-based scavenger hunt – with questions and clues to find the answers posted on their web page throughout the week. View Facebook post (login required)

Scavenger Hunt logo
Image showing Drug Facts Week reading materials

On January 31, Emily Low, a senior at O’Connell Prep in Galveston, TX, organized a series of activities to celebrate NDFW. Among them was a game-show style contest, where three volunteers from each class formed teams to correctly answer the most questions from the Drug IQ Challenge. The winning team won a pizza party. In a second competition, classes competed against each other in a poster contest with a NDFW theme. Posters were judged by teachers, winners were announced, and another pizza party was awarded. The activities were supported by the Galveston County Community Coalition of the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol.

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Check out Photos from These and Other Events on the NIDA Flickr site.

NIDA Scientists Break Record for Number of Chat Day Questions Answered

Chat Day photo

NIDA scientists and science writers hard at work during the ten-hour-long 2013 Drug Facts Chat Day, held at NSC this year.

Chat Day photo

Chat Moderators Gaya Dowling, Jack Stein and Intake Monitors Mark Fleming and Janet Linton

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NIDA’s annual Drug Facts Chat Day was held on January 31, with scientists answering almost 2,000 questions — breaking last year's record! NIDA received more than 6,000 questions from 49 schools in 27 states. Guest scientists were invited from NIAAA, NIMH and the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. An estimated 16% of the students asked about marijuana; nearly 9% asked about alcohol; 5% about K2/Spice; 5% about cocaine, and 6% wanted to know how to get someone to stop using drugs. And, as expected in the wake of the Lance Armstrong story, 5% asked about steroids, much higher than in recent years. Special thanks to Berhane Yitbarek and his Chat Day IT team for assembling more than 50 computers, keeping them operating for 10 hours straight, and disassembling them — all within a 24 hour time frame. View the Chat Day transcript ⇒


The Partnership at, the GRAMMY Foundation®, and MusiCares® announced the winners of the 2013Teens! Make Music contest during NDFW. Via social media, NIDA promoted the contest, as well as last year’s NDFW 3rd place music contest winner, who signed a record deal this year. Read Tweet ⇒

Grammy Partnership logo

Mark your calendars for next year! National Drug Facts Week will be held January 27 - February 2, 2014!

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