Event registration opens for National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week®

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) announced that event registration begins today for the next National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW), to be held Jan. 22-28, 2018. NDAFW is an annual, week-long series of educational events that brings together teens and scientific experts to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about substance use and addiction. NIDA and NIAAA are both part of the National Institutes of Health.

Video: Dr. Volkow talks about NDAFW

NDAFW links students with scientists and other experts to answer questions and counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the internet, social media, TV, movies, music, or from friends. Last year, more than 2,100 events were held throughout all 50 states and in 17 countries.

NDAFW events can be held by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, and hospitals. Activities can focus on general drug use or on specific trends of concern in individual communities, including prescription opioid misuse, which is a challenge in many states.

"The continued growth of this observance that we have seen over the years is a testament to an ongoing interest among local communities nationwide in learning the scientific facts about substance use and addiction," said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. "This series of events is helping to educate teenagers across the country about the specific risks associated with using drugs and alcohol."  

"The importance of this collaborative event with our NIDA colleagues is underscored by the ongoing news reports about extreme binge drinking among young people, overdoses from alcohol and opioids, and other accounts of how drug and alcohol misuse continue to ravage our public health and well-being," said NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D.

To make it easier to hold an event, NIDA has created an online guide, which gives event organizers everything they need to plan, promote, and host an NDAFW event, including how to get free materials from NIDA. The guide includes ideas for activities, such as the NDAFW Bingo, Meme Contest, Trivia Night, and much more.

The NDAFW webpage features several drug or audience-specific toolkits for event organizers to use in their respective communities. Drug topics and audiences include: tobacco, marijuana, opioids and other prescription drugs, alcohol, new psychoactive substances (synthetics), college-aged and young adults, teens in the juvenile justice system, and a video toolkit for teens, which shows parts of the brain and their functions. New this year is a toolkit on MDMA, created due to an increase in interest from event organizers. Given the opioid crisis occurring nationwide, the prescription drug toolkit contains new and updated information this year. In addition, a general NDAFW toolkit is available in Spanish. All toolkits will be updated in December as new data become available. To help promote an NDAFW event, event holders also have access to resources, including a “Tools for Success” presentation and sample press and social outreach materials.

For teachers, NIDA has an online resource, teachers.drugabuse.gov, that offers classroom activities for NDAFW and other year-round lessons on drugs and alcohol. This resource features an easy-to-use Lesson Plan and Activity Finder to search an array of scientist-created student lesson plans, multimedia classroom activities, and other teaching tools on how drug use affects the brain, body and the lives of teens. The resource can be found on teens.drugabuse.gov, which has features allowing teens to directly access drug facts and related resources.  

Event organizers who register their events online will receive free booklets with science-based facts about drugs and alcohol, including one of NIDA’s most in-demand teen publications, Drugs: SHATTER THE MYTHS. NIDA and NIAAA will also offer the interactive National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge, a 12-question, multiple choice quiz that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. It is available in both English and Spanish, can be projected on large screens at events, or used with mobile devices. The 2018 IQ challenge will be posted in January.

To kick off NDAFW, National Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day will be held Monday Jan. 22, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, where more than 50 NIH scientists and science writers will answer questions from teens around the country. Last year, more than 50 schools participated and nearly 10,000 questions were submitted. Further details on the popular annual chat, including registration information and transcripts from previous years, can be found at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-alcohol-facts-week/chat-with-scientists.

NIDA launched NDAFW in 2010 to stimulate educational events in communities nationwide so teens can learn what the science shows us about drug use and addiction. NIAAA became a partner in 2016. NDAFW is supported by many partners, including federal agencies, such as: the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; 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 in the U.S. Department of Justice.

To receive an e-newsletter about NDAFW planning, organizations can e-mail NIDA at drugfacts@nida.nih.gov.

To join the conversation on social media, follow @NIDAnews and @NIAAAnews and look for the hashtag #NDAFW. To see press highlights and previous articles about NDAFW, go to: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-alcohol-facts-week/view-events-and-highlights/2017/highlights.

For all information related to NDAFW, go to: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-alcohol-facts-week​.

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