National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week Kicks Off Next Monday

By John Lavitt 01/21/16

NIDA and NIAAA are coming together to lead the week-long educational event aimed at young people.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week Kicks Off Next Monday

Starting on January 25, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) begins their seventh annual, national week-long educational event for young people. Previously National Drug Facts Week, this year the name has been changed to National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). This change reflects the first-time participation of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in the event.

Focused through the lens of the NIDA for Teens website, the five-day event, which runs January 25–31, is designed to link students with scientists and other experts to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the Internet, TV, movies, music, or from their friends. By providing teens with quality information and resources, the hope is that awareness will be raised of the dangers of substance abuse. Along with awareness, prevention efforts will be highlighted during the week.

First launched in 2010 by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the goal of the annual event is to stimulate educational events in communities. Given the massive amount of misinformation about drugs and alcohol on the Internet, NIDA wants to open the door to a qualitatively substantial knowledge base. In the past, it has been shown that teens actually have a desire to learn the scientific truths about drug abuse and addiction.

For the first time in 2016, with the participation of the NIAAA, alcohol has been added as a topic area. Since both NIDA and NIAAA are part of the National Institutes of Health, it makes sense that the two institutes would join forces to put on this national educational event. In other words, participation by the NIAAA has been a long time coming.

Other national partners include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Office of Safe and Healthy Students in the U.S. Department of Education, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. All of these partners will help to support locally planned events hosted by schools and community organizations. NIDA offers a host of resources to help local participants plan, promote, and secure the science for an NDAFW event.

On Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day, there will be a live online discussion between high school students and NIDA scientists. Students from around the country will be given the opportunity to ask the questions they most want answers to about drugs, alcohol, and drug abuse. In addition, teens can test their knowledge about drugs, alcohol, and drug abuse by taking the interactive National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz with a revised version posted each year.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.