The sixth annual National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) kicks off this coming Monday, Jan. 25 in all 50 states and several international sites. More than 1,500 events will run throughout the week, culminating on Sunday, Jan. 31.
The annual NDAFW is a collaboration between the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) that aims to educate teenagers from the East Coast to Riverside, California about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. In providing information about drugs and alcohol all in one place, the NDAFW aims to keep teens in school and out of drug and alcohol rehab centers.
The weeklong program was launched in 2010 in an effort to “shatter the myths” about drugs and alcohol perpetuated by popular culture. The wide variety of events pair teens with scientific experts who can provide information and answer questions without judgment or repudiation.
An online toolkit provides event planners with the necessary information and event planning and connects them with a local scientific provider. Events can be sponsored by a variety of organizations, whether it’s a community group in Riverside or one of many alcohol rehab centers located in California.
The toolkits highlight specific substances of abuse, such as tobacco, prescription drugs, marijuana, alcohol and synthetic substances. New resources on alcohol and tobacco have been added this year in response to increased risk of alcohol abuse and e-cigarette smoking among teens. E-cigarettes, in particular, can be just as addictive as regular cigarettes and can result in enrollment in rehab centers for affected teenagers.
With nearly a third of high school seniors reportedly using an illicit drug in the past year, the need for comprehensive drug and alcohol education is stronger than ever. If substance abuse can be prevented before it starts, fewer teenagers in Riverside and elsewhere will have to deal with the crippling consequences of substance abuse.