NIDA and NACCHO Help Teens Shatter the Myths about Drugs and Drug Abuse

national-drug-facts-weekBy Brian Marquis, Public Liaison Officer, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Sheri Lawal, MPH, CHES, Program Analyst, Injury and Violence Prevention, NACCHO

Monitoring the Future, an ongoing study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the University of Michigan, found that many teens are not aware of the serious risks drugs and alcohol pose to their health. The study surveys approximately 50,000 eighth-, tenth-, and twelfth-grade students each year. NIDA offers a variety of free materials that help adults and advocates take an active role in educating teens about the consequences of drug use.

This year, NIDA partnered with NACCHO to support three local health departments (LHDs) and organizations in planning awareness events to educate youth on drug abuse during National Drug Facts Week, a national health observance to arm communities with information, materials, and tools to influence teens to say no to drugs. NACCHO and NIDA’s partnership educated hundreds of people on the dangers of drug abuse through tailored messages from peers and community influencers that resonated with youth.

“While most adolescents are generally healthy, many live in communities where they face more choices and challenges than preceding generations,” said NACCHO Executive Director Robert M. Pestronk. “Local health departments protect and promote the health, safety, and security of children of all ages; provide vital information about injury prevention, sexual abuse, and substance use and abuse; and connect teens to comprehensive services when needed.”

LHD leaders, teachers, guidance counselors, and drug prevention program coordinators use NIDA’s science-based information in their outreach, curriculum, school assemblies, parent-teacher association meetings, and evening workshops to educate teens about drug use and its consequences. During National Drug Facts Week 2014, more than 1,000 local events ranging in size and scope were held across the country and internationally.

NACCHO appreciates the work of NIDA in encouraging local collaborations to educate teens and their families about the effects of drugs and drug abuse. LHDs are encouraged to make a difference in their communities by registering, hosting, or participating in a future National Drug Facts Week event. National Drug Facts Week 2015 will be Jan. 26–Feb. 1.

To learn more about NDFW activities and outcomes of each local health department and organization, read NACCHO’s fact sheet, NACCHO Supports Community Efforts to Shatter the Myths about Drugs and Drug Abuse among Teens. For more information, visit www.naccho.org/topics/hpdp/injuryprevention/, the National Drug Facts Week website, or e-mail drugfacts@nida.nih.gov.

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