NIDA Goes BACK to School
At a press briefing held today in Washington, D.C., Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, discussed the Institute's new Back to School initiative, which provides students and teachers with informative, accurate information about addiction and drug abuse.
"We are excited about expanding the resources available to students and teachers on the science behind drug abuse and addiction," Dr. Volkow said. "Beyond their educational value, our materials hold the promise of sparking students' general interest in the biological sciences as a possible career choice, while meeting teachers' needs for engaging curricula that also fulfill national science education objectives."
One exciting component of the NIDA Goes Back to School initiative is NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse, an interactive Web site officially launched at today's event. Available at www.teens.drugabuse.gov, the site was developed with help from the Kids Design Team at the University of Baltimore's School of Information Arts and Technologies.
The new Web site is geared specifically for adolescents ages 11 to 15. It contains age-appropriate facts on drugs, real stories about teens and drug abuse, games, take-home activities, and a Q&A forum with Dr. Volkow as "Dr. NIDA."
NIDA announced the initiative in September with a mailing to an estimated 40,000 middle and high school teachers. The promotion included other engaging educational materials from NIDA such as:
- Mind Over Matter, a series of informational magazines for grades 5 to 9.
- Heads Up: Real News About Drugs and Your Body, a drug education series for students in grades 5 to 11, created by NIDA and Scholastic. The program is distributed directly into schools nationwide through Scholastic Classroom Magazines and is available online at www.ScholasticNews.com, which features drug facts, personal stories, and online activities.
- The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction, a curriculum designed for high school students (grades 9 to 12).
These materials are available free of charge from NIDA. Other free materials
available at www.backtoschool.drugabuse.gov
are drug fact sheets, booklets, and the recently updated Preventing
Drug Abuse among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide
for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders. Items also may
be ordered from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug
Information at 1-800-729-6686.
Since October 2002, NIDA's partnership with Scholastic, the global children's publishing and media company, has expanded the ways students and teachers receive information in their classrooms about the health effects of drug abuse. As part of the in-school education program Heads Up: Real News About Drugs and Your Body, Scholastic classroom magazines including Junior Scholastic® and Science World® featured science-based articles on drug abuse, reaching nearly 7 million middle school students monthly. For the 2003-2004 school year, NIDA and Scholastic have developed a new education program, which provides students and teachers with information on stimulants, hallucinogens, medications abuse, and how drug abuse and addiction can have an impact on the developing adolescent brain. Teachers will also receive a reusable "skills book" based on information in the articles, which can be used as a supplementary teaching tool in the classroom.
"NIDA is back to school to stay," Dr. Volkow said, noting that new curricula are in the works. By next fall, NIDA hopes to offer additional elementary grade curricula for Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientists Program, which now contains modules for grades 2 to 3. "Science education, especially in the field of drug abuse and addiction, is dynamic," concluded Dr. Volkow. "We want to convey that excitement, while keeping students and their parents, teachers, and school counselors informed of the latest findings our research offers."
NIDA encourages all adults involved in the lives of children to visit www.backtoschool.drugabuse.gov to download or view its educational resources. Items can be ordered on line or from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes
of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports
more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects
of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety
of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information
and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the
health effects of drugs of abuse and further information on NIDA
research can be found on the NIDA web site at http://www.drugabuse.gov.