Since 1991, surveys have shown significant increases in the use of drugs by young Americans. At the same time, perception among young people that drug use is dangerous and wrong has declined dramatically. The Monitoring the Future study, funded by NIDA and conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, has been surveying drug use and related attitudes of America's adolescents since 1975. The 1995 survey found that use of illicit drugs by high school seniors increased by 10% from 1991 to 1995.
"Our research shows that accompanying this upward trend in drug use is a significant erosion in anti-drug perceptions and knowledge among young people," says Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director of NIDA. "This is why we are pleased that so many teachers are working to arm students with knowledge about drugs and their harmful effects," he continued. Richard K. Delano, Director, Youth Health Initiatives, Scholastic Inc. said, "Scholastic Inc. is pleased to work with NIDA in providing credible, research-based information and anti-drug activities which will reach more than 73,000 third through sixth grade teachers and 2.3 million students." The poster/teaching guide and parent guide will be included with the November 1 issue of Scholastic News being sent to grades 3 through 6.
The parent guide provides a wealth of information in 4 pages. It answers some basic drug questions in easy to understand Q & A form. It provides facts about inhalants, tobacco and marijuana -- three commonly abused drugs -- and provides activities for parents and kids to do together to learn about drugs. The guide also lists the five messages that need to be conveyed to all children, clearly and consistently: (1) drugs are dangerous and unhealthy; (2) not everyone uses drugs; (3) drugs can harm your entire body, (4) the more you take drugs, the more you harm yourself; and (5) do something positive instead of taking drugs.
The large, colorful classroom poster features cartoon schoolchildren sending anti-drug messages including: drugs are for losers, drugs slow you down and mess you up, and cigarettes stink and cause air pollution. On the flip side of the poster is a teaching guide that provides teachers with background information on drug abuse and a variety of cross-curricular classroom activities that raise students' awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and build important life-skills.
NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, supports over 85% of the world's research to increase knowledge and promote effective strategies to deal with the health problems and issues associated with drug abuse and addiction. Scholastic Inc. has had over 75 years of experience in education publishing. Its products, including magazines, books and an education channel, are used by over 90% of the nation's elementary, middle, and high schools.
For more information about this project, contact the NIDA Press Office at (301) 443-6245. NIDA Media Advisories and other materials information are available on the NIDA Home Page at http://www.nida.nih.gov.