NIH Press Release
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Wednesday, October 8, 1997

Mona W. Brown
Sheryl Massaro
(301) 443-6245

New Science-Based Drug Education Materials
Available for Students and Teachers

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, today announced the release of Mind Over Matter, a new series of drug education materials for students in grades five through nine. Six colorful, oversized, glossy magazines that unfold into posters explore the effects drugs have on the brain and also help encourage student interest in science.

"One of the best ways of preventing drug abuse is education," said HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala. "These striking materials help young people understand the effects of drugs on the brain by demystifying their appeal and clarifying the risks of use."

The magazine-posters are designed to prompt students to avoid the use of drugs by learning about their effects on the brain. In addition, this series contains an underlying message that neuroscience is a challenging and exciting field and anyone regardless of class, race, or gender can become a scientist.

Speaking today at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) in Minneapolis, Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director of NIDA, said, "These products were created to spark the curiosity of young students and inform them with scientific research findings on the neurobiology of drug abuse."

The Mind Over Matter magazine-posters explain the effects marijuana, opiates, inhalants, anabolic steroids, stimulants, and hallucinogens have on the brain. On the magazine side, the young character Sara Bellum takes the reader on an exploration of the brain's response to one of these drugs. By the journey's end, the "magazine" has been unfolded, displaying on the reverse side an artistic photograph of a brain image with a quotation that inspires curiosity about science.

The series provides a comprehensive teacher's guide of the materials and suggested activities to encourage students in scientific discovery. Mind Over Matter was launched at the NABT conference, which attracts nearly 2,000 biology and life science educators and administrators from all grade levels.

All Mind Over Matter materials are available free-of-charge through the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686.

NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction and carries out a large variety of programs to disseminate research information. Mind Over Matter is part of NIDA's Science Education Program, which provides educators with tools to improve science education and literacy in the United States. Further information on NIDA's research and activities can be found on the NIDA Home Page at