More than 36,000 Students Ask NIDA Scientists about Drugs and Addiction
When scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse scheduled an online chat about drug abuse and addiction with students, they expected a couple thousand kids to take part. Turns out that was a low estimate. WAY low!
Schmalfeldt: When scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse scheduled an online chat about drug abuse and addiction with students, they expected a couple thousand kids to take part. Turns out that was a low estimate. WAY low!
Condon: We were actually pretty overwhelmed and shocked that 36-thousand students actually asked us questions. We estimated probably closer to three, tops, four thousand questions. And we were just overwhelmed. It really spoke to the need out there and the interest out there in our young people getting information about the signs of drug abuse and addiction.
Schmalfeldt: That was Dr. Timothy Condon, NIDA's Deputy Director. In all, there were more than 36-thousand questions submitted to the online chat from high school and middle school students from 49 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. NIDA partnered with Scholastic, a popular in-school publication service, and promoted the chat through school distribution lists. More than 40 scientists and science writers who specialize in addiction issues took turns through out the day October 12th to answer questions as they were posted during a ten-hour period — sometimes as rapidly as six thousand questions per hour.
Condon: A lot of the young people asked how they could get help for a friend of theirs. They were asking about the effects of drugs and teen pregnancy. It was kind of a surprise to us but certainly something we learned about, not understanding what "rehab" is, and why do the celebrities come in and out of rehab so much — not really understanding what treatment is for this. It was a real positive experience also for all the people who were involved in it. They saw what they do — the research they conduct and the research they oversee — was actually having impact on educating these young people. So that was really a big benefit as well.
Schmalfeldt: Dr. Condon said plans are already underway for "Drug Facts Chat Day 2008." A transcript of this year's chat is online at www.drugabuse.gov/chat. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Timothy Condon
Topic: Drug Education