NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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Sara Bellum Blog

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to go for the facts about drugs. At NIDA, we learn from science—not from rumors or gossip. Ask the questions, look for the facts, and think hard about what you find out and what it means for you.

A collection of growing khat shrubs.

Let’s Talk About Khat


Sara Bellum
April 23, 2014

Never heard of khat (pronounced “cot”)? That’s okay—not many people in the United States use it (its use isn’t measured, so we don’t know the exact numbers). Read More »

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girl crunching a walnut with a bowl of walnuts below her

Word of the Day: Cerebral Cortex

Sara Bellum
September 01, 2009

What do walnuts and our Word of the Day have in common? Well, it’s a stretch, but fun to think about. If you crack open a walnut carefully, you can see it has two “sides”—just like the human brain. And that’s where our “word of the day” comes in. Read More »

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In the Game of Life, Nicotine is a Big "Scratch"

Sara Bellum
August 27, 2009

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Teen boy in his car

Four Tips to Avoid Drinking, Drugs, and Driving

Sara Bellum
August 25, 2009

Okay, say you’re at a party. The friends you came with have been drinking, but you haven’t. When it’s time to head home, you’re nervous—you’ve heard all about drunk driving and how dangerous it is. Read More »

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National HIV Testing Day - June 27

A New HIV Case every 9 ½ Minutes

Giselle, NIDA Intern
August 19, 2009

Every 9 ½ minutes: that's how often the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that someone in the U.S. gets infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In the next 10 minutes, someone will get HIV—and it could be your friend or someone in your family. Read More »

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The Growth of the Teenage Brain From Age Four to Twenty-One

Who Has More Brain Power--You or Your Parents?

Sara Bellum
August 17, 2009

NIDA scientists are always saying that teens shouldn’t use drugs, tobacco, or alcohol. But do you know why they say that? Because of scientific studies like this one by Dr. Jay Giedd, which shows that your brain won’t reach its adult potential until you’re over 20 years old. Read More »

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