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Drugs & Health Blog

Association of Women in Forensic Science

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Antoinette T. Thwaites

The idea for me hosting the event for the National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) came from my career as a forensic chemist—that is someone who examines drugs and chemical evidence related to crimes. In my job, I have direct contact with analyzing controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other illicit and diverted drugs.

I am also a training coordinator. One of my duties in this role is to interact with high school students, but I noticed a lot of them use street slang terms for drugs and are misinformed about drugs of abuse.

Since I’ve ordered publications from NIDA in the past to assist with my drug education program, I was on the Web site recently and noticed National Drug Facts Week: Shatter the Myths advertised there. I was immediately intrigued by this initiative because I have been analyzing drugs for 10 years, I love what I do, and I express that by giving back to the community and sharing my knowledge about forensic science and drug education.

The first NDFW event held in Philadelphia will be at the recreation center in the community that I grew up in. The planning process required me to reach out to various businesses, schools, community centers, and radio stations. So far I’ve been a little discouraged because not everyone will support your cause, but what motivates me is my passion for what I do. I'm also motivated by this quote: “My hunger for success is fueled by my passion." :-)

So, if you are a teen and live near the area, you’re more than welcome to participate!

Antoinette T. Thwaites is a Laboratory Program Scientist and a founder of the Association of Women in Forensic Science. She also serves as a training coordinator for the Philadelphia Police Department/Forensic Science Center.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


women are specal and they are the ones not to be doing drugs, i think teen girls should read this.


Hi Antoinette
I enjoyed reading your post. I too have worked with drug users and the peer pressure and fun that kids associate with drugs needs to be addressed. We seem to be chasing our tails and trying to band aid the problem. I think its great what your doing and starting at the grass roots before the trouble begins. Keep up the good work and good luck with the venture
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Education is the key and working with young women earlier rather than later is the key.
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my favorite blog

I have seen the results that drugs leave. All of us need to learn more about this subject so we can help those affected by drugs.

I fully support the work you are doing. No one like you can explain to young people the consequences of drug abuse.

I think it's very important that these tasks are carried out teaching in schools; (often parents don´t know how to answer the questions or young people are not dared to ask) who are professionals who give them talks: psychologists, pedadgogos, forensics or even people who have used drugs and are now rehabbing. They must be clear that should be far from the world of drugs and learn to relate to people not harmful.

Marta [commercial link removed, per guidelines]