Real Teens Ask: Why Research?

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Why Research?

Lots of teens have questions about drugs. Each year, NIDA scientists spend a whole day chatting online with high school students and answering their questions.

At the last “Drug Facts Chat Day,” “torgo” asked:

"What made you guys (girls) want to research drugs?"

As one NIDA scientist put it, “I've always been interested in biology and psychology, so I wanted to better understand the connection between the brain and the body. Doing research gives me the chance to unlock some of the mysteries of the brain. Like, we now know our brains keep growing until we're in our mid-twenties. That’s a lot longer than what scientists believed before.”

So that research answered one question but opened up many more, like how do drugs affect a brain that isn’t fully developed? That’s what science is all about…asking questions and searching for answers!

And there’s still so much we don’t know. Maybe you will make a breakthrough discovery that will lead to cures for devastating brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or drug addiction.

If you’re interested in a career in science, maybe these tips will help:

  • Start talking. Chat with your science teachers about your options.
  • Do your own research. Visit the NIH website and look at the different kinds of research NIH scientists are doing. What grabs your attention? Why?
  • Think about the future. Look into colleges with the help of a guidance counselor. Tell your counselor about your interests in science and research—they may know of the perfect program.
  • Get experience. Once you’ve narrowed down your interests, try to get involved, volunteer at a science museum or create a science research club at school.

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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