In communities across the country, students, teachers, and parents joined forces in NIDA’s second annual National Drug Facts Week from October 31 to November 6, 2011.
From Knoxville, Tennesee, to Siskiyou County in northern California, to La Plata, Maryland, teens gathered in school and neighborhood events to get real about drugs and addiction. In addition, teens from 71 schools from coast to coast participated in an online Drug Facts Chat Day event and submitted more than 10,000 questions to NIDA scientists.
Following are some examples of other events held around the country in honor of National Drug Facts Week.
Creating PSAs in Tennessee
In Knoxville, TN, the Metropolitan Drug Commission produced a series of public service announcements (PSAs) that Comcast Cable will air for free throughout the fall and winter.
Five teens posed questions to experts on camera to help shatter the myths about alcohol and other drugs. Topics were chosen based on the top five most commonly abused drugs in Knox County, where Knoxville is located. Those drugs are marijuana, alcohol, prescription drugs, tobacco, and inhalants. View the PSAs:
A Painted Bridge and Real-Life Stories in California
Students from a leadership class at Mt. Shasta High School in Siskiyou County, CA, painted a “grafitti bridge” to honor those who had lost their lives to drug addiction. The goal of the project was to encourage teens to get the facts about drugs, tobacco, and alcohol by visiting the NIDA for Teens Web site.
In addition, a panel of speakers spoke to teens about how their lives were affected by drug addiction and the toll it took on themselves and their community. Leon, for example, crashed his pickup truck while driving drunk 6 years ago and was in a coma for 9 days. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him with speech, coordination, and memory deficits.
The Siskiyou County Office of Education and the local public health department also sponsored a poster contest entitled, “It's a Fact.” They received close to 500 student entries. A kindergartener from Butteville Elementary School, was one of 16 winners. In all, 800 posters were professionally printed and posted around the county.
Facing the Facts at Juvenile Drug Court in Maryland
The city of La Plata, MD, applied the messages of National Drug Facts Week in a completely different way.
A crowd of more than 50 family members came to witness as two teens “graduated” from Juvenile Drug Court and had their records cleared. The teens participated in therapy and counseling in an intervention program designed to offer treatment and a chance for a clean start for nonviolent offenders who are chronic drug users between age 14 and 17.
Invited speaker Stanley Goodall, a counselor who worked with both graduates, recalled the changes that the two teens experienced and how their lives are much different now than when he first met them. “We thought the young man would be a casualty,” Mr. Goodall said. But now, with a clear record and a strong sense of purpose, he intends to join the U.S. Marine Corps.
What ideas do you think would work to share the facts about drugs and addiction at your school or in your neighborhood? What would inspire you to host an event next year so that you can make a difference?
Read about more 2011 National Drug Facts Week events.