Plan Your Event

5 Steps to Hosting an NDAFW Event

The new date for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW) will be March 30 - April 5, 2020. To maximize the success of your NDAFW event or promotional activity, follow these 5 steps.

Step 1: Form Your Planning Team

Students from Indiana's Mishawaka High School kicked off NDAFW and took it to the hallways.

The best NDAFW teams have a mix of adult and teen organizers. Adults should have ties to an organization that strives to educate teens about healthy living, including drug abuse prevention.

NDAFW events have been held with a variety of organizations, including middle and high schools; local nonprofits and other community-based organizations; state and local health departments; PTAs; faith-based organizations; afterschool clubs; and more!

Teens have credibility with their peers and play an important role in making sure the messages and activities will speak to other teens.

Please note: Only adults age 18 or older can register NDAFW events.

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Step 2: Plan Your NDAFW Event

Hundreds of Texas Middle, High School and College Students learned the facts about drugs and alcohol at an interactive signature event for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Choose Your Topic

Interested in a drug-specific event? NIDA has several toolkits for events or promotional activities that are specific to the following themes: alcoholcollege-aged and young adults, drugged drivingmarijuanaMDMAopioids and other prescription drugsteens in the juvenile justice systemtobacco nicotine, & e-cigarettesnew psychoactive substances (synthetics) and a video toolkit, which includes a teen-friendly video showing parts of the brain and their functions. We also have a general NDAFW toolkit available in Spanish.

Location! Location! Location!

  • Identify your teen audience and the location. An NDAFW event or promotional activity can be hosted any place in your community where teens are, such as:
    • Schools, afterschool programs, community/recreation centers, churches, synagogues, mosques, or other places of worship.
    • Donated space from theaters or other privately held meeting spaces.
    • Through your state or local health department.
  • Get permission to hold the event. Be sure to check with the location’s leadership and see if there are permission forms or other requirements you need to complete. Be sure to ask who your point of contact is to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Fun and Educational Events

  • Determine what type of event will work best for your space and your audience. NIDA offers a list of great Activities to choose from, or you can work with your team to create an event that works best for your school or community.

A Safe Environment for Teens To Ask Questions

If your NDAFW event will involve teens asking questions in a public forum, NIDA encourages you to read this statement on privacy ground rules at the start of your event:

“We are very interested in what you have to say and encourage you to talk freely about drugs and drug abuse. Your privacy is also very important to us. This event should provide a safe and supportive environment. We pledge to you and each other to respect the comments and privacy of others.

In order to keep a safe environment for sharing information, we’ve set up the following ground rules:

  1. Treat everyone with respect and fairness.
  2. Avoid using real names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.
  3. Do not repeat or share personal information you hear at this event.”

EVENT TIP: Have a plan in place for appropriate intervention if a teen reveals a potentially harmful personal situation.

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Step 3: Register Your Event

Children at a NDAFW event.

2019 Registration is now closed but will reopen for NDAFW 2020 soon.

By registering, you get the following benefits:

  • Your event added to NIDA’s Event Map.
  • Connection with NIDA staff who can offer advice and answer questions.
  • Free materials from NIDA sent to you in time for your NDAFW event.
  • Increased exposure for your group because you are linked to a national project.
  • An ongoing relationship with an Institute at the National Institutes of Health that offers a window to multiple educational initiatives.

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Step 4: Secure Your Science

All NDAFW events must use science-based information to make sure the participants get the facts about drugs and drug abuse.

Use at Least One of These Scientific Sources 

  • NIDA Materials

    Check out our Order Free Materials section for science-based educational publications. These materials are a great way to prepare students before the event, to hand out at the event, or to use for posters to decorate your event. NIDA also offers many online resources about drugs and drug abuse.

    St Kitts & Nevis held an educational event in Independence square, Basseterre St. Kitts. NIDA FREE materials were on hand to help people, “Shatter the Myths®” on drugs use

    EVENT TIP: See our Teaching Guide for recommendations on how to engage teens and encourage them to learn more.

  • NIDA Web-Interactive Events

    Use these fun and educational web interactives with individuals or as part of an event utilizing a large screen for group participation.

    • National Drugs & Alcohol IQ Challenge
      Test their knowledge! Every year NIDA uses the latest science to create an interactive quiz that challenges what students know and helps SHATTER THE MYTHS® around drugs and drug use.
    • Drugs & Your Body: It Isn’t Pretty
      Developed in partnership with Scholastic Inc., this experience will ‘show’ students the ugly truth about how drug abuse can damage to their body. From acne to addiction to disease and death, this interactive features animations, audio clips, and videos that will engage and educate.
  • A Scientific Expert

    Bring your event to the next level. To help answer teens’ questions, find a local expert with a professional background in the science of drugs or drug abuse. Here are a few great resources in your community:

    • Local Colleges and Universities. Go to your local university’s website to find people in departments—like psychology, psychiatry, or neurology—that might be interested in working with you. Explain about NDAFW and see if a professor, researcher, or graduate student with a background in addiction science would be willing volunteer.
    • Local Hospitals or Pharmacies. For area hospitals, call the main hospital number and ask to be linked to the psychiatry or mental health department. They may be able to link you with an expert who treats people with substance use disorders. For pharmacies, go to your local pharmacist and explain your event and see if they or a colleague can volunteer an hour of their time to attend.
    • Local Health Departments. Check out your state or local health department website. Most have programs that focus on teens or drug abuse prevention. They can work with you to find a person or other resources to help bring the science to your event.

Brush up on Your Drug Facts Knowledge

Drug abuse is an evolving field. Take some time to brush up on your knowledge of drugs and their consequences before your event. Here are a few of NIDA’s resources to get you started, or explore the NIDA website.

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Step 5: Promote Your Event!

The Promote and Enhance Your Event section has everything you need to generate buzz for your event.

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