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Plan Your Event

5 Steps to Holding an NDAFW Event

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW) will take place Monday, March 22nd to Sunday, March, 28th 2021. To maximize the success of your NDAFW 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.
  • Include a mix of adult and teen organizers.
    • Adults should have an interest in educating teens about healthy living, including drug use prevention. Teens have credibility with their peers and play an important role in making sure the messages and activities will speak to other teens.
  • Involve your community.
    • Consider partnering with local schools, businesses, and organizations to strengthen your event. They may help to share in the planning associated with the event or offer speakers who share motivational or personal stories.

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. Your NDAFW event can focus on a specific substance or address substance use in general. NIDA has several toolkits for events and promotional activities that are specific to the following themes: 
    • Specific drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana, MDMA, opioids and other prescription drugs, tobacco, nicotine, & vaping (e-cigarettes), new psychoactive substances (synthetics).
    • Specific populations, such as college-aged and young adults and teens in the juvenile justice system.
    • Other topics, such as drugged driving 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.
  • Choose a Location. The type of event you host may determine the location. An NDAFW event or activity can be hosted any place in your community where teens are, such as:
    • Schools, afterschool programs, community/recreation centers, or places of worship.
    • Donated space from theaters or other privately held meeting spaces.
    • Space available through your state or local health department.
    • Social media.
    • Virtual activities can be held at home.
  • Get permission to hold the event. 
    • School events. Check with the principal and any other administrator well in advance of the event.
    • Local community events. 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.
  • Determine what type of activities will work best for your space and your audience. Work with your team to create an event that works best for your school or community.
  • Include the Privacy and Confidentiality for Event Attendees Statement.

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.

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 NIDA, a component of the National Institutes of Health.

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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 use.

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 use.

    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


  • NIDA Web-Interactive Events

    Use these fun and educational web interactive activities 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 MYTHSTM,SM 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 use can damage to their body. From acne to addiction to disease and death, this interactive activity 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 addiction. 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, public health, 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 any of these disciplines would be willing to 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 use prevention. They can work with you to find a person or other resources to help bring science to your event.

Brush up on Your Drug Facts Knowledge

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

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

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Step 5: Promote Your Event!

The Promote and Enhance Your Event section has everything you need to reach the widest possible audience. 

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Get Toolkits & Activity Ideas


I want to SHATTER THE MYTHS because...
Teen girl and boy holding their Shatter the Myths Pledge CardsJoin NDAFW by sharing why you want to
Learn more

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW), an annual health observance week, connects teens with resources to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and alcohol.

There are countless activities that teens, parents, caregivers, and teachers can do that don’t involve leaving the house. Here’s a list of our favorites: 

  • Playing the new Kahoot! games with an online class or encouraging students to play the games individually. 
  • Taking the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge. Test students’ knowledge about drugs and alcohol with this short, interactive quiz available in English and Spanish that can be used on mobile devices. More than 200,000 people took the IQ Challenge last year.
  • Sharing the facts on social media. Tweet, snap, or post. Social media platforms can be powerful tools to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and alcohol. Use the new “Not everyone’s doing it” social media cards and hand-held placards.
  • Participating in the Drug Facts Challenge!, an interactive game using scientific facts about the brain and addiction, marijuana, vaping, and more.  
  • New Mind Matters Series promo

    Taking advantage of the free, science-based resources to use in classrooms and communities, or at home. These include toolkits and activity ideas on various topics; science- and standards-based classroom lessons and multimedia activities on teens and drugs; and the recently updated Mind Matters series, which helps teachers explain to students the effects of various drugs on the brain and body.

  • NIDA Toolkit for Out of School Time. This toolkit offers science-based activities and resources on drug use and addiction for educating teens during out of school time (OST). The OST setting—before and after school, in the summer, or any time teens attend a supervised program outside of the typical school time—offers a unique opportunity for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning.

Additional FREE resources:

  • The p2P Lab, funded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)/NIH, focuses on the use of “play,” in the form of videogame play, for the purposes of health promotion, risk reduction, social good, and educational interventions:
  • The play2PREVENT Lab at the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games, funded by the NIH, the FDA, and the CVS Health Foundation, was created to advance a shared mission to prevent smoking and vaping in youth through the videogame smokeSCREEN:

NIDA would love to see your NDAFW images! Please include this release form with any photographs, audio files or videos that you share with NIDA:

Interested in a topic-specific event?
NIDA also has several toolkits for events that are specific to the following themes:

We also have a general NDAFW toolkit available in Spanish.

I am one of the majority of high school studends who don't use marijuana

NEW: "Not Everyone Is Doing It" Placards (PDF, 19MB)

During NDAFW, youth have the opportunity to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and alcohol. One of the biggest myths related to drugs and alcohol is the notion that, “everyone is doing it.” According to the latest data from the Monitoring the Future Survey, we know that’s just not true for teens. Use the “Not Everyone Is Doing It” Placards to help spread this message for a variety of drug- and alcohol-related topics.

Download and print the placards (PDF, 19MB). Encourage students to hold the placards (either individually or as a group) and take photos or videos to share positive messages about healthy behaviors with other young people. 

NIDA would love to see your NDAFW images! Please include this release form with any photographs, audio files or videos that you share with NIDA: