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Drug Facts Week Encourages Kids to Talk to Experts

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With the issue of legalizing marijuana as top news, the LiveFree! Coalition of Pinellas, which raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County, joins the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in encouraging educators, community groups and parents to participate in the fourth annual National Drug Facts Week from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, 2014.

“Drug addiction has caused irreparable damage in families and communities across Pinellas County,” said Chief Dorene Thomas, the chair of the LiveFree! Key Leaders Council. “This initiative is a prime opportunity for all members of our community to take stand against teens and young adults from ever experimenting with illegal drugs. Intervention and treatment are critical approaches to reduce use, but prevention is the most effective and efficient way to eliminate the hurt that drugs can cause.

National Drug Facts Week encourages and stimulates community-based events where teens ask questions of addiction scientists or health experts. Events can be sponsored by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, and hospitals. Topics for discussion include the science behind illicit drug use, prescription drug abuse, and use of alcohol and tobacco. Event holders who register will receive free booklets with science-based facts about drugs, designed specifically for teens. The event registration site is http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov.

“All over the country, communities have been asking for non-judgmental information about drugs that will engage teens,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “This week-long observance gives us an opportunity to come together as a nation for one week to focus on the science behind drugs and clarify many myths about addiction fostered by our popular culture.”

NIDA provides an online toolkit that advises teens and their adult advisors how to create an event, publicize it, find an expert, and obtain scientific information on drugs. NIDA supports event holders by offering its popular teen booklet, Drugs: Shatter the Myths, free of charge as well as the online 2014 National Drug IQ Challenge, a 10-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs.

Also during National Drug Facts Week, NIDA scientists will hold their annual Web chat with teens around the country. Drug Facts Chat Day will be held Jan. 28 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Further details on the popular annual chat, including registration information and transcripts from previous years, can be found at http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/chat.

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