Overwhelming Response to NIDA's First Chat Day
Students are craving accurate information on drug abuse and addiction. That's the conclusion we drew from the groundbreaking online chat with high school and middle school students last month. In all, there were more than 36,000 questions from schools in 49 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. At times, the questions came in as rapidly as 6,000 questions per hour!
NIDA partnered with Scholastic, a popular in-school publication service, to promote NIDA's Drug Facts Chat Day 2007 through school distribution lists. Some schools advertised the event on their own initiative.
More than 40 scientists and science writers who specialize in addiction issues took turns throughout the day to answer questions as they were posted during a ten-hour period. Dr. Nora D. Volkow answered more than 100 questions herself.
More than ten percent of the questions focused on marijuana, another ten percent on alcohol, and another ten percent on smoking. More than 600 teens asked how they could get help for a friend, and nearly 400 teens asked about the effects of using drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. There were thousands of more general questions, from "What drugs are the worst for you?" to "Why do people take drugs?"
While a lot of schools were not able to get their questions answered due to the high volume, teachers were able to use the chat as a useful teaching tool. "I think the scientists did an excellent job of answering questions in a very professional manner and very cordial. This was an outstanding event and I am so glad to hear that you will be doing this again" one teacher commented.
Plans are already underway for Drug Facts Chat Day 2008.
The Chat Day transcript has been posted online at drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/chat
NIDA at the White House
The White House was the setting for the release of the 2007 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey results. Dr. Volkow was invited to participate in a presidential press briefing, along with John Walters, the director of ONDCP. NIDA's Dr. Wilson Compton, Carol Krause and Dr. Lloyd Johnston, the PI from the University of Michigan, were also in attendance at the event, which included community activists and youth leaders. President Bush highlighted the decline in past-month youth drug use from 2001-2007, and also talked about the challenges that remain, such as the abuse of prescription pain killers.
MTF activities continued at the National Press Club, where Dr. Cindy Miner hosted a briefing on NIDA constituents by Dr. Marsha Lopez. The NIDA press team arranged for press interviews and a Q&A session with Drs. Volkow, Compton and Johnston. Dr. Volkow also went to the CNN studios to record an interview that aired on the Lou Dobbs program later that evening.
The Monitoring the Future survey received wide media coverage, and was highlighted by most of the major news outlets including: USA Today, Associated Press, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, as well as numerous television and radio stations.
If you'd like to see and hear more, select the appropriate link below.
Vodcast of Dr. Volkow's remarks about MTF 2007
Interview on NIH Radio
View press release.
NIDA Notes Vol. 21, No. 4
The latest issue of NIDA Notes has been published. The lead story looks at the neuropeptide orexin and links to the reward system. The Director's Perspective reports on NIDA's role in the NIH obesity task force, and a NIDA at Work feature reports on the Division of Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioral Research.
The NIDA Notes Reference Article provides a primer on the impacts of drugs on neurotransmission.
NIDA Notes is distributed to over 93,000 subscribers.
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