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National Institute on Drug Abuse -  NIDA NOTES
Prevention Research
Volume 12, Number 1
January/February 1997

Initiative Brings Lessons To Fight Drug Abuse Into Nation's Schools and Home

The classroom poster is part of the package of materials NIDA developed with Scholastic, Inc., to foster antidrug attitudes among schoolchildren.

NIDA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Scholastic, Inc., joined forces last year to give parents, teachers, and students knowledge they need to fight drug abuse. NIDA worked with Scholastic, Inc., to design and develop a science education package of drug abuse prevention materials that provide science-based information about inhalants, tobacco, and marijuana in an easy-to-use format. The prevention materials appeared in the November 1, 1996, issue of Scholastic News, a current events magazine. That issue of the magazine was distributed to more than 73,000 of the Nation's third- through six-grade teachers and reached about 2.3 million schoolchildren and their families.

"Our research shows that the increase in drug use among young Americans that has occurred since the early 1990s has been accompanied by a significant erosion in antidrug attitudes and knowledge among young people," said NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner. "This is why we are pleased to provide important science-based information about drug abuse and addiction that parents and teachers can use to arm students with knowledge about drugs and their harmful effects," he said.

The package of materials is called "Don't Harm Yourself, Arm Yourself With Knowledge About Drugs." It consists of a classroom poster, a teaching guide for teachers, and a four-page take-home guide for parents.

The colorful 32- by 20-inch poster features cartoon schoolchildren making antidrug statements such as "drugs are for losers," "drugs slow you down and mess you up," and "cigarettes stink."

The flip side of the poster is a teacher's guide, which provides background information on drug abuse and suggests a variety of classroom activities to both increase children's understanding of the consequences of using drugs and encourage positive alternatives to drug use.

The parent guide includes key facts about inhalants, tobacco, and marijuana; easy-to-understand questions and answers that provide basic information about drug abuse; and specific suggestions of activities parents can engage in with their children to help them understand why drugs are dangerous and unhealthy.

For more information about the "Don't Harm Yourself, Arm Yourself With Knowledge About Drugs" materials for parents and for teachers, contact NIDA's Public Information Branch at (301) 443-1124.

From NIDA NOTES, January/February, 1997

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