February 24, 2016

Drug abuse professionals in 13 nations, many of them former NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows, held events in conjunction with the 2016 National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). NIDA began the program in 2010 to counteract misinformation disseminated by the Internet, television, movies, music, or friends. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism joined the effort in 2016, and the event was renamed NDAFW. More than 1,800 events were held in all 50 states, including Chat Day, which provides teens with evidence-based answers to their questions about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and mental health issues. Event organizers can download materials and planning guides from the NIDA website.

The 2015–2016 NIDA Humphrey Fellows hosted two events near the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) host university campus in Richmond, Virginia. Mariana Azcarraga, Mexico; Asia Ashraf, Pakistan; Jessica Beltran, Peru; Anthony Coetzer-Liversage, South Africa; and Rogers Mutaawe, Uganda, led the planning team for events coordinated with a local high school, VCU Library Services, Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, and the Human Services Club at Reynolds Community College. 

2014–2015 NIDA Humphrey Fellow Yu Yu Aung, Burma (Myanmar), organized several events in her country in collaboration with her organization, community youth groups, and volunteers. More than 85,000 daily readers received drug use prevention messages through Fact4Teens, a Burmese-language Facebook page providing drugs and sex education. Each post was shared about 200 times; the most popular was about glue sniffing, which received 2,500 likes and was shared by 489 readers. A post about the benefits of smoking cessation got the highest number of comments (146) and led to follow-up with posts featuring tips for stopping smoking. A poster show for four high schools attracted more than 3,000 young people, and students at another high school participated in an interactive discussion session.

In addition, NDAFW events were held in Bangladesh, the Cayman Islands, Ghana (2), India, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar (2), South Africa, Tajikistan, Uganda, Ukraine, and Zambia. Bloggers cited NDAFW in posts from Ethiopia, Sweden, and Turkey. To find out more about NDAFW, visit the website or email drugfacts@nida.nih.gov.