NDAFW Helps Teens, Parents, Educators Talk About Addiction

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NDAFW

As a backdrop to Nic Sheff’s presentation this week at the Pioneer Center, Renown Health wants to make parents and teens aware of National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), being held through Jan. 27. Here’s what NDAFW is and also some resources for teens and their parents.

Q: The brain is particularly vulnerable to damage from alcohol while it is still developing. Until about what age does the brain continue to develop?

  • A. Until around age 18
  • B. Well into the 20s
  • C. Around age 35
  • D. Until around age 1

The answer: B. In fact, alcohol can alter brain development until well into a person’s 20s, potentially affecting the brain’s structure and function. This may cause cognitive or learning problems later in life — which is especially a risk when people start drinking heavily while young.

This question and answer — along with about a dozen others — are available in the interactive online National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge as part of the ninth annual National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), held Jan. 22-27, 2019.

What Is NDAFW?

This week-long observance gives people — especially teens and pre-teens — the facts about how drugs and alcohol can affect them, while simultaneously dispelling popular myths. The goal: to give young people the facts about addiction and addictive substances, so they can make better, more fully informed decisions.

The recent Monitoring the Future survey, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), found that marijuana and e-cigarettes are more popular than regular tobacco cigarettes among teens. This will be just one of the concerns addressed during the annual NDAFW event called National Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day, where hundreds of high school students participate in a live online chat with National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists on drug and alcohol use.

In the last 10 years, scientists and science writers with expertise in addiction have answered more than 104,000 questions from teens, with questions like:

  • Are e-cigarettes healthier than regular cigarettes? 
  • Is marijuana really addictive? 
  • Are over-the-counter drugs as dangerous as illegal drugs? 
  • How does alcohol affect the brain?

To see an example of this valuable Q/A session, check out the 2017 Chat Day Transcript.

RELATED:  Introducing: Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute

Resources: Conversations about Addiction

Here are a few other resources for teens, parents and educators:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Education, increases in alcohol, drug and substance abuse across the country have significantly impacted K-12 school-age students as well as those pursuing postsecondary education. Visit this page to see a list of the warning signs that may indicate that an elementary, middle or high school student is impacted by opioids, alcohol and other substance use.
  • To learn more about the U.S. national opioid crisis and find information and resources on how schools, students and also parents of students can help fight this epidemic, please visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website at Combating the Opioid Crisis: Schools, Students, Families.
  • The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers drug prevention tips for every age, including scenarios and scripts.
  • NIDA’s media guide with questions and answers about drug use and addiction can be found here.  
  • For details about NDAFW, visit this page.

NDAFW is coordinated by the NIDA and also the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the NIH.

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