Evidence Soup
How to find, use, and explain evidence.

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Monday, 08 November 2010

Shattering myths and communicating the evidence: National Drug Facts Week looks at the science behind drug abuse.

National Drug Facts Week - challenge The National Institute on Drug Abuse (a U.S. government agency) sponsors programs to communicate evidence about drug abuse and addiction. This is National Drug Facts Week, a campaign to get information to young people.

The organization has a NIDA for Teens site, covering the science behind drug abuse, and a blog called Sara Bellum (cute). There's also a Drug Facts Week web site and a Facebook page. NIDA is on Twitter at @NIDANews (using hashtag #drugfacts2010 for this week).

November 9th is the annual Drug Facts Chat Day, when NIDA scientists have a Web chat with teens asking questions about drugs.

National Drug Facts Week - quiz What's your IQ? Anyone can test their knowledge on drug abuse by taking the Drug IQ Challenge.

For instance, "What substance is most abused by high school seniors?" Marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, or ecstasy?

There's a contest (in conjunction with the Grammy Foundation) asking young musicians to submit original music and videos celebrating healthy living, or depicting the dark side of drug abuse. Who knows, maybe someone will write something on par with The Needle and the Damage Done, my personal favorite in that category.

Young people are the audience for the Drug Facts Week information. NIDA doesn't always list references for the evidence, such as in the Drug IQ quiz (they're trying to raise awareness, not write research papers). However, the Sara Bellum blog provides plenty of specifics about the science. As an example, the post First get drug smart, then think twice. presents information in plain-language terms and then links to scientific details.
Myth: "If I smoke cigarettes now and then, I won’t get addicted."
Think twice: "Each puff of a cigarette gives a smoker about 1 to 2 milligrams of nicotine.  Although that may not seem like much, it is enough to make someone addicted." bit.ly/cvgZvd
Following that link, the tobacco addiction page provides diagrams, scientific information, and references.

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