Shalala Features NIDA Science Education Campaign
As part of the Department of Health and Human Services' ongoing outreach efforts, Secretary Donna Shalala featured a new National Institute on Drug Abuse science education initiative at a recent press conference. The multi-phase initiative, NIDA Goes To School, was formally launched in November at the National Leadership Forum of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America in Washington, D.C. The campaign is designed to bring the latest scientific information about drugs and the brain to the nation's educators and give them key tools to use in teaching their students. NIDA's partner for this unprecedented school outreach is the National Association of Biology Teachers.
In an initial mailing for this effort, a NIDA Goes To School toolbox containing a variety of research-based materials was sent to more than 18,000 public and private middle schools across the country as well as schools at military bases.
"Science-based education about drug abuse should be a prominent part of the curriculum for all students," said NIDA director Dr. Alan Leshner. "The new initiative provides teachers easily usable, student-oriented materials to help achieve this goal."
The NIDA Goes To School toolbox contains many materials that are written specifically for students in grades 5 through 9. For example, the Mind Over Matter magazines feature the cartoon adventures of Sara Bellum, a girl who explores the brain's response to particular drugs and introduces key concepts in neuroscience. The series includes magazines on marijuana, opiates, stimulants, hallucinogens, inhalants, steroids and nicotine, along with a teacher's guide.
ATOD-TV, an interactive CD-ROM, features information on drugs of abuse in a variety of television show formats. ATOD stands for alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The CD-ROM was developed by Dr. Danny Wedding of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health with a NIDA Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award. Other materials in the toolbox include NIDA publications and fact sheets.
The institute has also created a NIDA Goes To School Web site that can be accessed through NIDA's home page on the World Wide Web. Students and teachers can use this interactive site to get more information about drugs of abuse. The site serves as a major source of feedback from students, teachers and parents. As new science education materials are developed, they will be added to the site.
All materials in the NIDA Goes To School kit, with the exception of the CD and teacher's guide, are available free from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686. The materials also can be downloaded from NIDA's home page at http://www.nida.nih.gov.
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