November 10, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Mental Health, Department of


MONTGOMERY – According to a recent survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2009 a third of U.S. high school seniors reported using an illicit drug sometime in the past year. In an effort to reduce this statistic, NIDA is sponsoring the first annual National Drug Facts Week, which runs from November 8- November 14. This new health observance week for teens aims to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. Through community-based events and activities on the Web, on TV, and through contests, NIDA is working to encourage teens to get factual answers from scientific experts about drugs and drug abuse.

The Alabama Department of Mental Health is encouraging teens across the state to get the facts about drugs and drug abuse. In Alabama, approximately 11 percent of youth ages 12-17 reported past month use of an illicit drug, according to a 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health study. In 2008, more than six percent of 12th graders reported cocaine use during the past month and among those same students, the average age of first use of marijuana was 14 years old, according to an Alabama Pride survey.

This data shows that some teens are not aware of the risks of drug abuse. Even for those teens who do not abuse drugs, they may have friends or family who do, and may be looking for ways to help them. National Drug Facts Week encourages teens to get the scientific facts about drugs so they will make healthy decisions for themselves and share this information with others.

Prevention providers throughout the state will take part in this observance by educating youth in their areas or hosting events. In Birmingham, five prevention providers will host National Drug Facts Week events at six different public libraries. The Cherokee County Substance Abuse Council is sponsoring a poster and side-walk art contest using the “Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths” booklets at Gaylesville High School. They will also have a representative present at several middle and high school assemblies throughout the week taking questions and providing information about drug abuse. The CED Mental Health Center, based in Attalla, Alabama, will have prevention specialists present at approximately ten middle school assemblies and youth organization meetings throughout the week. The Dothan-Houston County Substance Abuse Partnership will provide drug abuse statistics during the daily announcements that week for all schools in Dothan City and Houston County.

The NIDA is providing several opportunities to educate teens throughout the week. In addition to booklets and materials teens can access on their Web site, they are encouraging teens to take the National Drug IQ Challenge. This quiz, which is available at all week, is designed to test their knowledge on drugs and drug abuse. NIDA also hosted a Chat Day Event online on November 9th. This annual event that began in 2008 had NIDA scientists participating in a Web chat with thousands of teens across the country asking questions about drugs.



For information on substance use disorders and treatment in Alabama, contact ADMH’s Substance Abuse Services Division at 334-242-3961 or visit

For more information on National Drug Facts Week, visit

NIDA operates a Web site just for teens, with information about drug abuse, at

  • For more information, visit
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here