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National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®, or NDAFW, is a week-long health awareness campaign that inspires young people to discuss the science of drug use and addiction. Scientists, students, educators, healthcare providers, and community partners come together to advance science and address young people's drug and alcohol use locally and nationally.

Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched it in 2010 to provide teens with information about why they use drugs and how to overcome them. Since 2016, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has been a partner and alcohol has been added to the week's topics. In order to spread the word about NDAFW, NIDA, and NIAAA work with leading organizations, media outlets, and other government agencies.

NDAFW: Why it's Important

According to the CDC:

  • The most commonly used substance among young people in the U.S. is alcohol.

  • In the U.S., underage drinking has become a significant public health issue. Over 3,900 lives are lost each year as a result of excessive drinking among people under 21.

  • In 2021, there were more than 106,000 drug overdose deaths reported. Synthetic opioid overdose deaths (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise in 2021, with 70,601 reported deaths.

  • According to the 2021 NSDUH national report "46.3 million people aged 12 or older (or 16.5 percent of the population) met the applicable DSM-5 criteria for having a substance use disorder in the past year, including 29.5 million people who were classified as having an alcohol use disorder and 24 million people who were classified as having a drug use disorder."

NDAFW takes place March 20th - March 26th. Help share facts about drugs, alcohol, and addiction in your community by participating in NDAFW. As part of NDAFW, youth are encouraged to discuss the science of drug use and addiction. Through NDAFW, scientists, students, educators, healthcare providers, and community partners are brought together to advance the science and address youth drug and alcohol use. Millions of Americans suffer from the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs.


There are numerous health problems associated with excessive drinking, especially heavy drinking, and binge drinking:

  • Various chronic diseases, including liver cirrhosis (damage to liver cells); pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas); cancers of the liver, mouth, throat, larynx (the voice box), and esophagus; and psychological disorders.

  • Injury caused by a motor vehicle accident, a fall, drowning, burns, or the use of a firearm.

  • Various forms of violence, including child maltreatment, homicide, and suicide.

  • Pregnant women may suffer from fetal alcohol spectrum disorders if they drink alcohol while pregnant.

  • Infant Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS).

  • An alcohol use disorder.

There is a minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) that specifies when an individual is allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages. In the United States, the MLDA is 21 years old.


Each drug affects your body differently, and the effects of each drug vary from person to person. The quality and strength of illegal drugs may vary between batches since they are not controlled substances.

An individual's response to a drug depends on:

  • The size of the body

  • The general state of health

  • Drug strength and amount

  • The timing of any other drugs taken.

  • An individual's mood or environment.

The effects of drugs are both short- and long-term. In addition to physical effects, psychological effects can also occur. Your thoughts, feelings, and actions can be affected by drugs. Educating yourself about risks can help you avoid potential harm.


There is no character flaw in addiction, it is a disease. The use of drugs is a problem for people with substance use disorders even though they are aware of its harmful nature.

In order to overcome a substance use disorder, willpower alone will not be enough. Different forms of therapy may be used to treat cravings and withdrawal as well as medication. In some cases, it may even be necessary to check into a rehab facility. The road to recovery can be challenging, but it is possible.

What happens during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®?

In honor of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®, teens are invited to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and drug use. Students, scientists, and other experts from all over the country gather at community and school events to discuss how drugs affect the brain, body, and behavior.

How can I plan an event for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®?

You can find more information on the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® Website. In its online toolkit, NIDA provides suggestions on:

Also on the site, you can register your event, and you can request free materials, such as the Drugs: SHATTER THE MYTHS booklet and the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz.

There are toolkits that explain how to conduct events that target all types of drug use, or specific types of drugs. A Spanish version of the toolkit is also available.

Who are the Federal Partners for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®?

In order to get the facts about drugs to teens in communities across America, NIDA and NIAAA work with many federal, state, and local partners. A number of partners include the Office of National Drug Control Policy of the White House, the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Department of Education, and the Drug Enforcement Administration in the U.S. Department of Justice.

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