January 15, 2016

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391


DPHHS encourages participation in National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is encouraging Montana teens to participate in next week’s National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW).

Teenagers have joined forces with other teens and scientists across the nation as part of a week-long health observance, organized at the federal level by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The event takes place January 25 through Sunday, January 31.  

According to Vicki Turner of the DPHHS Prevention Resource Center, NDAFW caters to the inquisitive minds of teens by giving them a space (virtual or physical) to ask questions about drugs and alcohol and to get scientific answers from experts.  

About a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illicit drug sometime in the past year, and more than 10 percent report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller.  While drugs can put a teenager’s health and life in jeopardy, many teens are not aware of the risks. “Even for those teens who do not abuse drugs, many have friends or family who do, and they are often looking for ways to help them,” Turner said

In Montana, alcohol remains the number one drug of abuse for youth. The Montana Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA) revealed that 51 percent of 12th graders had used alcohol within the past month, and 23 percent of 12th graders had used marijuana within the last 30 days.

Each of these figures had increased from the previous PNA report. In addition, the PNA covers narcotic prescription drugs, such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet and Codeine, where it was found that 0.8 percent, 3.4 percent, and 3.9 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders respectively had used drugs such as these without a physician’s orders in the last 30 days.

 “We want teens to have the opportunity to learn what science has taught us about drug abuse, alcohol, and addiction,” Turner said. “There are so many myths about drugs and alcohol cluttering our popular culture. NDAFW is for teens to get honest answers about drugs so they can make good, informed decisions for themselves and share accurate information with friends.”

The website hosts interactive activities, videos and a blog teaching guide. Additionally, there are publications available for download, promotional resources and drug-specific toolkits. People can can take the National Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge or see the latest news and highlights as well as download statistics and infographics.

The annual online live chat held between teens and NIDA scientists is scheduled for January 26th and people may logon now to register for the chat or to register and plan an event.

For more information click here: