National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week Educates Youth Around the World

NDAFW logo

Since being launched by NIDA scientists in 2010, National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) seeks to inspire dialogue with and among youth about drug use and addiction during one week each March; this year, it took place March 18–24. During this week, a variety of events and activities bring together scientists, educators, community organizations, health care providers, and students. The aim of NDAFW is to educate youth and young adults about what we have learned from science about addiction in a fun and age-appropriate manner, thereby helping to stop the spread of misinformation about drug and alcohol use. This knowledge empowers youth and young adults to make informed decisions about drug and alcohol use and their mental health.

Countries outside of the United States also have been participating in NDAFW for years. In 2024, 50 organizations from 21 countries, three U.S. territories, and one British territory participated. Participants were located on six continents, including Asia (India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Qatar), Africa (Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zambia), Europe (Italy, Serbia, Ukraine, and United Kingdom), South America (Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, and Guatemala), North America (Canada, Cayman Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands), and Australia. 

Organizers of these events range from governmental entities, such as the Drug and Food Control Organization in India and the National Drug Council in the Cayman Islands, and educational institutions, such as the University of Turin in Italy, to health care and other regional and local organizations, such as the Mathare Community Anti-Drugs Coalition in Kenya or the Harm Reduction Zambia Network in Zambia. Overall, they had signed up to organize 259 different events; for example, the Cuban Instituto Nacional de Higiene, Epidemiología y Microbiología held 14 events, the Prime Youths & Women Empowerment Initiative in Nigeria planned 20 events, and the National Community Ambassadors in Kenya registered an amazing 47 events!

These events covered a wide range of projects and activities. The Guam Behavioral Health & Wellness Center Prevention and Training Branch developed and implemented educational opioid overdose prevention and vaping/nicotine cessation digital banners and social media posts. In South Africa, Solution Base: Social Crime Prevention Service, in partnership with other organizations such as the South African Police Service, invited ex-prisoners and drug users to be motivational speakers visiting several schools in the area to explain the risk and danger of substance use disorder. The Nigerian organization Chen Teen and Youth Development Initiative focused on mental health issues through a school outreach program entitled “Addressing Overwhelm,” which seeks to educate students on understanding overwhelm, the various degrees of it, and steps to addressing it.

If you missed participating in NDAFW 2024, consider signing up for its observance in 2025. NIDA materials and step-by-step guidelines are available to help international drug abuse professionals plan, promote, and host NDAFW events. International organizers who want to plan NDAFW events for 2025 should register soon to obtain materials in time for the event. 

For more information, see NIDA’s NDAFW online guide.