‘Brain Power’ Supports Online Anti-Drug Program

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has developed new elementary school-level curriculum called “Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientists Program” (online at www.drugabuse.gov/JSP/ JSP.html). The Web-based program, designed for second- and third-graders, focuses on the biological effects of drug abuse. The goal of the program is to lay the foundation for future scientific learning and substance abuse prevention efforts by providing an early-elementary age audience with a basis of knowledge and critical-thinking skills. The curriculum consists of six modules, including “O'ey Go'ey! Making Sense of Scientific Inquiry,” which introduces students to the steps of scientific inquiry and “Medicines and Drugs: What’s Helpful, What’s Harmful,” which teaches students the differences between medicines and drugs.

“Research has shown that the highest risk periods for children initiating drug use are as they move from one developmental stage to another, or when they experience important transitions in their lives,” said Dr. Glen R. Hanson, acting director of NIDA, in a press release. “Since the first big transition for children is when they leave the security of their families and enter school, it is important to educate them about the dangers of abusing drugs.” The program, based on the National Science Education Standards, encourages scientific exploration, and the development of hypotheses, interactive work and presentations. “Brain Power!” is available online, and a limited number of free hard copies are available by calling (800) 729-6686.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, www.drugabuse.gov.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.

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