National drug and alcohol facts week in full gear

WESTCARE Pacific Islands program coordinator Frances Sablan is encouraging the community, especially teenagers, parents and educators to participate in the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week or NDAFW, which will run from Jan. 22 to 28.

The NDAFW is an event organized by National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

This is their eighth year to hold such event and the first year of the CNMI’s participation.

The NDAFW, according to Sablan, links students with scientists and other experts to give factual information and counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol.

The event will focus on providing teens with scientific facts about drugs and alcohol through the help of school and the community.

In the CNMI, Sablan said they started tapping the church through the diocese of Chalan Kanoa.

“Here in the CNMI, we started on the 20th of January. I asked Bishop Ryan Jimenez to say a Mass for those suffering from drugs and alcohol,” she said.

The highlight of the event is the annual live online chat. It is an online platform for students where they can ask scientists questions about drugs and alcohol.

The NDAFW also administers an IQ test. It is composed of 12 questions about drugs and alcohol.

“It is four pages long, and on the fourth page are the answers along with more information. It educates you. I have been educated, in terms of the topics mentioned – not just drugs and alcohol, but also how it is related to HIV, how it is related to e-cigarettes,” Sablan said.

Sablan administered the same IQ test to young people in Kristo Rai.

“I am one of the advisers in the Kristo Rai youth ministry. I had them take the IQ challenge. Some of them were a bit knowledgeable about the issue,” she said, adding that it is important to determine how much they know about drug abuse and alcoholism.

Sablan said she wanted the Public School System, the church and the youth to get involved and register for the event.

“We want to have more people, not just teens, to be educated. The goal is to educate as many people in the CNMI as possible. This is the beginning,” she said.

According to Sablan, three percent of the CNMI population has drug or alcohol problems.

“This is much lower compared to the U.S. where the figure is 10 percent of its population. However, we should not be complacent. Our prevention is worth more than the cure. The goal is to educate and prevent. We have to put out the fire,” she added.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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