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The National Drug Facts Week Event Toolkit

Getting Started | Activities | Register Your Event | Spread the Word About Your Event | Resources

Getting Started: 6 Steps to Hosting a NDFW Event

National Drug Facts Week is a collaborative effort between organizations, adult advisors and local teens.

The best way for you to help shatter the myths about drugs is to host an event in your community with a scientific expert and/or NIDA's scientific materials, so teens can ask questions about drugs and get real, factual answers.

All National Drug Facts Week Events should:

Are you up for the challenge? Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Step 1: Find an Adult Advisor
Step 2: Brainstorm an event
Step 3: Find an Expert
Step 4: Register your event
Step 5: Order Your Materials
Step 6: Spread the word

Step 1: Find an Adult Advisor

The first step to hosting a National Drug Facts Week Event is to find an adult advisor who can help. You will need an adult advisor to register your event and get it approved for posting on NIDA's website. An adult advisor should be part of a larger organization interested in helping to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. The advisor could be a teacher, a church group advisor, a coach, a PTA member or any adult excited about National Drug Facts Week.

If you need help finding an adult advisor, you can start by asking an adult you see regularly, like a favorite teacher, school counselor or coach. If there is no one you have in mind, the next best option is to contact an organization in your community that works with teens. Organizations that will be interested in working with you include high schools, local non-profit organizations, state or local health departments, the PTA, churches, after school sports clubs or other community based organizations. After you find an organization to work with, people within that organization can match you up with an adult advisor.

Ask your adult advisor to visit the Adult Advisors section for more information. Now it's time to start recruiting a group of committed teens to help plan your event!

Step 2: Brainstorm an event

You have your team in place—now it’s time to figure out what type of event would work best for your school or community. Take a look at the Activities section for ideas on events. You can also start by thinking about where you want to host your event (e.g., school football field/auditorium, community center, etc.) and then figure out what kind of events would work in that space. Work with your adult advisor to get permission to hold an event and to find a place to have the event. Once you’ve decided what event you will do, divvy up the tasks and you are on your way!

Step 3: Find an Expert

You’ve got the team and you’ve got the event idea. Now it’s time to find an Expert for your event—after all, it’s not National Drug Facts Week unless you have an expert on hand to answer questions with factual answers! There are likely experts in your area who have a professional background in the science of drugs or drug abuse. The key is finding the right one for your event. Luckily, there are great resources in your community or on the web that can help you find a local expert. In the section below we give you ideas on how to find experts through:

  1. Local Colleges and Universities
  2. Local Hospitals
  3. Local Health Departments


1. Local Colleges and Universities:
Professors and researchers studying addiction and substance abuse at local universities can be great experts or advisors for your events! Go on to your local university’s website to find departments that might be interested in working with you—search for drug abuse, addiction, psychology, psychiatry or neurology.

2. Local Hospitals:
Most hospitals will be able to link you with people who are experts in treating drug abuse. Call the main hospital number and ask to be linked to the psychiatry or mental health department. If they don’t have someone on staff who can be an expert for you, they can give you the name and number of someone at a local treatment center.

3. State and County Health Departments:
State and County Health Departments can connect you with local programs and people who are focused on drugs and drug abuse science. Research your state or local health department website to find who might be interested in working with you on your event. Most state or local health departments have programs that work specifically with teens or communities, often on drugs and substance abuse.

Step 4: Register your event

Be sure you and your adult advisors register your event and get it approved for posting on NIDA's website. You can also check out other NIDA events around the country! Use the Drug Facts Facebook page to publicize your NIDA NDFW event and to connect with other events nationwide. Don’t forget to send us to some pictures so we can show the nation your hard work!

Step 5: Order Your Materials

Step 6: Spread the Word About Your Event!

OK-so you have the world’s best idea! Now it’s time to get your event noticed and get teens to participate! The first step is to let NIDA help you publicize your event—tell us about it by registering and getting it approved for posting on NIDA's website! Once your event has been approved for posting on the NIDA website it will appear on NIDA’s Events map. Be sure to use the cool National Drug Facts Week logo as part of your advertisement.

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Advertise to your friends and community

Talk about it, Tell everyone you know
The best way to get people to come to your event is to talk about it with your friends and community members. Hand out our "Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths" booklet, along with a flyer advertising your event to get people excited. You can even make a sticker about your event and put it on the back cover of the "Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths" booklet. Make sure you put all the important details on your flyer – who, what, where, when, and why is a good place to start! Putting your posters and flyers up around your school and town is also a great way to get noticed.

Go Electronic
Advertise to your friends on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, your blog, or other community message boards you belong to. Do a giant e-blast to everyone you know who has an e-mail address! Ask people you know on school sports teams and clubs to spread the word to their teammates and friends. Ask your teachers to send it around to their co-workers and friends. Link your Facebook page to our Drug Facts Facebook page. Describe your event via tweet or create a commercial on YouTube – you could put this commercial on your morning announcements at school! One more thing---does your school have an electronic homework site? Ask the principal if you can post it there! Use the cool National Drug Facts Week logo to get attention!

  • (If you're Tweeting about NDFW, be sure to use our hashtag #drugfacts)

Promote to the Media

Generate some buzz for your event in the press! Media outlets such as your high school newspaper or newsletter; local news stations; local radio programs; your city newspaper; and popular online publications are all interested to see what you’ve been up to. Remember to send them the National Drug Facts Week logo!

Develop a key message to deliver to the media
Before you contact any media, you need to have a strong and clear message. Think about what you will say to reporters so that the media will understand what you are trying to accomplish with your National Drug Facts Week event. Check out our FAQs for key points.

Key message should:

  • Be short and easy to understand. (“Here’s a chance to ask questions and get real answers about drugs!”)
  • Explain to media why you have asked them to cover your event. (Use a fact about teen drug use you find on the NIDA Web site.)
  • Spread the facts related to your event. (Who, What When and Where)
  • Inspire people to take action. (Tell them they can make a difference and even save lives!)

Make it clear to the press that your event provides a safe, honest environment to discuss drugs and drug abuse.

Create an effective media list
After you’ve created your key messages, assemble a list of media you will contact. Make a list of all local TV stations, radio stations and newspapers:

  • Each station and newspaper has reporters that cover different kinds of news. Think about which ones might be most interested in your event.
  • For newspapers, start with the “metro” or “local” reporters. You could also contact health, youth, education, and lifestyle reporters. Look for names of reporters in those sections, or call the newspaper to get their names.

Distribute press materials
Customize these sample press materials with details from your event and use them as inspiration for your own press materials:

Press Release: A press release announces news that will come out as part of your event. You can send a press release a day or two before, the day of, or the day after your event. Include details such as how many people will be/were there, and why. It should be written as if it is the news story itself and follow up with a phone call after you send it! Sample Press Release [MS WORD]

News Advisory: A news advisory tells the media about an upcoming event and advises the media to cover it. It should only be one page and include specific “who, what, when, where, why” information, plus some general info on your organization. Sample News Advisory [MS WORD]

Letter to the Editor: An effective letter to the editor should be related to a recent story in the news. It should express your opinion and you can reference your event as a supporting point. Be sure to include your age, address and phone number! Sample Letter to the Editor [MS WORD]

Once you’ve completed these materials and they are approved by your advisor, send these to your list of reporters. If you have their e-mail addresses, you can do an e-blast with these materials!

Issue a proclamation

A proclamation is an official designation of an event issued by governors, mayors, county executives, state legislators, counties, cities, or towns. It is a great way to get some public recognition!

How to get a proclamation issued
Contact your local government official’s communications office and ask what action is needed to designate January 28 - February 3, 2013 as National Drug Facts Week in your community. Contact information can usually be found online. Send them a draft of your proclamation.

What should a Proclamation say?
The proclamation should declare January 28 - February 3, 2013 as National Drug Facts Week and be signed by your local government official. This notes that he or she supports our week. The proclamation should discuss the importance of this week, as well as the importance of teens asking questions and getting good, solid scientific answers.

Take a look at our Sample Proclamation [MS WORD] and revise it to meet the needs of your community.

Then what?
Send the proclamation to local health organizations and local government officials, including the mayor or governor and encourage them to display the proclamation, especially on their websites. Then send it to us at We will post proclamations from across the country!

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National Drug Facts Week is all about asking questions, getting answers, and giving people the real info on drugs and drug abuse – but we know you can’t do it alone! Here are some resources from NIDA that can help you on your National Drug Facts Week adventure!

Myth or Fact?
Take this week as an opportunity to shatter the myths with the facts.

How can we help?
NIDA is at your service! We are here to help generate ideas for events, help you plan your event, get you connected with an expert or scientist, and provide you with other materials you might need. Please email us at with any questions you might have! We look forward to working with you.

Privacy Ground Rules
This week is all about providing a safe environment for teens to ask questions and get answers about drugs and drug abuse. Be sure to read our Privacy Ground Rules before your event!

Stayed tuned!

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