Given the opportunity to ask a scientist a question, teenagers might typically want to know the best chemicals to mix to make something explode.
Given the reality of the explosion of drug and alcohol use, scientists are being made available to answer questions from students at Whitman and Longfellow middle schools about drugs and alcohol during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, Jan. 25-31.
According to the event website, NDAFW is a national health observance for teens and is designed to promote local events using science from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to 'shatter the myths about drugs.'
The week-long event allows teens to ask experts questions about drugs and alcohol and get scientific answers. The event is organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which are both part of the National Institutes of Health.
'As part of the NDAFW celebration, we plan to host a Wheel of Fortune type event during each school's lunch time to help educate our youth and their families about the risks of drug and alcohol use and abuse,' Fred Robinson, Tosa United coordinator for the Wauwatosa School District, said.
Robinson said about a third of high school seniors report having used an illicit drug in the past year with more than 10 percent reporting non-medical use of narcotic painkillers.
He said, however, that drug and alcohol use is not on the rise in local schools 'from what we can tell.' Robinson said the concern is more with prescription drug abuse, opiates in particular.
'It's really a proactive approach,' Robinson said about the event.
Tosa United, the group that is promoting the event, encourages 'a collaborative effort to help reduce unhealthy youth risk behavior so students can focus on academic and pro-social personal growth,' according to its Twitter account.
Robinson said the group tries to reduce risky behavior 'in a way that opens up communication.' He said kids who are able to talk to parents or others who can give them factual answers to questions are less likely to use drugs.
Robinson summed up the NDAFW even, saying there are 'no scare tactics, just some facts, and (to) make it OK to talk or ask questions with parents or school staff.'