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An Educational Blog on Drug Abuse from the Feds


The National Institute on Drug Abuse has created a new blog aimed at giving teens science-based information about narcotics and their effects on the body. The site houses health facts and detailed science information, which could prove valuable in health and biology classrooms and other settings.


Called the Sara Bellum Blog (and yes, the institute folks confirm, it's a play on cerebellum, the coordinating center for muscle movement in the brain) entries are put together by a team of NIDA scientists, science writers, and public-health analysts of all ages. It delves into the science of drug abuse and addiction, explaining the latest scientific research and news, with the goal of helping teenagers make “healthy, smart decisions.” The site also includes a glossary, facts about drugs, and real stories from teens who became abusers substances such as anabolic steroids and ecstasy. There are numerous videos with scientists talking about the impact of drugs on the body, and information available to download. “Sometimes it can be hard to know where to go for the truth about drugs,” the site explains. “Here at NIDA, we learn from science—not from rumors or gossip.”

One recent entry on the blog is called “Steroids: More than Meets the Eye,” and it gives a synopsis of muscle-building drugs’ impact on the body: They can cause acne, make your hair fall out, “damage your heart and change your hormone levels so that girls might grow facial hair, and boys could develop breasts,” the site says, adding, “seriously.” There’s also a link to a video in which NIDA scientists make detailed presentations on steroids. Another blog post discusses speculation about what impact, if any, Michael Jackson’s prescription-drug use may have had on his death.

The NIDA, a part of the National Institutes of Health, calls itself the "federal focal point" for research on drug abuse and addiction. The institute puts out a lot of resources for students, which can be accessed through the blog link above. Once you've had a look, tell me how the blog compares with other health and health-science educational resources you’ve seen. How much use would this have for teachers—and for teens?

Photo image from the Sara Bellum Blog



I just took a look at the site and it looks very interesting. But, how many "at-risk" students are really going to go to that site on their own?

If a teacher asks his/her students to read the site, what else is there for the student to do with the site?

I personally think that the site would be stronger if it included questions for a student to answer, or at least think about. Specific lesson ideas could also be developed around these blog posts.


The following is taken from our recent article on Michael Jackson:

"Lest you be confused about this drug thing, there is little difference between illegal/recreational drugs, and prescription drugs, with the exceptions being the legitimacy of the “entity” which produces them, who gets to prescribe them, and whether politicians benefit. Drugs be drugs.

"Take it from some guys who matured (arguably) during the drugs, sex, and rock and roll years. We know lots of successful doctors, business people, family people, accountants, judges, and pillars of society who once used drugs in many a form and fashion. Fortunately for most of them and for society, they appreciated that drugs might be an interesting pastime, but not a life long journey."

One of the reasons teens start using drugs is because they don't really know what they're getting themselves into. Getting the info out there would really help.

Sean is right. The sight is interesting, but how many is at risk here. Could you give an estimate. At href="http://www.stopaddiction.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&Itemid=11274&lang=en" title="Narconon">Narconon drug rehab we have an estimate of over 70% success rate.

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