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Professional News
NIAAA Targets Alcohol Message To Middle Schoolers
Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 3 page 26-26

Preteens can now go to a "cool spot" to learn the facts about drinking and alcohol problems.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has developed a new Web site for middle-school students aged 11 to 13 that focuses on alcohol-abuse prevention.

The Cool Spot incorporates eye-catching graphics and interactive games to get students' attention and includes information on peer pressure and how to resist it, the percentage of alcohol in certain drinks, the negative consequences of heavy drinking, and the effect of alcohol on mood, among other topics.

Children who log onto the Web site are engaged by animated characters based on a popular Japanese comic book style called anime.

After reading the site's contents, visitors can take a 10-question interactive quiz on the facts about alcohol and drinking.

The Cool Spot's content is based on a curriculum developed by NIAAA-supported researchers at the University of Michigan and designed specifically for middle-school students, according to a November 2004 NIAAA press release.

The curriculum was used in a project called the Alcohol Misuse Prevention Study, which sought to give preteens an accurate perspective about alcohol use among their peers.

"It's vital to reach this age group, because the younger people are when they start to drink, the higher their chances of developing an alcohol problem at some point in their lives," said NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D., in the press release.

The Cool Spot Web site can be accessed at<www.thecoolspot.gov>.

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