Recent epidemiologic data shows that ecstasy abuse among the adolescent population is increasing rapidly and that, simultaneously, there is a decreased awareness of how deeply ecstasy may impact brain functions. Assuming that knowledge it self may represent a direct contribute to transform life‐styles, we have used the research being carried at the IBMC on the neurotoxic effects of drug abuse, to developed a plan for a direct action in the high‐school environment. This project aimed to prevent the abuse of ecstasy among 9 grade students (14 to 15 years old), through education on neurobiology of drug abuse, emphasizing long term direct effects and consequences for daily life. The image of this campaign was considered a key‐point and we have invested in an appealing visual. Another relevant issue was the use of science‐based information during the campaign and the direct involvement of scientists in the actions. We divided the campaign in two different approaches: information diffusion by leaflets distribution and talks engaging the researchers, both using that same graphic image and covering the same contents. We have planned an evaluation strategy through direct collection of information on how the adolescents’ knowledge on the subject was improved by our involvement. Here, we describe the results obtained through the analysis of the target audience answer to several key questions. These results are obtained by comparing the answers to particular questions registered before our actions and one month afterwards. As an example, the proportion of students that correctly identified at 3 out of 5 long‐term effects of ecstasy increased from 28 to 65%, while those reporting not to be aware of the effects decreased from 49 to 19%. Highly significant differences were also observed between the two campaign strategies, showing that the presence of scientists in this kind of activities is essential for success achievement. (A) Project granted by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

A case‐study on public health and scientific knowledge interchange

Júlio Borlido‐Santos   IBMC‐ Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular

Anabela Nunes   IBMC‐ Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular

Rita Portela   IBMC‐ Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular

Teresa Summavielle   IBMC‐ Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular

Recent epidemiologic data shows that ecstasy abuse among the adolescent population is increasing rapidly and that, simultaneously, there is a decreased awareness of how deeply ecstasy may impact brain functions. Assuming that knowledge it self may represent a direct contribute to transform life‐styles, we have used the research being carried at the IBMC on the neurotoxic effects of drug abuse, to developed a plan for a direct action in the high‐school environment. This project aimed to prevent the abuse of ecstasy among 9 grade students (14 to 15 years old), through education on neurobiology of drug abuse, emphasizing long term direct effects and consequences for daily life. The image of this campaign was considered a key‐point and we have invested in an appealing visual. Another relevant issue was the use of science‐based information during the campaign and the direct involvement of scientists in the actions. We divided the campaign in two different approaches: information diffusion by leaflets distribution and talks engaging the researchers, both using that same graphic image and covering the same contents. We have planned an evaluation strategy through direct collection of information on how the adolescents’ knowledge on the subject was improved by our involvement. Here, we describe the results obtained through the analysis of the target audience answer to several key questions. These results are obtained by comparing the answers to particular questions registered before our actions and one month afterwards. As an example, the proportion of students that correctly identified at 3 out of 5 long‐term effects of ecstasy increased from 28 to 65%, while those reporting not to be aware of the effects decreased from 49 to 19%. Highly significant differences were also observed between the two campaign strategies, showing that the presence of scientists in this kind of activities is essential for success achievement. (A) Project granted by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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