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Research studies reveal that 53% of our youth begin drinking in the 8th grade (14 years old).

Other studies show that students who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who started drinking at age 20 or later.

The science classroom is an excellent environment to create awareness about this issue and, through the application of an inquiry-based approach, combat the problem.

Teacher teacing to kids


The NIAAA Science Education Program goals continue to evolve and currently include the following:

  • To enhance education about alcohol for students in kindergarten through 12th grade;

  • To provide instructional resources and in-service learning opportunities to teachers;

  • To stimulate the interest of precollege students in pursuing career opportunities in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, generally, and the alcohol field, specifically;

  • To provide teachers with programs that can integrate classroom concepts with engaging, real-life applications;

  • To build collaborative partnerships with agencies and organizations that will help the public; and

  • To address community problems created by alcohol use.

  • NIAAA Science Education Mission:

    To translate and apply research findings about the science of alcohol use and abuse in a variety of formal and informal educational settings.


    Better Safe than Sorry -Preventing a Tragedy - A curriculum kit, comprised of three modules on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) for middle school classroom instruction, developed by Dr. Kathy Sulik of the University of North Carolina Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, in significant collaboration with several science teachers. The kit includes:

    • Light microscopic image of a brine shrimpHard copies of implementation directions and background materials;

    • A CD-ROM with a PowerPoint presentation introducing FAS, as well as an introductory video and a step-by-step-guide of the brine shrimp lab activity*; and

    • Colorful transparencies to provide teachers with additional background information about FAS.

    *An optional demonstration or class-size brine shrimp kit to engage purposeful hands-on experiments may be ordered from the Carolina Biological Supply Company.

    Understanding Alcohol:Understanding Alcohol:
    Investigations into Biology and Behavior
    – Produced by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) and funded by NIH’s Office of Science Education (OSE) and NIAAA; the curriculum consists of six sequential, inquiry based lessons for integration into a 7th grade middle school science class. All activities fulfill the requirements of the 5 E’s Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) and meet National Science Education Standards’ (NSES) Content and Performance Standards. The curriculum includes:

    • Content on absorption and transport of alcohol in the body, as well as its biological and behavioral effects;

    • Personal and societal consequences of alcohol abuse and alcoholism; and

    • Comparison lab activities using manipulatives, intoxicated vs. sober mouse and drunk-driving simulations, followed by a capstone lesson where students use knowledge gained to explore a public policy question.

    To place orders and to download products, visit NIH Publication No. 03-5420 Printed October  2003

    FUTURE PROGRAMS         
    • Integration of the Better Safe than Sorry curriculum with programs that are working to reduce infant mortality in minority populations.

    • Development of NIAAA’s children’s website,

    • Participation in teacher focus group discussions at professional science education conferences.

    • Coordination of outreach programs with universities around the country.

    • Development of funding through other NIH science education initiatives.

    • Implementation of teacher training institutes that meet NSES standards.

    • Evaluation of NIAAA’s curriculum modules and integrated lessons.

      This is an image of five books stacked on top of each other


    R25-Grant: Alcohol Education Project Grants   - Provide funding for a broad range of educational approaches.

    Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contracts and Grants
    - Successful awardees will work closely with an education specialist/coordinator at NIAAA to align products with national teaching standards and curricula.


    NIAAA encourages your feedback and ideas on any of its programs or activities and seeks to hear from those who may be interested in developing a program through a contractual or funding mechanism. Please forward comments and questions to:

    Jason Lazarow, M.Ed.
    Science Education Coordinator
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
    National Institutes of Health
    6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 302
    Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
    Phone: 301-435-8043
    Fax: 301-480-2358