What the brain does,
In 2003, Responsibility.org, alongside a team of educators and organizations specializing in elementary- and middle schoolers, developed Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix. Ask, Listen, Learn is a completely FREE digital underage drinking prevention program for kids ages 9-13 (grades 4-7) and their parents and educators with the goal to reduce underage drinking. The information provided throughout the program guides adults with ways to start communicating with kids about alcohol and the developing brain– and how to continue talking to them as part of a lifetime of conversations. Both science and evidence-based, Ask, Listen, Learn is the most widely distributed underage drinking program of its kind.
Ask, Listen, Learn teaches kids the value in saying “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking through basic neuroscience and skills-based learning. It consist of seven animated videos and seven downloadable lesson plans that teach kids:
What the brain does,
what alcohol does to it, and
what that does to you.
This information helps to guide adults on ways to start conversations about alcohol and the developing brain now and continue them as their kids continue to grow and change.
We have always worked closely with educators and parents to learn more about the information they need and want to help kids make healthy decisions and stay alcohol-free. The Ask, Listen, Learn community of educators and parents is more than 16,000 strong, and each member’s feedback to us is invaluable.
Our community asked for new content, and we listened. In September 2020, drawing on more than 15 years of success in the prevention space and recognizing that conversations with kids are constantly evolving, Ask, Listen, Learn launched a new unit to its underage drinking prevention curriculum, focused on the effects of cannabis on the developing brain. In a survey of nearly 500 teachers and parents, 92% of respondents asked for us to create resources focused on cannabis.
Kids don’t learn in a vacuum – they’re faced with decisions about more than one challenge at a time, and they need to have resources to make the best choices they can. From discussions about drinking alcohol, to the state-by-state legalization of cannabis, to getting enough sleep, adults must help guide their kids and students by having conversations and providing factual information. We’re providing curriculum and resources to do just that.
Our latest video and corresponding lesson plan, which teach kids how cannabis affects the developing brain, presents the information in the same way the seven existing units on alcohol and the developing brain are presented. The new resources include information on the endocannabinoid system, how the developing brain and body process and breakdown cannabis, and how the developing brains and bodies of underage users react and are affected by it. In addition, this new unit includes information for educators and parents to educate themselves about the effects of cannabis on the developing brain so that conversations with their students and kids can be fact-based and effective in helping kids refuse underage cannabis use in addition to saying “NO” to underage drinking.
Program content regarding the effects of alcohol on the developing brain has been reviewed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and is consistent with currently available science.
Responsibility.org is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to leading the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking.