NIDA Launches Resource for Limited Literacy Visitors

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a wonderful resource for basic information about drug abuse and healthcare issues. It is designed as a government outreach for professionals and the lay public to find unbiased material and help with abuse problems. Until now, one criticism was that it didn’t target part of the population that is at higher risk for drug abuse problems – the less than fully literate.

Called “limited literacy,” members of this group either don’t read at an age appropriate level or aren’t able to read at all. A new site, launched this month, addresses this problem and also provides a resource for those with vision impairment. The site, called Easy-to-read Drug Facts combines text at a lower reading level with sound. Each page can be clicked and the contents heard, rather than read.

The press releasefrom NIDA quotes Dr. Nora Volkow (NIDA Director), “Drug abuse and addiction affects people of all reading levels, yet there are no websites with drug abuse information created specifically for adults with limited literacy. We hope this new site will inform a large segment of our population who may not have otherwise received potentially life-saving information.

The new site uses existing browser technology to play the text on each page. This is also meant to be a resource for adult literacy programs – learners can read along as they listen to the text read aloud. The text is “set” at no more than an eighth grade reading level.

Features on the site also include more graphics and video-based information. To achieve the required goal, NIDA based the content on interviews with adult learners and those seeking a GED.

The next important step will be connecting the target population with the resource. With all the competition online for “eyeballs,” that might be a harder goal to reach. Suggestions are to spread the word by linking from other resources and letting educators know the site exists.

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