The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has launched a new youth-targeted ad campaign to educate teens about the dangers of multiple substances, including drugs and alcohol, and help them to live “above the influence.” Rolled out last week, two new TV ads titled “Shoulders” and “Human Puppet” are airing on a mix of youth-oriented programming on Cable and Network television, in movie theaters as well as online.
The first ad, “Shoulders,” developed pro bono by Raleigh Durham-based McKinney Silver, vocalizes the thoughts that run through a teen’s mind when faced with a decision to use marijuana or other illicit drugs and alcohol. The second ad, “Human Puppet,” developed pro bono by New York-based McGarry Bowen, delivers a clear message that drugs and alcohol can cause one to lose control and become vulnerable. These two ads will be run in rotation with a third youth-targeted ad, “Fitting In,” which depicts a teen boy adopting different poses in wall cutouts while avoiding the scene of smoking marijuana. “Fitting In” was just named among the “Top 10 Most-Liked New TV Ads,” reported by the prestigious advertising trade publication, Ad Age.
Locally, organizations like yours can help teens live “above the influence” by taking advantage of the Media Campaign’s FREE materials for teens. Popular Above the Influence posters and postcards can be ordered, free of charge, by visiting www.TheAntiDrug.com/Resources or by calling 1-800-788-2800. “Shoulders,” “Human Puppet,” “Fitting In,” and a host of other teen-focused ads can be viewed by visiting www.MediaCampaign.org.
As you know, the problem with teen drug and alcohol abuse is one not just of access but also awareness. According to the just-released Parents Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America/MetLife Foundation, parents are now more aware of the risks associated with prescription drugs; parents who believe prescription drug use is a safer alternative to illicit drug use dropped from 19 percent to 10 percent. The study also showed that parents now better understand the severity of prescription drug abuse; parents who believe that prescription drugs are not addictive dropped from 24 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2008.
More than one year ago ONDCP’s Media Campaign, along with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, launched a prescription drug awareness campaign. Since then, organizations have been working to educate parents about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and these results show we are making progress. Working to keep the problem of prescription drug abuse front and center with parents nationwide, the Media Campaign recently refocused the spotlight on the problem through parent-targeted national print and television ads that are running across the country this Spring and Summer.
Those TV ads, “Drug Dealer” and “All My Pills,” can be viewed at www.TheAntiDrug.com/drug_info/prescription_ads.asp. And the print ad, titled “Cocaine,” can be viewed at www.TheAntiDrug.com/pdfs/Cocaine_RxPrint.pdf. Prescription drug abuse prevention information and free resources can be found at www.TheAntiDrug.com/Resources/teen-rx.aspx.
As much progress as has been made, there is more work to be done. The PATS study revealed that parents are more aware than ever of their ability to influence teen decisions about drugs and alcohol-but this has not yet translated into increased discussions between parents and their teens. Now more than ever, please remind parents that they are the most powerful influence when it comes to keeping teens away from drugs and alcohol. Urge parents in your community to establish clear rules and have frequent and open conversations with their teens about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, including prescription drugs.
About the PATS Survey:
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA)/MetLife Foundation PATS study is an in-home, anonymous survey of 1,004 parents of children in grades 4-12. The survey was conducted for PDFA and MetLife Foundation by deKadt Marketing and Research with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent. For more information and the full PATS Parents report, please visit www.drugfree.org.