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Coalition Announces Anti-Drug Campaign

October 29, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A new anti-drug media campaign targeting Hispanic youth urges their parents to talk to children about the dangers of marijuana and other illegal drugs.

The initiative, announced Wednesday, will be partially funded by $31 million in federal money for anti-drug efforts by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The rest will come from public and private organizations.

The campaign focuses on the use of marijuana by Hispanic teenagers, who showed the highest rate of use among different ethnic groups and whites, according to a study done for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The marijuana available today is much stronger and potentially more dangerous than the variety that was circulating in the 1960s, when the drug became popular, said John P. Walters, head of the federal drug office.

``This is not the marijuana we saw at Woodstock,″ Walters said.

Teenagers seeking treatment for marijuana dependency outnumber treatment requests for all other illegal drugs combined, Walters said.

The campaign includes an open letter to Hispanic parents urging them to learn more about the dangers of marijuana. The letter will appear in 84 newspapers in 43 metropolitan areas around the country this week. The letter is signed by leaders of 11 top health, education and advocacy organizations.

In addition, three television ads are slated to be aired in Hispanic markets, and the Hispanic food company Goya will help distribute a bilingual booklet aimed at educating parents about drugs.

The booklet and other information can be obtained at the campaign’s web site or an alternative Spanish-language web site. Booklets also can be obtained by calling the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 800-788-2800 for English or 877-SIN-DROGAS in Spanish.

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On the Net:

National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: www.LaAntiDroga.com, www.mediacampaign.org

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