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Entire State Urged To Pause for ‘Moment’ Against Drugs

October 24, 1990

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A coalition of business and political leaders wants Connecticut residents to stop what they’re doing for five minutes Thursday morning to think about drug abuse.

The group, called Drugs Don’t Work, has organized ″The Moment of Consciousness,″ to last from 10:55 a.m. to 11 a.m. It’s being promoted with radio, television and newspaper public service announcements across the state.

″For five minutes, businesses will stop ... schools will stop ... TV and radio programming will be interrupted,″ the television ads say. ″We’re asking you to do one more thing in your life to fight substance abuse.″

Donald Streater, a recovered heroin addict who once worked on the U.S. House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, said a pause is a good symbol of drug abuse.

″It would seem to dramatize what happens when one takes drugs - everything stops and nothing gets done,″ he said.

The event coincides with a nationwide effort in which anti-drug organizations are asking people to wear red ribbons this week. But William Kauffman, president of Drugs Don’t Work, said the Connecticut effort is unique.

″We don’t know of anyone in the nation who has tried to stop a state - or at least make it pause,″ Kauffman said.

More than 1,300 schools and businesses have agreed to participate, representing more than 400,000 of the state’s 3.3 million residents, organizers said.

In Bethel, town officials have proclaimed ″The Moment of Consciousness Day″ and plan to ring church bells and turn on the lights of town vehicles.

At an Allstate Insurance office in Farmington, more than 100 workers plan an anti-drug rally.

William Olds, executive director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, criticized the effort for not placing enough emphasis on treatment and on fighting abuse of legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

″I think some people would argue there are better ways to influence the public,″ Olds said. ″But I can’t think of an alternative.″

Programming on Connecticut television stations will be replaced by a pre- recorded message from ABC anchorman Peter Jennings during the moment.

The message will include toll-free numbers viewers can call to register their commitment to fighting substance abuse or get information about drug treatment.

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