Drug-Free to launch back to school campaign

NEW YORK: The Partnership for a Drug-Free America announced last week it will launch its "Time to Talk" campaign in August - the first in a series of initiatives designed to provide parents with information to speak to their children about the health dangers of drugs.

NEW YORK: The Partnership for a Drug-Free America announced last week it will launch its "Time to Talk" campaign in August - the first in a series of initiatives designed to provide parents with information to speak to their children about the health dangers of drugs.

The campaign is based on research showing that children are substantially less likely to abuse drugs if they learn about them at home, but only currently 30% of American children are getting the information they need.

"If we can move that number even to 50% you could make enormous change on this issue," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership. "Parents are confused, they're alone, and they feel isolated. We're putting a very heavy focus on giving them the tools they need."

The timing of the launch is based on children going back to school, when they might be faced with new experiences and face difficult decisions with drugs and alcohol. Pasierb stressed that the organization is focused on educating parents on the health risks drug abuse provides.

"If you knew your kid was a risk for lung cancer, or a risk for diabetes, you would be out gathering info about what you can do to help your child," he said. "It needs to be seen as a health risk to our youth."

The campaign has already partnered with Yahoo, through its Yahoo Groups, which the portal will provide an open community forum and other resources for parents. A Web site, www.timetotalk.org, will also be set up to give parents' tips on how to fit important topics into their already busy lives.

"Parents want to talk to other parents to see how they handle these issues," said Debbie Kellogg, director of corporate relations and alliances for the partnership. "So we are providing tools in the new media landscape that allow them to connect with one another."

Existing partnership firms Wunderman, a direct marketing and advertising agency, and Gravitas Communications will provide communications assistance on the campaign.

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