Partnership Pushes Prevention; Inner City Youth Targeted

Article excerpt

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has launched another high-profile media campaign, aimed at inner city children. It is being hailed as the first national communications effort designed to reach urban youth.

Leading minority owner advertising firms made significant contributions to the new Inner City Program, specifically designing an ad campaign for the target audience.

A key component in the campaign is a 10 minute anti-drug film featuring original rap music. It's called "Busted," and is being shown before feature attractions in urban movie theaters. The film made its debut in New York City.

Prior to creating the campaign, the Partnership conducted the largest, most extensive research ever done on drug-related attitudes and behavior of urban youth. They involved 7,288 New York City school children, 175 national urban experts, and some 75 focus groups involving 600 children. The results indicated that many urban youth feel that they will inevitably be pressured into using and/or selling illegal drugs.

"Urban children already know that drugs can hurt them and mess up their lives, and that's an important start," said Gina Marston, director of the new project. "What is needed now is a further approach, one that addresses kids' feelings, their sense of emotional isolation on this issue. And because the drug problem in below-proverty-line neighborhoods creates such a sense of hopelessness, we've created a campaign that emphasizes the positive reality: most children are not using drugs; non-using friends and family can help resist peer pressure; and self-esteem strengthens each time kids make the choice to stay away from drugs. …