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HELPING STEM DRUG USE PARTNERSHIP'S ADS SHOW INFLUENCE ON URBAN KIDS

By Published on .

NEW YORK-Inner-city drug use is on the decline, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America says its award-winning anti-drug campaign is one reason why.

A survey conducted for the non-profit group shows that in a year's time, the campaign's 30 ads helped increase awareness of risks of drug use, deglamorize the image of drug dealers and improve drug-resistance skills among children and preteens in New York.

The partnership's Inner City Initiative began in September 1992 and is still running. A number of agencies created ads for the campaign, broadcast in both English and Spanish.

"The research has national implications and tells us that advertising has a key role to play in reaching kids who are at risk in America," said Steve Dnistrian, VP of the partnership. "It also tells us that advertising can make a difference in educating kids about drugs.

The partnership is best known for its "This is Your Brain on Drugs" TV spot, featuring an egg frying in a pan. That commercial, however, wasn't part of its inner-city work.

The $100,000 survey, conducted at cost by Audits & Surveys, monitored attitudes toward drug use before the campaign's kickoff and a year after. It was conducted using anonymous questionnaires developed with help from a child psychologist.

Audits & Surveys interviewed 7,288 New York elementary school children for the survey in 1992 and 8,319 more during the follow-up research late last year.

In the two-part survey, the number who said they "might want to try drugs" fell 29%; those who said doing drugs would make them more "cool" dropped 17%; and the number who said doing drugs would make them feel poorly about themselves increased 6%.

The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

Ginna Marston, exec VP-director of research and strategic development at the partnership, said the campaign, featuring real children, met the Inner City Initiative's goals: to bolster individual resistance, diminish the allure of drug-dealing and offer positive alternatives to drug use.

In fact, this year the partnership's ad effort was the first public service campaign to be honored with the Grand Effie, the prestigious annual award for advertising effectiveness given by the New York chapter of the American Marketing Association.

The spots that captured the award were "Who Wants," created by Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, and "Long Way Home," by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

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