By Alfa · Apr 17, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    MIAMI - Hoping to help Hispanic parents keep their children off drugs,
    Spanish language television ads will debut this week challenging parents to
    get involved in their teens' lives.

    White House drug czar John P. Walters said his office was launching the ad
    campaign in the midst of data showing particularly high rates of marijuana
    use among Hispanic eighth-graders.

    "What this campaign is about is helping to get information to more
    parents," Walters said during a news conference at Abriendo Puertas, a
    neighborhood center in Little Havana. "We understand in the youth media
    campaign that one size does not fit all."

    The ads are versions of the "Parents. The Anti-Drug" commercials that
    already air across the country. Walters unveiled two similar
    Spanish-language TV ads on Wednesday, one featuring a boy and one a girl.

    In the stark, mostly black-and-white commercials, the children ask their
    parents questions like, "Do you know what I did yesterday after school?"
    "Do you know where I'll be studying today?" and "Do you know that someone
    offered me marijuana yesterday?"

    According to statistics provided by the White House Office of National Drug
    Control Policy, one in 10 Hispanics aged 12-17 reported they've used
    illegal drugs in the past month. Hispanic eighth-graders have the highest
    rates of "past-year drug use" for most illegal drugs. However, Walters
    said, by 12th grade Hispanics have lower drug use rates than non-Hispanic

    Combating marijuana use is a priority for his office, Walters said, because
    it is not as benign as many think. He said most marijuana in the United
    States today is, on average, seven times more potent than was available in
    the 1980s. He also talked about the negative effects it can have on children.

    "Kids who smoke marijuana are more likely to end up taking other risks that
    could jeopardize their futures, such as engaging in delinquency, having
    sex, driving while impaired, using other illicit drugs," he said.

    Walters said Florida has exceeded national goals for reducing drug use.

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