Teen Voices Central to the Above the Influence Campaign

NATIONAL 'INFLUENCE PROJECT' STOPS IN MILWAUKEE TO HIGHLIGHT POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE PRESSURES AMONG LOCAL TEENS

Jun 16, 2010, 11:30 ET from White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)

MILWAUKEE, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- White House Office of National Drug Control Policy National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign --

Milwaukee teens are part of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) new, nationwide campaign encouraging teens to engage in a conversation about the positive and negative pressures that influence their decisions.  The Influence Project is part of a new initiative of the anti-drug teen brand, Above the Influence (ATI), which emphasizes what teens do to resist drug use and stay "above" negative influences.

The Above the Influence brand has been refreshed to include broadened messaging to focus on all of the substances most abused by teens, and delivers both broad prevention messaging at the national level and more targeted efforts at the community level.  As part of the new localized approach, teens from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee participated in The Influence Project, a series of activities that allowed them to express themselves with the Above the Influence brand.  Activities range from designing the next ATI advertising, to registering their input about influences on a map posted at www.AbovetheInfluence.com/HeatMap, so everyone can get a sense of the pressures and influences teens around the country experience.  The three communities with the highest number of entries on the "Influence Map" will receive a special promotional event from the Above the Influence team in their hometown.  The Influence Project officially kicked off in the Bronx, NY and Portland, OR, last week.  Twenty other markets are slated for activities in the Fall of 2010.

Teens from the Milwaukee community revealed that influences in the media and their immediate social and physical environments – ranging from crime to others' use of drugs and alcohol – can negatively impact their ability to make healthy decisions about resisting pressure to use drugs.  "Teens have always been exposed to negative influences through media or friends, but now they are getting those messages in a multitude of ways, including online with social networking sites," said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  "Hearing from teens directly about what influences they need to resist, and how, helps us better focus on effective prevention efforts and work with local communities to keep our youth drug-free."

"We are thrilled that the Influence Project has come to Milwaukee to hear directly from teens about what pressures they face, what motivates them, and ultimately, what keeps them from making unhealthy decisions," said James Clark, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.  "The project is unique because teens are challenged to think more critically about what influences their decision-making and why they make certain choices."

A 29 percent decline in drug use among youth that began in 1997 has ended.  Multiple surveys show that young people's attitudes toward drugs are softening - often a precursor to an uptick in drug use.  Studies show that more teens are saying they see less risk in using drugs, including marijuana, heroin, and LSD, once or twice a week.  Further, the abuse of prescription drugs by teens is an increasing problem.  Data from the latest Monitoring the Future Survey, indicates that 7 of the top 10 drugs abused by 12th graders are prescription drugs.

In the five years since the brand's creation, teens have proudly identified themselves as Above the Influence.  They have embraced the effort, recreating commercials and using the logo in local artwork and on popular social networking sites.  New ads are running nationally on a variety of platforms, including television, print, online and out-of-home.  Some of those platforms include: ABC Family Network, MTV, VHI, Seventeen, Transworld, Rise, and web sites such as Hulu, ChaCha, and Pandora.  Other advertising will run in the three pilot markets.  The new advertising was created in collaboration with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, with pro bono advertising provided by three advertising agencies: Draftfcb (Ordinary Day), Vigilante (Diner), and McGarry Bowen (Stage Hands).  

Since its inception in 1998, the ONDCP's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has conducted outreach to millions of parents, teens, and communities to prevent and reduce teen drug use.  Counting on an unprecedented blend of public and private partnerships, non-profit community service organizations, volunteerism, and youth-to-youth communications, the Campaign is designed to reach Americans of diverse backgrounds with effective anti-drug messages.

SOURCE White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)



RELATED LINKS

www.AbovetheInfluence.com