FRANKFORT, KY (March 11, 2008) – Gov. Steve Beshear announced today that Kentucky has launched its state chapter of Partnership for a Drug-Free America today, tapping into a national, media-based education campaign to reduce illicit drug use in the Commonwealth.
The Partnership channels the talents and technologies of professionals in the communications industries into memorable and effective messages through print and broadcast ads.
Funding for the chapter was awarded through a federal Community Oriented Policing grant received by the Kentucky State Police, and funds from the Office of Drug Control Policy.
“Kentucky has long recognized the epidemic proportions of substance abuse among youth and adults including tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana,” said Gov. Beshear. "Parents and children are inundated with media messages about drug use among celebrities and major sports figures. The benefits that we receive from the Partnership allow us to counter those negative messages with positive prevention strategies.”
Media outlets across the state are being asked to participate in the Partnership, by running the professionally-produced messages to “un-sell” drugs to Kentucky’s youth. Research has shown if a child hears one anti-drug message a day, they are 38 percent less likely to use drugs. The impact of such messages can be seen in dramatic declines in drug use since the Partnership was formed in 1986: cocaine use in the United States is down by two-thirds, overall drug use is down by one-third, and even the use of Ecstasy, a serious threat just a few years ago, has decreased by 50 percent.
“Launching a Kentucky chapter of Partnership for a Drug-Free America underscores our commitment to combating the scourge of drug use in our communities,” said Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown. “It’s important for parents, teachers, and leaders to tell young people that drugs are bad, but it’s just as important that the truth about drugs finds its way into the important cultural subtexts -- what we learn from conversation, TV, movies, the Internet and popular music. These messages do that.”
Officials point to the changing nature of drug use and threats that are even closer to home, such as abuse of prescription painkillers or methamphetamine, as evidence for the need to use current messages and mediums, such as those offered by the Partnership. They also note that the Partnership works closely with chapter states to help the messages make the most impact.
“Local solutions almost always prove to be most effective. Since its founding, the Partnership has emphasized making a positive contribution to those very same communities,” said Vaughn Ownbey, Regional Director for Partnership for a Drug-Free America. “We accomplish this by being on the ground, working hand-in-hand and providing support and assistance as part of a long-term commitment.”
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization uniting communications professionals, renowned scientists and parents. Best known for its national drug-education campaign, the Partnership’s mission is to reduce illicit drug use in America.