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New anti-drug campaign announced

The government is launching a new anti-marijuana ad campaign.
The government is launching a new anti-marijuana ad campaign.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saying "marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug among America's youth," the director of national drug control policy and the U.S. surgeon general kicked off a new media campaign Tuesday geared toward children as well as adults.

Director John Walters said he hopes the campaign will help dispel some myths generated about smoking pot, which he said has become so predominant that "twice as many eighth-graders have tried marijuana today than a decade ago."

"The risks associated with marijuana have been trivialized and our kids are getting the wrong message," Walters said. "We must arm parents, teachers, community leaders and our children with the truth."

The campaign will kick off with an "open letter" advertisement to parents about marijuana in more than 300 papers Wednesday. The campaign will continue with print and television ads appearing through the fall.

"More teens are using marijuana at earlier ages," said Surgeon General Richard Carmona. "We really need to stop these trends."

Carmona who has been the surgeon general for six weeks, said he agrees with a campaign geared to both child and parent. "As parents, leaders and community members, we need to face this problem head on and teach our youth that marijuana is dangerous and addictive," he said.

The new campaign comes just two weeks after a Canadian Senate committee took an opposite approach, recommending that marijuana be legalized in that country. The panel based its decision on a study it said showed that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and smoking it does not lead to use of harder drugs.




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