Spiderman to fight youth drug abuse
August 31, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, enlisted the comic superhero "Spiderman" to his web of high profile figures in the war on drugs Tuesday. McCaffrey called his newest recruit, "America's favorite superhero ... our nation's most loved web-head."
The red and blue garbed crime fighter was proud to join the team.
"I've got to tell you I'm thrilled right down to my web- slinging toes this morning to take a day off from fighting the bad guys in New York and web my way down to Washington, D.C.," said Spiderman.
McCaffrey introduced Spiderman to a crowded news conference as part of a multipronged effort to use action figures to hammer home the government's message about the dangers of drug abuse.
"The fact is that most kids, most young people, don't use drugs," Spiderman said. "But there are signals out there that drugs are a normal part of growing up. And that's just not the truth."
The acrobatic superhero is part of the Clinton administration's five-year $1 billion "surround communications strategy" that will use the Internet, magazines, newspapers and school TV programs to bombard adolescents with warnings about the dangers of tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs, including alcohol and household solvents.
Spiderman's appearance kicked off a four-part special comic book series that will appear as special inserts in regular publications such as Boys' Life, Girls' Life, Scholastic Classroom and others to reach a circulation of 11 million and at least 65 percent of kids between the ages of 9 and 14 in the United States.
Cub reporters are part of anti-drug effort
With the help of MediaOne Cable TV, six teen-age "cub" reporters jumped on a bus tour hitting cities from Miami to Washington to interview other teens about their attitudes toward drug use.
"I really want to salute the young journalists from the Straight Scoop road tour, who are doing a great job in generating very positive dialogue and encouraging others to get involved," said Spiderman.
The interviews are expected to be condensed as part of a 30- minute documentary to air on MediaOne's local access channels later this year. They also will be distributed to schools around the country for use in school-based drug prevention programs.
Kelly Standiford of Baltimore, a high school senior and anti- drug activist, said the programs announced Tuesday by the Office of National Drug Control Policy are designed to "generate youth-to-youth communications about drugs."
"What I think is important, and this is the primary objective of the media campaign, is not just that drugs are bad," said Standiford. "We need to learn how to overcome peer pressure and be reminded that although it may seem that everyone is doing drugs, that's not the case."
CNN's Brad Wright and Reuters contributed to this report.
Drug survey: Teen use down; young adults up
The Amazing Spider Man
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