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Anti-Drug Ads Not Enough in Durham

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DURHAM — President Clinton unveiled a $195 million anti-drug campaign last week. The media blitz is designed to create awareness among kids and their parents.

Although local drug counselors say awareness is a positive step, they claim that it is not enough.

For example, every anti-drug program in the city of Durham is full, with a waiting list. Counselors say that along with media, they need money.

"This is your brain, this is what happens to your brain if you're snorting heroin." This quote is from one of the new public service announcements on television.

The ad is an anti-drug campaign designed to shock kids and their parents, and it comes with the relatively shocking price tag of $195 million to run on the networks and in major newspapers.

Jack Ramsey is a veteran drug counselor, and is now a supervisor with Durham County Mental Health. He said that Durham's drug counseling programs are bursting at the seams with people waiting to get in.

An awareness campaign is one thing, but Ramsey says local programs need more.

"At the same time we certainly could use additional resources, especially if you launch a major public awareness campaign," Ramsey said. "So I think you need a parallel track which would go along with what the president wants as well. I think, it needs some adjustment so that we get more services available and federal funds are essential today if we're going to grow."

Matching awareness with more money for local programs would make many counselors feel better, but the campaign is targeted at kids 9 through 18. Durham resident Michael Tucker is 10.

"I think they are supposed to have the ads on t.v., so people will stop smoking drugs," Tucker said. "Are commercials on t.v. something that would keep you away from drugs?" reporter Mark Roberts asked. "Yes, because I don't want to get in trouble, and I don't want to be going to jail."