Super Bowl Ads Get Serious with Teen Rx Drug Abuse Message

The quirky, imaginative, ultra-expensive ads that captivate TV viewers during the Super Bowl broadcast will be joined Sunday evening by a serious message from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy asking parents to take action against teen prescription drug abuse. This starts a national campaign that is the first major federal effort to educate parents about the problem and is ONDCP's first paid TV advertising targeting parents in nearly two years.

The campaign will include broadcast, print, and online advertising; community outreach; and new print and online resources to help parents and communities intervene. ONDCP said $14 million spent on it will generate nearly $30 million in advertising, and that the ads were made in collaboration with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America with free creative provided by Draftfcb New York, an ad agency that also has produced ads for Taco Bell and Planters Nuts that will air during Sunday's Super Bowl XLII. (The ad agency was formed in a 2006 merger of two giants, one of which was the legendary Foote, Cone & Belding. For a timeline of its history and other information, visit www.draftfcb.com/flash/index.html.)

ONDCP says overall teen drug use is down nationwide, but more U.S. teens abuse prescription drugs than any other illicit drug except marijuana. "When used as prescribed, prescription painkillers can be tremendously beneficial. But their abuse is becoming a serious public health and addiction problem. We may be unintentionally providing our teens a new way to get high," said John P. Walters, the office's director. "Most teens who abuse prescription drugs say they get them from home or from friends and relatives. We need parents to recognize that not all drug threats to their teens come from the street corner. Prescription drugs are in practically every home, and parents can have an immediate impact on stopping teen prescription drug abuse."

The campaign will continue through May and will reach more than 90 percent of ONDCP's target parent audience with ads, a brochure, featured content on www.TheAntiDrug.com, and targeted messages on prescription information sheets for commonly abused substances in 15,000 pharmacies nationwide during February and March.

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