With discussions today about the legalization of marijuana, Roanoke Prevention Alliance is asking parents to tell their children it is not okay to use the drug. The Alliance is using funds from a Drug Free Communities Grant to help parents convey that message. That is the purpose of an advertising campaign that began earlier this month.
RPA says research shows that youth who use marijuana are less likely to get good grades, graduate and are more likely to engage in risky behavior. “The problem is one in six adolescents who try marijuana will become addicted,” says RPA Director Melanie Morris. “If parents start the talk with their kids about the consequences of marijuana, we can decrease this number.”
The Prevention Alliance partnered with mpiToo a full-service marketing agency in Raleigh, NC to create a website (/) with all the resources needed for parents to have the facts to begin the discussion with their children. The goal of the campaign is to educate the community on the consequences of youth marijuana use and encourage parents to talk one to one with their children about the pitfalls of marijuana use.
Morris says the grant funding “will be used to help parents understand that marijuana use among youth is not acceptable and when parents start the talk with their kids, they can have a major impact in preventing such risky behavior.” Research shows youth are less likely to use marijuana if their parents disapprove.
The campaign springs from meetings RPA and marketing professionals had with youth and adult leaders in focus groups. That feedback generates the campaign’s most effective messages as well as targeting the best outlets for placement of the messages in the community.
Roanoke Prevention Alliance was created in 1997 to build a coalition of citizens, parents, and professionals devoted to preventing drug and alcohol abuse among teens and young adults in the City of Roanoke. The coalition collects data and deploys resources tailored in specific neighborhoods. Problems vary by neighborhood so the targeting helps improve the effectiveness of limited resources.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy in partnership with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services provides grants for nearly 700 Drug- Free Communities Support Programs across the country. More information can be found at .