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New Ads Join War On Drugs

Drug czar Barry McCaffrey says he first year of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media campaign was so successful that the White House is unveiling a new series of edgy television ads aimed at getting kids to "just say 'No'."

On Monday, President Clinton is launching a nationwide "offensive" against drugs. The new ads will be in 11 languages and will target 102 different media markets, McCaffrey told CBS News. The campaign will run for five years.

"They're aimed at both children and parents to shape attitudes to reject drug abuse," says McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

After testing the first campaign in 12 cities, McCaffrey says the results were encouraging enough to go nationwide.

"We learned, among other things, we have to go after the parents as much as the young people," McCaffrey says. "In many ways, adolescents don't have problems. Those of us who mentor and care for them do. We have to put out a consistent anti-drug message from kindergarten right to the 12th grade."

McCaffrey says the ads are designed to target both the child and his or her guardian. In one ad, the announcer directs viewers to educate themselves on how to avoid drug abuse: "Scientific studies have shown that parents can prevent marijuana use by taking their kids to this clinic. Get the word on how to share your kids' activities and keep them drug-free. Get the book."

In the ad, a young boy is led down the halls of a public building into the "clinic" -- a basketball court filled with other kids and an adult supervisor, suggesting an afterschool or summer program, such as those provided by the Boys and Girls Clubs.

McCaffrey says his office has worked closely with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the National Ad Council, as well as prominent advertising companies.

"We have a great multicultural attempt to speak specifically to kids in a way that resonates with their own attitudes," he says. So we think we're on the right track. This can make a huge difference and we're trying to tie it into our partners in education, the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and other groups across America."

While McCaffrey leads the war against drugs in America, he also oversees a war abroad. In Colombia, U.S. soldiers are engaged in counter-narcotics missions, hoping to end the country's production and worldwide distribution of cocaine and heroin.

Last week, five Army servicemen on such a mission were killed when their reconnaissance plane crashed into a Colombian mountainside.

McCaffrey released a statement Friday honoring the crash victims.

In the best traditions of the U.S. armed forces, these dedicated soldiers answered the call to duty to protect their country ad their loved ones from the great threat to our nation of heroin and cocaine organizations."

He says the U.S. provides training, equipment and other resources worth $250 million per year, to help Colombian authorities combat an internal struggle between guerrillas who distribute narcotics for high profits and the leaders of an economically depressed country.

"I think the heart and soul of the whole matter, the reason why you've seen literally hundreds of Colombian policemen murdered in the last several years, and, indeed, massive attacks on mayors and judicial authorities, is drug money," he says.

And, the doubling of coca production in the last three years means the stakes in the fight against drugs is higher.