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The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Archives of the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site
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Dear Parent,

Since 1991, we have witnessed significant increases in the use of drugs, such as tobacco, inhalants, and marijuana, by young Americans. For example, surveys show that current use of tobacco (use in the 30 days prior to the survey) has increased by 34 percent among eighth graders. At the same time, perception among young people that drug use is dangerous and wrong has declined dramatically.

Why is this happening? In part, because young people are bombarded with mixed messages about drugs, whether it's through movies or music videos, advertisements or peer pressure.

To help protect our children, we have developed an anti-drug program involving the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Scholastic Inc. Your child's teachers have received free classroom materials as part of this campaign.

But there's something for you as well.

We know that parents, grandparents, foster parents, older siblings, youth leaders, coaches, and other role models can play a major role in protecting young people from drugs. It's critical that all Americans work together to send a clear and consistent message to our young people: Drugs are illegal, dangerous and wrong!

This guide can help you send that message. It provides factual information about the dangers of drug use as well as anti-drug activities that are designed for families. We hope you will use it to help the young people in your life.

And if you'd like more information or additional free materials, please call the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686 or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD).

Working as one team, we can help all our children grow up healthy and drug-free. Thank you.

Donna E. Shalala
Secretary of Health and Human Services

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