NEW YORK, NY – The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is working with Hispanic marketing agency Adrenalina to create a non-profit Spanish-language multimedia public service campaign aimed at Hispanic families.

Adrenalina will provide the Partnership with creative and strategic pro bono counsel on reaching Hispanic parents about preventing drug use among Latino youth via a national advertising campaign that builds on the nonprofit organization’s “Habla Con Tus Hijos” (“Talk with your Kids”) program. The effort is scheduled for rollout in 2010 and will be mounted across multiple media platforms.

“We hope that Adrenalina’s very fresh, real-world approach to cultural messaging will provide a strong framework for a creative campaign that resonates with Hispanic parents, galvanizes awareness and leads to a shift in behavior,” said Alina Diaz, the Partnership’s deputy director of multicultural programs, noting, “This campaign aims to help Hispanic parents realize that their kids will be exposed to drugs, and as the main influence in their children’s lives, parents must play an active role to protect them.”

The Partnership encourages parents to have open, honest conversations with their children because Partnership research has consistently shown that kids who learn a lot about the dangers of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get that crucial message from their parents.

Still, Hispanic parents are less likely (88 percent) to talk with their kids about the risks of drug and alcohol use compared to African American (94 percent) and Caucasian parents (92 percent), according to the 2008 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study.

Moreover, among the nation’s 35 million families with children ages 9-17, nearly 7 million Hispanic families with children in that age group are considered at risk for abusing drugs and alcohol, per the Partnership.

“The intrinsic issue of parents avoiding having much-needed discussions with their kids about the dangers of drug use is a cultural conundrum for Hispanics,” said Manuel Wernicky, president, chief ideas officer and managing partner, Adrenalina. “Parents’ denial of the problem can result in a failure to recognize that kids accessing and using drugs can happen in homes just like theirs.”

The reasons for this parental disconnect are complex since some Hispanic parents think they have little influence over their children’s choices about drug and alcohol use. Many say their kids would be reluctant to talk to them about drugs and that as parents they have difficulty enforcing rules against substance abuse in their own homes. Some Hispanic parents believe that schools should have the main responsibility for educating kids about drugs.

Noted Wernicky: “The health and well being of Hispanic youth will depend heavily on parents taking the lead in educating and protecting their children from illicit drug and alcohol use. We see our role as helping to ignite the discourse leading to lasting, open relationships among Hispanic families.”

All the work developed by Adrenalina and its agency partners is being produced pro bono.

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