eGOVERNMENT: Federal Anti-Drug Web Site Goes Multilingual
Federal officials have launched a new multilingual Web site aimed at curbing drug and alcohol use among ethnic youth, the Los Angeles Times reports. The site -- www.the antidrug.com -- has expanded from English-only to include Spanish, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese versions. Alejandra Castillo, spokesperson for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, explained that although government statistics show no significant difference in drug and alcohol use among ethnic groups, studies indicate that communicating to ethnic populations in their native language increases the effectiveness of the message. "For kids, they want to be cool, they want to be with their friends, or they want to push the envelope," Castillo said. The Web site's five new versions also encourage parents to talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol and provide tips on setting behavioral rules. Castillo added, "Being able to devise a contra to that (as a parent) is an effort. You need a lot of information." According to White House statistics, children who learn about the risks of drug use from their parents are 36% less likely to smoke marijuana than other youth. Moreover, children educated about drug use are 50% less likely to use inhalants, 56% less likely to use cocaine and 65% less likely to use hallucinogenics. The site includes instructions on role-playing techniques for parents and allows them to submit questions or comments to the White House office regarding sensitive issues about drug use. Lupita Rubalcava, a counselor at D.W. Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles, explained that for some parents, "obtaining information about combating drug and alcohol use can be intimidating." Rubalcava added that parents "need to keep the lines of communication open so when a child goes home and says, 'Hey, so-and-so (said this),' the parent can have actual facts. That way a child doesn't go to a friend and get the wrong information." The Web site project is part of a five-year, $1 billion federal campaign against drug and alcohol use that began in 1998 and targets kids ages 9 to 18 (Frey, 2/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.