MDHHS launches anti-drug campaign aimed at teens

Posted at 9:31 AM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 09:31:52-04

Katia Snead is in high school. She's only 17 years old, but says she's seen and heard of a lot of people taking drugs.

"It's in a lot of parties, even in school," Snead said.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says almost one in five teens report using marijuana in the last 30 days. That statistic doesn't surprise 16-year-old Keeon Martin.

"Everyone does it," Martin said. "It's either somebody getting pressured, or they just want to be like everybody else."

The MDHHS is trying to confront the problem with a new 30-second video that looks and sounds like a "story" someone can post on the social media app Snapchat. "It's really important to us as a health department to make sure that teens understand the seriousness of what can seem like a momentary decision," Jennifer Eisner with the MDHHS said.

There have been dozens of anti-drug ad campaigns from the infamous 'This is your brain on drugs' ad that aired in the 80's to the more recent above the influence spots. Eisner says this video is different. "It really focuses on the teenage experience, with that message we really hope it resonates with the intended audience, with teens, and that they see that this message is for them. to help them better understand the risks associated with drugs," she said.

Martin and Snead both said the ad told the story of a girl whose whole life was ruined by drugs fairly well. "It seemed kind of horrible," Martin said. "I don't think teens are supposed to be doing drugs and stuff like that. You know you can have fun without doing drugs."

Snead thought the video could be effective, but not very effective. "They're just going to brush it off their shoulders that it's not going to happen to them," Snead said, suggesting that more programs that get teenagers off the streets and into more productive places where they are less likely to come in contact with drugs would probably work better.

The video will be shown in movie theaters and on TV throughout Michigan though the end of the summer.

Watch the video here: