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U.S. Effort Asks Hispanics To 'Dile Que No' to Drugs

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The federal government has launched a campaign to encourage Hispanic youths to resist using drugs and alcohol.

The program, launched earlier this month in nine cities with large Hispanic populations, is aimed at Hispanic children between the ages of 8 and 12.

The campaign is titled "Piensalo, Dile Que No!," which is Spanish for "Think About It, Say No!" It is being sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Coalition for Hispanic Health and Human Services Organizations.

The national campaign includes bilingual information booklets for parents, students, and teachers. The booklets, as well as a series of informational posters, feature celebrities that cater to different Hispanic audiences, including the singer Linda Rondstadt, a Mexican-American; the singer Gloria Estefan, a Cuban-American; and the pop group Menudo, which has a Puerto-Rican following.

"This is a very important time for Hispanics and a strong commitment to this campaign will ultimately benefit all people of the United States," said Dr. Antonia Novello, the U.S. Surgeon General.

The nine cities targeted by the $900,000 campaign are Denver, New York, Tucson, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Sandy Katz, a publications coordinator for hhs's office for substance-abuse prevention, said the new materials are based on an alcohol- and drug-prevention campaign developed by the department in 1986 for a general preadolescent audience.

"We were looking to make it more culturally relevant," she said.

Ms. Katz said the department is working on a similar program aimed at black children.

Ms. Katz said that each region will decide what to do with the materials and how to integrate them into the curriculum.

"This particular set of materials is very appropriate for some of our schools, especially in helping parents to acquire the information they need for working with their children," said Martha Reyes, the project manager for the Alamo Area Council of Governments, who was coordinating the campaign's kick-off in San Antonio.--ef

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