New drug prevention campaign urges conversation over threats of consequence

A St. Louis group is spearheading a new approach to fight drug abuse aimed at at parents. (Credit:

ST. LOUIS ( -- A St. Louis group is spearheading a new approach to fight drug abuse aimed at at parents.

For three years the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse has aired provocative and sometimes controversial ads. Sunday's ad during the Super Bowl was different. The minute-long spot was said to be something of a gentle reminder that addiction is preventable.

“Our ad did not mention opioids, did not mention overdose, death, heroin, anything like that,” said Howard Weissman, executive director of NCADA.

Instead, it touted a new campaign,

Parents can go online and get age-appropriate materials aimed at talking with their kids about drugs and making the right choices.

The NCADA’s Director of Prevention Education, Nichole Dawsey, says past ads have shaken people by the lapels to make them aware of the heroin problem sweeping the country. She says people know the issue, now it's time to move forward.

Past campaigns were telling kids what to do.

“‘Just say 'no' " did not work,” Dawsey said. “Kids are way more powerful than we give them credit for. Instead of telling them what to do, let's engage them in a really thoughtful conversation.”

Educators agree.

“The concept of talking about it, I know it makes a difference,” said Dr. Eric Knost, superintendent of Rockwood School District..

Knost oversees 21,000 students and is backing the program.

“When parents are engaged in the lives of our children and when talk is courageous, that's when we see kids that thrive,” he said.

Dawsey added that studies show the process works.

“Parents and caregivers who talk to their kids, their kids are 50 percent less likely to develop a substance abuse disorder,” she said.

For more information on the program, click here.

News 4 Reporter

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