FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2005
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Launches Teen Web Page
(Washington, D.C.) Stories about methamphetamine and marijuana are dominating the news today, but there is conflicting factual information. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s new teen web page is designed to present facts straightforwardly -- in a way that can help today’s teens make good choices. DEA launched the teen website today as part of its efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of drugs.
“This website should be bookmarked by every teenager in America---and by their parents too. It pulls no punches about the consequences of drug use. America’s teens need to learn that drugs---especially methamphetamine and marijuana -- have a terrible impact on all of us,” said Administrator Karen P. Tandy.
Despite recent decreases in teen drug use, America’s young people are still bombarded with messages that drug use is a rite of passage and a normal part of adolescence. Administrator Tandy said “DEA is telling kids to ‘think twice’ about what they hear from their friends, popular culture and adults who advocate drug legalization. Think about the harm drugs cause to families, the environment, to innocent bystanders. Think about how drugs will impact your future: your health, your chances for a good job, your eligibility for student loans.”
The anti-drug website www.justthinktwice.com gives teens the straight facts about methamphetamine, and it’s not a pretty picture. The realities of meth---“tweaking,” “meth mouth” “crank bugs” and drug-endangered –children ---are described in plain talk and photos, giving teens an insight into what’s at the end of the meth roller coaster. Before and after photos of meth users graphically depict the ravages of methamphetamine on the user.
In addition to the information on methamphetamine, the site contains material on prescription drug abuse, marijuana, steroids and “club drugs.” DEA’s site provides teens with information on the legal consequences of drug trafficking and manufacturing and provides them with thought-provoking “real life” scenarios and their legal responsibilities in the areas of drugged driving, drug-facilitated sexual assaults, and providing drugs to their peers.
The site links to other existing websites which have additional information for teens, including U.S. Government and private organizations’ sites. Medical information, especially regarding the impact of marijuana on the body and brain, is accessible through direct links to scientific studies. “DEA is not filtering information for teens. We’re taking them directly to the data and objective sources of medical, scientific and legal information,” Tandy emphasized.
Teens can also learn first hand about the tragedies of drug use through the personal stories of young people who lost their lives to drugs. “There is no more powerful message for teens than seeing the impact that drugs had on another young life,” added Tandy.
The site has six sections: Got Meth? (a focus on methamphetamine); Costs to Society (consequences of drug use on the non-user and society); It Can’t Happen to Me (drug facilitated sexual assault, drug overdoses, drugged driving, drug testing, student loans); Fact and Fiction (marijuana dangers, the myths of legalization); Drug Facts (information on the dangers of particular drugs, federal penalties associated with each drug); Hot Topics (current items of interest); and Today’s DEA (major cases and profiles of DEA career employees),
According to General Arthur T. Dean, Chairman and CEO of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), “DEA’s newly launched teen-oriented website is a wonderful educational tool with visually engaging graphics, real life stories and accurate, science-based information. This site accurately portrays the real dangers of drugs to our kids, and to American society at large.”
While in construction, the website was presented to several high school groups for reaction. Teen comments included: "I liked the section with the story of the victims. It gives you accounts of people our age and what can happen to us;" "I like how the Government and DEA are trying to reach out to the youth;" and "(I liked the section on) penalties because it told me about what doing drugs might cost you."
"I noticed students were totally absorbed in the website. They all seemed to linger at the real life and death stories. Great job!" was a Texas teacher's reaction to a website focus group.
Imelda Perez, the sister of Irma Perez who died a painful death in 2004 after her friends provided her Ecstasy, said that DEA’s teen website, “shows young people how their actions have consequences. Irma’s so-called friends gave her drugs, and when they saw her suffering from the effects of Ecstasy, they gave her marijuana, thinking it was medicine. Irma’s last few days were extremely painful for her, and teens need to know.” that dying from drugs is a terrible way to die. I hope Irma’s story helps even one young person make the right choice about drugs.”