NIH News Release
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Monday, September 11, 2000
1:30 p.m. EST

Contact: Beverly Jackson or
Michelle Muth
(301) 443-6245

New National Public Service Campaign Highlights How Drugs Damage the Brain

"Keep Your Brain Healthy. Don't Use Drugs." That's the message of a new, nationwide public service campaign launched today by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The campaign, which features radio and television public service announcements in English and Spanish, is designed to help America's youth understand the risks associated with drug use.

"Keeping your brain healthy by not using drugs sounds obvious, but public perception of a 'drug user' often creates a false sense of safety," said Dr. Alan I. Leshner, NIDA director. "The college student who sees himself as a social user, or the teen who's only going to 'try it once' doesn't feel in any real danger until it's too late. Addictive drugs can so rapidly and dramatically change the brain that the drugs literally take over. This campaign brings new urgency to an important message.

"For example, the latest research shows that even occasional use of a drug such as cocaine can desensitize the brain so that the user needs to take an ever-increasing amount of the drug to achieve the same effect as he or she experienced when first using the drug. Soon, the drug is used more frequently and in larger doses, resulting in addiction," said Dr. Leshner.

NIDA's partners in this public service campaign include Dr. Drew Pinsky, co-host of Loveline and; Major General Arthur T. Dean (ret.), CEO of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), a national organization representing over 5,000 community-based coalitions; and Sue Rusche, Executive Director, National Families in Action, a drug education, prevention and policy center based in Atlanta.

Note to reporters: The campaign launch will be broadcast live over the Internet at

A video news release about the campaign launch will be distributed via satellite:

Satellite Coordinates: (C-Band)

Date:Monday, September 11Tuesday, September 12
Time:2:00-2:30 p.m. ET10:30-11:00 a.m. ET
Coords:Telstar 5, Transp. 16Telstar 5, Transp. 16
Downlink Freq.:4020 MHz4020 MHz
Audio:6.2 & 6.8 6.2 & 6.8

For technical questions about the satellite feed, contact Rachel Vitale at 1-800-666-7882.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish by calling NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 1-888-TTY-NIDA (889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at