New National Anti-Drug Campaign Launches in Portland with Drug Czar

June 9, 2010

In the Oregonian today from education reporter Betsy Hammond….A new White House-backed teen drug prevention, designed in part by Portland high school students, has hit screens and the streets across the Portland area and will soon go nationwide.

The campaign, officially launched by White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske in the Bronx on Monday and at Portland’s Wilson High on Tuesday, will be very different from the one that preceded it.

Dubbed “Above the Influence,” it is designed to give teens the chance to talk and interact about the positive influences that keep them above drug and alcohol use and ways to counter the negative influences that tempt them in that direction.

Already, the distinctive upward-pointing arrow of the campaign has been plastered on billboards, bus shelters and benches around the Portland area. Look for it on TV, on video panels at Lloyd Center and on your smart phone, your FaceBook page and in other new media displays.

The previous edition of the teen anti-drug public relations campaign was a TV-only, anti-marijuana message designed by adults with a uniform national message.

The new campaign, backed with a $45 million yearly budget, will be better, broader and more up to date, said Bob Dennison, director of the national youth campaign.

He and advertising agency officials have talked with thousands of teens about which messages work — and which don’t.

The campaign prominently features young voices and is broadly directed against underage drinking, prescription drug abuse and marijuana and will show up on social media platforms and local spots like the bus shelters as well as TV, he said.

Chloe Jones, 17, who graduates tonight from Wilson, thinks seeing the ubiquitous “Above the Influence” billboards and posters around town will help teens avoid drinking and drug use. “Just seeing that name gets the buzz going” about how appealing it can be to be above bad influences and above using drugs and alcohol, she said.

Jones, who struggled with addiction beginning in middle school but has been clean and sober since sophomore year, helped make a local Above the Influence video and was flown to Washington, D.C., to help advise federal officials and ad agency executives on the campaign.

Teens with a strong sense of self and big plans for the future don’t want to use drugs or get drunk, she says. Seeing the ads and going to the website will help teens feel connected to others who feel that way, too, she predicts.

“Seeing it reminds people that there are other people like them who don’t use,” Jones said. “It’s important to have a connection to other people who don’t use so, even if (some other) people think you’re lame, it’s cool.”

Kerlikowske, who spent nine years as Seattle’s police chief before becoming national drug czar a year ago, said the message he heard from a gathering of two dozen Multnomah County teens Tuesday “resonated well,” he said.

“Adults have a presumption that everybody in high school is doing drugs,” he said. “In fact, the vast majority of kids aren’t involved in those kids of activities.” ….Betsy Hammond

PS  Cloe is a member of the Oregon Partnership Youth Advisory Councilan OP YouthLine volunteer, and drug prevention advocate.

Oregon Partnership Praises Prevention Emphasis in White House Drug Control Strategy

May 12, 2010


Contact:  Pete Schulberg



(Portland, Or)  Oregon Partnership President/CEO Judy Cushing, on hand in Washington, D.C. for the announcement of the new National Drug Control Policy, has praised the focus on prevention to reduce drug use in the United States.

“This balanced approach includes a genuine emphasis on drug prevention and treatment along with enforcement,” said Cushing after meeting late Tuesday with Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy and other members of the White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy.

The strategy emphasizes the development of community-based prevention programs focused on young people, early intervention opportunities by health care providers, and helping communities implement evidence-based prevention initiatives.

For more on the National Drug Control Policy, click here:

“We commend Mr Kerlikowske for taking many months to hold listening sessions with a variety of groups, including Oregon Partnership,” said Cushing.  “Input from these groups is evident in elements of the strategy.”

This past January,  Kerlikowske visited Oregon Partnership’s headquarters to meet with Cushing and OP staff and toured OP’s Crisis Lines Center.  He also met with members of CARSA (Community Action to Reduce Substance Abuse) among other prevention and treatment organizations.

The strategy is the first plan by the Obama White House to reduce the country’s rate of drug abuse. It calls for reducing the rate of youth drug use by 15 percent over the next five years and similar reductions in chronic drug use, drug abuse deaths and drugged driving.

Cushing applauded the new focus on “drugged driving,” saying most Americans are not aware of the extent to which drugged driving is a serious problem.  “Teens and adults under the influence of drugs should not get behind the wheel – too much is at stake.”

Presenting at MidSOUTH Summer School

June 8, 2009

“Media Messaging: Is it Really About the Message” and “Tackling Meth: Help in Your Community….I’ll be presenting those sessions tomorrow  at the MidSouth Summer School on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Problems at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock.

That’s Little Rock, Arkansas, one of the few states where I haven’t touched down.

And I’ll tell them Oregon’s story in the meth battle.  There are some relatively new developments on the meth prevention front – not the least of which is the virtual disappearance of deadly meth labs in Oregon.  And now other states are taking note and action.

What can local drug prevention coalitions and groups do to help their cause via the media – old and new?  A lot, of course…It’s always a topic that draws much interest.

– Pete Schulberg

Oregon Partnership’s Cushing Tapped For National Panel

December 17, 2007

Oregon Partnership President/CEO Judy Cushing, one of the state’s top advocates for  substance abuse prevention, has been appointed to serve on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Advisory Council.

The Council advises, consults with and makes recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and to the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This isn’t the first time Cushing has been call on to participate on a national level.  She was a member of the National Research Council Institute of Medicine’s committee that produced the landmark report, “Reducing Underage Drinking – A Collective Responsibility” and was appointed by President George Bush to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Drug-Free Communities.

Under Cushing’s leadership, Oregon Partnership has earned a national reputation for innovative and effective prevention programs and curriculums in the field of substance abuse.

Oregon Partnership in with Warning about OLCC proposal

November 15, 2007

           The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is considering relaxing a rule involving minors being allowed in establishments where alcohol is served. Oregon Partnership’s position? Some red flags that cannot be ignored.

 This proposed rule revises the rule section that specifies when and under what conditions a minor may be present in a licensed facility.  It retains the general standard of prohibiting minors when there is a “drinking environment.”  Generally, this means that drinking is the primary activity versus eating or entertainment or some other activity.  The rule is substantially reorganized and rewritten.  However, the important change is that it would allow minors to be in more licensed establishments where alcohol is served.   

The major area of change is for venues that typically have live entertainment attractive to youth.  To permit minors in these places, a detailed control plan is required.  The specifies what must be in a control plan and how it must demonstrate that minors will not obtain alcohol or be exposed to a “drinking environment.”  The rule includes a new provision giving the OLCC the ability to cite the licensee if they fail to follow their own control plan.  This is an important change which will make the control plan more than just a paper document.

 Oregon Partnership’s Position:   

1.      Oregon Partnership advises a very cautious approach with strict enforcement. In drafting the rule, OLCC staff has made a substantial effort to exercise care and caution in allowing more opportunities for youth to enjoy live entertainment and other activities.  Oregon Partnership believes OLCC should continue this cautious approach in granting this privilege and should strictly enforce the control plans.

2.      Oregon Partnership will not support this rule if it generally allows young children in places where alcohol is served.  We do not see anything in the rule which addresses this issue.  There is a trend of young tweens and teens—particularly girls (age 12, 13, 14)—partying with older males in their 20s.  This rule should not facilitate this dangerous trend.  Oregon Partnership sees a big difference in allowing 18, 19 and 20 year old youth in entertainment venues versus younger children.  For the most part, we believe these provisions should apply to 18, 19 and 20 year olds.  We understand from OLCC staff that a Control Plan can include restrictions by age; however, we do not see this in the rule and would need some assurance about this issue.


3.      Oregon Partnership is concerned about the lack of OLCC enforcement resources.  While OLCC received funding for additional staff from the last Legislative Session, that still doesn’t meet current needs.  We note that OLCC added 463 licenses in the most recent fiscal year.  We would prefer to see new OLCC resources devoted to underage sales compliance checks, a proven method of reducing illegal sales.  This rule will divert enforcement resources from other things

4.      Oregon Partnership believes the OLCC relies too heavily on  the criterion of “drinking environment” and should give more consideration to the increase in access. While no one wants minors in a drinking environment, the research is pretty clear that access should be a major consideration.  Research now shows a correlation between the number of alcohol outlets and community problems including underage drinking. This makes sense as more outlets require more enforcement, training of clerks/servers, etc.  With the number of licenses growing every year, some recognition of this problem should appear in the rule.  It also should give weight to the need for a cautious approach in adding opportunities for youth to be in alcohol serving venues.