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The president displays a graphic in the government's new phase of drug abuse campaign. Below the word 'danger' it says 'poison.' The president displays a graphic in the government's new phase of drug abuse campaign. Below the word 'danger' it says 'poison.'

After fruitless anti-drug abuse campaign, AMLO tries more direct approach

'We’re going to begin a campaign about what this ... bitter reality really entails'

President López Obrador announced the commencement of the second phase of his addiction prevention campaign after recognizing that the first phase was unsuccessful.

“We’re going to begin the second phase of the campaign to raise awareness of the harm that drugs cause,” he said at his morning press conference on Wednesday.

Recognizing that the government’s efforts have so far not had the desired effect, he said that the second phase will have a clearer message than the first.

“It didn’t have the effect we wanted. … What we want is to raise awareness, to announce what happens [with drugs], so we opted for this more direct campaign. We’re going to speak clearly,” he said.

Artists and filmmakers participated in the first phase by appearing in videos to persuade viewers to change their habits and avoid drug use.

The new campaign will include videos that warn of the physical and emotional consequences of consuming drugs.

López Obrador said the content will be produced by communications officials in the government rather than private sector enterprises because “they charge a lot; they are very creative but they are also very expensive.”

AMLO, as the president is commonly known, emphasized the importance of taking care of young people and asked the public not to discriminate against them in order to help ensure the success of the campaign.

He also highlighted the results of his “Youths Building the Future” apprenticeship program, which provides young people with job training and economic support to help them obtain gainful employment.

“We’re helping the young people who were discriminated against, who people turned their backs on and just called ninis,” he said, referring to a name used to disparage out-of-work young people by saying they neither study nor work (ni estudia, ni trabaja).

“They coined that term and that was all they did for the young people. An attitude of disdain and marginalization. No longer,” he added.

“Young people have the possibility to work, they are being hired as apprentices, 900,000 youths are earning minimum wage while they’re being trained. They’re receiving their certificates, I’m signing them. Half of them are staying on to work for the same companies at which they were trained,” he said.

Stating that his administration’s goal is to help young people choose the right path, AMLO reiterated his commitment to strengthening moral, cultural and family values.

“We’re going to begin a direct campaign about what this underworld of painful sacrifices, this bitter reality, really entails,” he said.

“We’re dealing with the causes of insecurity, violence, corruption [and] preventing conspiracy between authorities and criminals, tending to the needs of the people.”

Sources: Milenio (sp), El Sol de México (sp)

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