Native American marketing firm develops first national media campaign targeting methamphetamine abuse in Indian Country

Native Americans have the highest meth usage rates in the Nation

PHOENIX-At the recent annual conference of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) a new communications campaign was announced and previewed, and is designed to raise awareness and reduce use of the highly addictive drug methamphetamine in Native American communities.

The public service messages were created by the Phoenix-based, Native-owned marketing agency Alternative Marketing Solutions (AMS) and are expected to launch in early 2008.

President of AMS, Patty Dimitriou worked with her team all summer to review research, visit affected reservations and develop creative concepts to best reach out to the Native community.

The research-based campaign, which includes public service messages for radio and print, as well as posters, is the first national meth prevention initiative developed specifically for Indian Country. Campaign development is funded by a coalition of agencies including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"We are very proud of this opportunity and think it's some of the most important work we've ever done," said Patty Dimitriou, founder and President of Alternative Marketing Solutions, Inc.

Nationally, Native Americans, including American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, experience the highest rates of meth abuse among all other ethnicities, a factor that creates a negative ripple effect throughout communities.

The research-based campaign introduced has a dual focus-radio, print and poster ads are aimed at Native youth, and print and radio messages target Native adults and elders. "We are delighted with the work that Alternative Marketing Solutions has done," said Mike Townsend, Executive Vice President at the Partnership. "Through increased education and communication between parents, elders and teens, communities can become more resilient to the meth threat. It's our hope that these public service messages will encourage that dialogue."

The media campaign acknowledges the fact that Native youth often straddle two worlds, the traditional way of life and modern society, exploring how identity struggles may increase teens' vulnerability to meth.  The messages encourage youth to draw strength from their traditions, heritage and connection with other teens to avoid the trap of meth.

"This is a crucial component of our ongoing fight against meth in Indian Country. Meth has a hold on Native communities and it is devastating to see Indian people suffer in its grasp," said NCAI President Joe A. Garcia. "The work that Alternative Marketing Solutions has done in this educational initiative will undoubtedly save lives."

The ads drive audiences to www.ncai.org for more information and a how-to guide of tips and advice for fighting meth in Native communities. Initial distribution will focus on Alaska, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Alternative Marketing Solutions is 100% Native-owned marketing agency that provides successful corporate and brand identities, marketing and advertising campaigns, Internet marketing and Web site development, product development, special events and logistics, public, media, and community relations, crisis communications and multicultural communication programs. Clients include tribal enterprises and programs, major corporations, state and city projects, federal campaigns, non-profit organizations as well as fellow minority-owned businesses.

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