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Professional News
Recovery Program Finds No Humor in Ad Campaign
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 1 page 13-13

In response to a massive advertising campaign by Christian Dior to market a new cosmetic and fragrance line called "Dior Addict," the Detroit drug and alcohol recovery organization Faces and Voices of Recovery is coordinating a nationwide counter campaign called "Addiction Is Not Fashionable."

Drug recovery organizations complain that the Dior campaign, complete with its own Web site at www.dior-addict.com and state-of-the-art, no-expense-spared marketing and public relations tactics, tramples the dignity and hard work of people fighting addiction. A press conference in October was broadcast coast to coast protesting the Dior campaign.

Dior’s unwelcome advertising message comes at a particularly bad time, according to drug abuse experts. A recent survey commissioned by the private Skillman Foundation of Detroit found that suburban parents appear to be unaware of the immensity of the drug problem in their neighborhoods and schools, and most call it "minor."

"That’s a joke," said Patricia Ehlert, admissions coordinator of Pathway Family Center, a day drug treatment center for adolescents in Southfield, Mich. "It’s not a minor problem. It’s a major problem, and parents are too much in denial."

The poll showed that 55 percent of suburban residents think drugs are a minor problem in their neighborhoods. About 25 percent don’t think there’s a problem at all. When asked about drug sales on school grounds, 48 percent of suburbanites again called the situation a minor problem. Only residents of Detroit felt that drugs were a major problem in their neighborhoods and schools. Lloyd Johnston, Ph.D., principal researcher of Monitoring the Future, a national survey of substance abuse among adolescents and young adults now in its 28th year, said: "It’s not as visible sometimes in the suburbs because there aren’t as many open-air drug markets or visible crack houses. But that doesn’t mean drugs are not there."

Benjamin Jones, president of the Michigan National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependence/Impact, and Andre Johnson, program manager of the Partnership for a Drug-Free Detroit, said the Dior Addict campaign should be stopped, the products renamed, and all the negative, nonproductive advertising pulled immediately.

Health care professionals, members of the media and the fashion industry, policymakers, churches, and recovering communities are being encouraged to begin an e-mail and letter-writing campaign to Dior against the ads.

Christian Dior has no intention of pulling the ads or canceling or rerouting the Dior Addict campaign, according to a company spokesperson. ▪

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