Students film anti-drug spot Television commercial is part of anti-drug campaign. 'WHERE'S MICHAEL?


The scene on the television commercial is all too real: A young black boy sits at the dinner table with his mother, wondering why his older brother hasn't arrived home yet.

"Where's Michael?" he asks.

Michael won't be coming home for dinner, we find out. He's dead. He overdosed on drugs.

The commercial, part of an anti-drug campaign sponsored by the Baltimore Urban League, the city state's attorney's office and the Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, was created by members of the Maryland Black Student Alliance.

Three students were honored yesterday by city and state officials for their part in developing the anti-drug message.

Joyce Jones, president of the Black Student Union at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, said her participation in the commercial's production only marks the beginning of her commitment to the battle against drugs.

"Even when I get out of college I'll be working to fight drugs," said Jones, who plays an emergency room nurse in the 30-second commercial. "This is a long-time commitment for me. I grew up in West Baltimore and I've watched drugs destroy our community. I'll be working on this my whole life."

Jones and two other students -- Cobi Little, Black Student Union president at Johns Hopkins University, and Wallace Henry, editor of Voices, the black student newspaper at the University of Maryland Baltimore County -- were honored by government, police and school officials.

"You serve as great role models for young people in our community, and for that we're very appreciative," Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke told the students during a news conference at Coppin State College.

State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms, former U.S. Rep. Parren J. Mitchell, state Sen. Larry Young, D-City, Deputy Police Commissioner Ronald J. Mullen and Coppin State College President Calvin W. Burnett also thanked the students.

"We will not arrest our way out of this problem, but I think we can educate our way out," Mullen said.

Members of the student group said they plan to produce two more commercials with anti-drug messages, although they will have to work hard to raise funds for the project.

The first commercial, "Where's Michael?," cost about $3,900, said Steven T. Mitchell, a representative from the state's attorney's office who helped oversee the project. Although the cast and crew of about 30 students were all volunteers, production costs added up quickly, he said.

Students will be soliciting donations to finance the next two commercials, Mitchell said.

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