KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A state health website created by the University of Tennessee is providing information about drug use in Tennessee for a new anti-drug campaign announced Wednesday by President Clinton.
Anita Timrots, project director for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the Health Information Tennessee website is a major source of data about Tennessee drug use for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.
The site was created in January, 1998, by UT’s Community Health Research Group. The address is http://funnelweb.utcc.utk.edu/~chrg/hit/main/index.htm.
The site is being used to obtain data on juvenile drug use in Davidson, Knox and Shelby counties, and develop media market profiles for Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville markets, Timrots said.
”We get information from many sources, but we rely on webites for current information because the information can be obtained and updated quickly,” Timrots said. ”Tennessee has some excellent local sources and the Health Information Tennessee is one of them.”
President Clinton and General Barry McCaffrey, drug control policy director, said the five-year, $2 billion National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign seeks to expose youths to anti-drug media messages and public service announcements. It is described as the largest media campaign ever undertaken by the federal government, targeting 75 top U.S. media markets, including the three Tennessee cities.
Dr. Sandra Putnam, director of the Community Health Research Group, said the site is one of the most frequently visited state government websites. It receives more than 600 hits per day from doctors, educators, researchers, health departments and others seeking state health data, she said.
Other states are using the site as a model for their own interactive websites, she said.
”It is important that each of the 75 sites targeted in the program have complete data available,” Putnam said. ”Without it, some sites might not have been chosen for the program.
”HIT is vital for getting this campaign going in the three targeted cities in Tennessee. It provides baseline data that enable the ONDCP to track trends and assess how well the program is working here a year from now.”