WASHINGTON -- Nancy Reagan met an 8 -year-old TV star and a group of children at the White House Friday and urged young people not to give up the fight against drug abuse because 'if you even save one life, it's worth it.'
The first lady shook hands with, hugged or kissed 26 children from three different drug abuse groups around the country at a ceremony launching a campaign called 'Just Say No.'
She reserved a special pat on the head for Soleil Moon Frye, 8 , who plays the title role in NBC-TV's 'Punky Brewster' and is honorary chairman of the newly formed clubs.
'I'm proud of you and I love you,' Mrs. Reagan told the children during her six-minute appearance in the East Room.
The children gave the first lady a T-shirt bearing the logo of the National Federation of Drug-Free Youth, and a new National Institute on Drug Abuse booklet, 'Teens in Action,' describing model programs for high school students.
The government's 'Just Say No' campaign is designed to turn children and their parents against drug use through broadcast announcements, clubs and other efforts. The clubs -- there are two so far in Oakland, Calif. -- do not get federal funds.
'I just want to thank you for making kids say no to drugs,' Mrs. Reagan told the children.
'There may be times when you get a little discouraged ... but just keep in mind that if you even save one life, it's worth it. So keep in there,' she said.
At a separate ceremony later, to unveil an anti-drug music video aimed at teenagers, Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler said surveys show 'many teenagers are beginning to make a personal choice against drugs.'
'We intend to encourage that health trend by dramatizing the role of young people who have taken a leadership role against drug use and abuse,' she said in prepared remarks.
Soleil Moon Frye, wearing a baggy black jacket with the words 'Punky Brewster' on the back, said her television show -- on which she plays a spunky orphan girl -- probably will do a program on drug abuse.
She said she hopes to give a message to children that drug use 'is going to hurt your body and if you do it there's a great chance not to survive.'
The young TV star, who attends a studio school in Los Angeles, said her school has run campaigns against drug use. She said she does not use drugs and neihter do her friends.
Mrs. Reagan has made the anti-drug campaign among young people her top project at the White House, and plans a meeting soon with first ladies of other countries to discuss the worldwide problem.