WASHINGTON -- First lady Nancy Reagan, backed by a young Hollywood star, reached out to American business Wednesday for help delivering her 'Just Say No' to drugs message to 10 million students this fall.
In a teary appeal to 60 corporate and foundation representatives, Drew Barrymore -- the 12-year-old child star of the movie 'ET' -- told her adult audience 'growing up today is very complicated.'
Barrymore said while she has been able to resist peer pressure to use drugs, others have not been so successful.
'Some kids feel like they have nobody who cares,' she said. 'They feel all alone and very scared. These are the kinds who use drugs.
'These kids need help and someone to believe in,' Barrymore added. 'With all the negative pressure, there has to be some positive pressure.'
Regaining her composure, the young actress signed a 'Just Say No' pledge Mrs. Reagan's anti-drug campaign plans to distribute to 10 million children in a back-to-school campaign in early September.
Corporations are being asked to provide financial and promotional support.
'Just as drugs have permeated society, it's only by mobilizing society with people such as yourselves that we're going to be able to make real progress in licking this problem,' Attorney General Edwin Meese told the audience.
Mrs. Reagan recounted her travels over the last six years to schools and drug treatment centers and said, 'What I've learned is that I'm scared to death' for American children.
While others acknowledged the important role government plays in the war on drugs, Mrs. Reagan told her private-sector guests, 'What we need more than anything else to solve the problem is people.'
'You can have a meaningful impact on the whole drug crisis,' the first lady added. 'You have the power to make a difference. And I'm asking you today to use your influence, your energy, your resources, to prevent drug abuse.'