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'Get the Msg!' Drug info for Generation Txt

August 31, 2006
'Get the Msg!' Drug info for Generation Txt

The Drug Foundation and Run The Red mobile enablers, with the support of the Vodafone Graduates, today launched a drug information service using mobile phones.

This service is a free text message information service where users can text the names of drugs, including common street names, to DRUG (3784) and receive safety information and links to further information and help.

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said the service will provide a valuable tool in supporting efforts to reduce the harm caused by drugs in New Zealand.

"By using mobile technology we can provide fast information around the clock about legal and illicit drugs, through an effective communication channel for young people" said Mr Bell.

"There are times when people need to know urgently about the possible effects of drugs if they or their friends feel unsafe or unwell – they don't have time to jot up about drugs on the internet or in a book. 'Get the Msg' provides that info quickly.

"We're putting credible information into the hands of people who need it. It's not just about young partiers at 3am Sunday morning; it's also something that parents and others who work with young people will benefit from."

Mr Bell said that the 'Get the Msg' database includes an extensive list of slang and alternative names, an attribute that parents and youth-workers could find useful.

The project is an initiate of the Vodafone Graduate Programme, a scheme where recent graduates champion a corporate responsibility project. New Zealand is the second country in the world to operate this service, following Ireland.

The Irish service sent out 40,000 text messages in the first month of operation, after originally anticipating only 10,000 in the first six months.

"We're extremely grateful to the Vodafone Graduates and Run the Red for their support and initiative. 'Get the Msg' is a vital service, so hats off to these organisations for their efforts to bring this initiative to New Zealand," he said.

'Get the Msg' will be rolled out nationwide on September 1, 2006 for a four month free trial period on the Vodafone network. Get the Msg is planned to be available for other networks following this trial period.

ENDS

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