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Comic Strip Has a Hit With Anti-Drug Crusade

November 27, 1987|BETH ANN KRIER | Times Staff Writer

Luann, the comic strip character who's usually worrying about her weight, hair and complexion, has become a hit on the nation's anti-drug circuit.

According to Greg Evans, the strip's San Marcos-based creator, "thousands" of readers around the country have written to order the booklets in which his recent five-week "Luann" series on the topic of high schoolers and drugs is reprinted.

"Nancy Reagan wrote a nice letter of support. And we got dozens of letters of support from drug agencies all over the country," Evans said. "We also got letters from teachers who said they had cut out the strips and laminated them . . . ."

Action-Packed Tale

In the series, Luann's friend Berniece is approached by a handsome senior who asks if he can keep his gym clothes in her locker. Berniece falls for the guy, who has used her locker to store marijuana, and against her better judgment she goes out with him, only to discover he also consumes large quantities of even stronger drugs. In the action-packed ending, both Berniece and Luann wind up as anti-drug crusaders and the handsome senior's life is saved by Berniece's act of throwing out his drugs.

"Basically, I started this thing . . . when I read a Gallup survey saying the No. 1 concern among parents about their children in school was drug use. My oldest child is now 12 and just went into junior high school. As a parent, you stop worrying about diaper rash and now you've got much more serious things to worry about. Since I do a comic strip about a teen-ager, I felt a responsibility to address this issue," Evans explained.

'One-Shot Deal'

"This was a one-shot deal. I don't want to get heavy-handed with Luann. But if we can turn one kid's head around, we've done something positive. I certainly don't expect one comic strip to change the world, but it all adds up."

A booklet of the strips, which includes a copy of Nancy Reagan's letter of support and a list of drug prevention agencies, is available for $1 from North America Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

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