June 01, 1987 12:00 PM

Introduced by Nancy Reagan, this 22-minute tape is designed to combat drug use among youngsters by improving their self-image. Obviously well-meant, it is also hopelessly pedantic and square. Ernie the Elf, a three-foot high puppet, shows up at a high school dance and ends up as an ex-officio drug counselor. The kids he counsels are not exactly in desperate straits. One girl has just won the lead in the class play and complains, “Everybody expects me to be so terrific all the time.” A track star is despondent over losing a race. It’s all pat. The boy, for instance, realizes instantly he was right not to take performance-enhancing drugs: “It would have been a pretty stupid way to try and win.” Though it is designed for fourth-to sixth-graders, the tape is far too naive. (For order form, send stamped, self-addressed envelope to I Believe in Me, 500 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, Ill. 60611, $19.95; loaned free to teachers)

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