MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) - The United States needs to do more to reduce demand for illegal drugs if it wants to help reduce the violence that has wracked its southern neighbor, Michelle Obama said Wednesday.
The first lady of the United States made that comment after meeting with her Mexican counterpart, Margarita Zavala de Calderon, whose "New Life Centers" help with prevention and education so that fewer young people will become addicted.
"We need to do more of the same," said Obama, who cited education and opportunity as key elements to any successful anti-drug campaign.
"What we do know in both countries is that, if young people have opportunities, if they know that they're going to get a solid education, perhaps go to college or at least get a job that's going to pay a wage that is going to allow them to live a decent life and care for their families and grandchildren, they're going to make the better choice.
"But so often, in our countries, those opportunities don't exist," she told CNN en Espanol's Juan Carlos Lopez.
More than 22,000 people have died in drug violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on narcotrafficking cartels in December 2006, a government report said Tuesday.
Obama urged those who are able to attend universities and go on to good jobs to help others achieve similar goals.
"When we look at these young people who are going to be the next leaders, when they start accessing that power, I want them to be thinking about how they're opening up doors for others," she said.
Working-class children need to get the message that college is for them, too, she said. "We miss out on so much talent and opportunity because kids count themselves out because they think, 'I can't do this, this isn't for me, I don't belong here.'
"My message to them is that 'You do.'"
Asked how she oversees her two daughters' use of social networking computer Web sites, Obama said the family has established rules: no computer, telephones or television during the week.
And the first parents "ask a lot of questions about what our kids are doing when they're on the computer."
Obama said she tried not to get "bogged down" by the negativity that comes with the job held by her husband, U.S. President Barack Obama.
"You keep your eyes on the prize," she said. "And the prize is creating a better world for our children and our grandchildren because they are coming. They're coming and they need a clean environment, they need strong education systems, they need to ensure that the old world grudges won't put us at risk in our communities."
Obama reiterated her husband's stated belief that immigration laws should be changed, but said the White House can't act alone in effecting change. "The truth is that, in the United States, it takes both parties in Congress to also be on that same page," she said. "We need Republicans and Democrats to support it as well."