Private business and the federal government are undertaking a comprehensive joint venture in drug education -- the first such project of its kind.

Announced last Thursday by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Drug Fair, the project called "Straight Talk on Drugs," was created and paid for by Drug Fair. If successful, it will serve as a model for similar efforts in other parts of the country. The first six months of the program will cost the retail drug store chain $250,000.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provided technical assistance and reviewed the material. The program also received the endorsement of the White House Office on Drug Abuse Policy.

"The government lacks the ability to support such a campaign," said Milton L. Elsberg, president of Drug Fair Inc. "A mass retailer such as Drug Fair, which engages in a gread deal of advertising, seemed to be a logical organization to launch such a campaign."

"Straight Talk" is aimed at informing parents and young people of the dangers of drug abuse.

A major element of the program is a series of pamphlets, each dealing with a different aspect of drug abuse, which will be distributed free at every Drug Fair prescription counter. One of the pamplets provides a list of facilities in the area for treatment of drug or alcohol abuse problems. Drug Fair pharmacists will participate by providing information to the public and working with various community groups.

A series of four one-hour, call-in talk shows on radio station WRC-AM (98.0) is also planned. The first show will be aired Sept. 12 with the others to be broadcast Oct. 16, Nov. 20 and Dec. 16. In addition, on Sept. 12 Drug Fair will sponsor a one-hour televisiion special on WRC-TV (Channel 4) entitled "Your Drugs." Viewers have the opportunity to test their drug knowledge by answering a multiple-choice test, the results of which will be evaluated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"Drug Fair's 'Straight Talk' program recognizes the importance of informing parents, young people and the community of how to deal with the drug problem," said Dr. Jack Durrell, acting director of the resource development division of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "The publications, television programs and radio advertisements can serve as a catalyst for the development of new programs or for individual action at home," he added.