The Drug War's Bad Ads 

The Drug War's Bad Ads 
Posted by CN Staff on September 29, 2003 at 21:02:11 PT
Source: Orange County Register
The U.S. Senate this week has a chance to end or reduce one of the more wasteful programs the federal government conducts. Tucked in a wide-ranging appropriation bill is an administration request for $170 million for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to continue its National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. This boondoggle richly deserves to be ended.
You are probably familiar with those annoying ads that dramatize the dangers of illicit drugs. The best evidence is that the ads have no effect on drug use.The relevant Senate committee - Transportation, Treasury and General Government - has recognized this already. It noted earlier this year: "When this program was initially funded by the Congress in fiscal year 1998, it was with the understanding that within three years there would be demonstrable behavior changes in America's youth with relation to drug use. The committee is concerned that drug use is increasing in spite of the national media campaign, leading some observers to conclude it has not had a noticeable impact on drug use among America' youth."That puts it all too kindly. The program has been a disaster. According to the Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE) survey in September, past-year use of marijuana was up among all youngsters in grades 6 through 12, except for a 0.1 percentage-point decline among 10th-graders. Both annual and past-month use of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine has increased markedly.This can't all be blamed on the "drug czar's" media campaign, of course. But an independent evaluation of the program by the University of Pennsylvania and the research firm Westat found "no evidence" of any positive impact and preliminary signs that the program actually encouraged teen-agers to try drugs.The Senate should just end this boondoggle immediately. Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)Published: September 29, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Orange County RegisterContact: letters ocregister.comWebsite: Related Articles:Latest Report Tests Effectiveness of Anti-Drug Ads Crusades: Anti-Pot Ads Have Backfired Bush’s Joint - Orange County Weekly the Drug-Terrorism Ad Campaign 
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