Anti-Drug Ad Campaign Yields Disappointing Results

Anti-Drug Ad Campaign Yields Disappointing Results
Posted by CN Staff on March 12, 2007 at 07:43:47 PT
By Paul Armentano
Source: News-Sentinel
Indiana -- Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Souder recently took to the airwaves to defend one of the Bush administration’s sacred cows: the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.If you’ve had access to a television or a newspaper over the past few years, you’re familiar with the federal ad campaign. It’s the one that’s spent over $2 billion since 1998 to produce public-service announcements implying that smoking pot supports al-Qaida and may make you pregnant, among other dubious anti-drug messages.
So dubious, in fact, that the campaign has flopped miserably among its target audience. Of course, this fact matters not to the White House, which recently demanded $130 million to run the ads through 2008 – a 31 percent increase over current funding levels.Speaking recently with MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson, Souder vehemently defended the administration’s decision to increase spending for the much-maligned campaign, stating, “The fact is, I believe in results and conservatives believe in results.” That said, the results couldn’t be any worse.Consider this:♦ A 2002 review by the research firm Westat Inc. and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found “no statistically significant decline in marijuana use or improvement in beliefs and attitudes about marijuana use” attributable to the media campaign. Authors of the report – which was sponsored by the federal government – later told Congress that the negative results were among the worst in the history of large-scale public communication campaigns.♦ A 2003 performance assessment by the White House Office of Management and Budget criticized the Media Campaign for failing to achieve any tangible goals or objectives. There exists “no evidence that paid media messages have a direct effect on youth drug-related behavior,” the report concluded.♦ An August Government Accountability Office (GAO) evaluation reported: “Exposure to the advertisements generally did not lead youth to disapprove of using drugs and may have promoted perceptions among exposed youth that others’ drug use was normal. … Exposure to the campaign did not prevent initiation of marijuana use and had no effect on curtailing current users’ marijuana use.”♦ A January Texas State University study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors reported that teens are more likely to express their intent to use marijuana after viewing the Feds’ anti-pot ads. Investigators concluded, “It appears that ... anti-marijuana public statement announcements used in national anti-drug campaigns in the U.S. produce immediate effects opposite [of those] intended by the creators of the campaign.”Souder’s response? “Just because some study comes to some conclusion that the liberals doing the study wanted to have, doesn’t mean the study is accurate. Results are results.”Indeed. And in this case, the results are in. There is nothing to be gained by exaggerating claims of marijuana’s alleged harms. (In the same MSNBC interview, Souder claimed – falsely – that thousands of Americans die every year from the occasional toke.) On the contrary, by overstating pot’s potential dangers, America’s policymakers and law enforcement community undermine their credibility and ability to effectively educate the public of the risks that may be associated with cannabis or with more dangerous drugs. This is the reason why the Feds’ multibillion dollar media campaign, and the government’s drug ‘war’ efforts overall, have consistently fizzled.Rather than continue down this failed path, federal officials like Rep. Souder ought to take a page from the government’s far more successful campaigns discouraging drunken driving and teen tobacco smoking, both of which have fallen dramatically since the mid-1990s. America has not achieved these results by arbitrarily outlawing the use of alcohol or tobacco, or by targeting and arresting adults who use these products responsibly, but through honest, health- and science-based education campaigns.Until we as a nation apply these same principles to our educational efforts regarding cannabis, there will be little change in either teens’ perceptions of pot or their patterns of marijuana use, regardless of how much money Souder and Congress spend.Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for NORML and the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC. Complete Title: The Federal Anti-Drug Ad Campaign Yields Only Disappointing Results Source: News-Sentinel, The (Fort Wayne, IN)Author: Paul ArmentanoPublished: March 12, 2007Copyright: 2007 The News-SentinelContact: http://www.newssentinel.comRelated Articles & Web Site:NORML for Programs That Increase Drug Use? Bush Want Kids To Smoke Pot? Wants Funding Jump for Anti-Drug Ads
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Comment #9 posted by observer on March 13, 2007 at 15:28:30 PT
Smoking Pot Supports Al-Qaida , Makes You Psycho
...public-service announcements implying that smoking pot supports al-Qaida and may make you pregnant, among other dubious anti-drug messages. So dubious, in fact, that the campaign has flopped miserably among its target audience.
The stated intent of [the anti-drug ads] was to stamp out the menace of marijuana because it leads to acts of shocking violence, ending often in incurable insanity. In contrast, young people are shown having a good time smoking marijuana, partying, dancing, kissing and retreating to the bedroom. By showing young people having a good time smoking marijuana, [the anti-drug messages] encourages young people to at least try it. By confusing marijuana with heroin and by telling the story of normal kids going berserk because of marijuana, [the anti-drug PSA] scares older young people are shown having a good time people into demanding that something be done.
Same old.
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Comment #8 posted by OverwhelmSam on March 13, 2007 at 14:29:42 PT
Great Article Paul!
And published in a Fort Wayne Indiana newspaper, Souders district. If only we could get Souder to do more interviews.
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Comment #7 posted by Richard Zuckerman on March 13, 2007 at 08:11:52 PT:
The federal government war on "Marijuana" users reminds me of their attempts to silence the climate change scientists and the suspicious deaths of government scientists! When are the people going to come to realize that the only people benefitting from this war on "Marijuana" are law enforcement and the pharmaceutical cartel. Read the book about George Herbert Walker Bush, entitled "Immaculate Deception", written by a retired Brig. General, with the theme that everything the Bush family does is for their own personal business interests. It is time to vote for Libertarian Party candidates, such as Congressman Ron Paul, who is a Libertarian Republican running for U.S. President!!! Otherwise, we will lose our identity from multiculturalism as described by former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm!! 
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Comment #6 posted by potpal on March 12, 2007 at 15:32:25 PT
stick figures
I'd like to see someone air one of the those stupid ads in the Senate prior to a debate on whether the money is spent constructively or simply pis$ed away.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 12, 2007 at 12:03:44 PT
Thank you for the links.
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Comment #4 posted by AOLBites on March 12, 2007 at 10:43:44 PT
bad ads for the stick figure ones
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Comment #3 posted by nuevo mexican on March 12, 2007 at 10:01:02 PT
Todays' Victories! 
Bill gets my vote! When I met him, stopping the War in Iraq was the issue, I mentioned his running for President in 2008, (as an Astrologer), and he was very receptive, and appreciated the support). If it was a private meeting, I can imagine sparking up, though I'm sure he'd have to pass, ala Clinton! Yeah, right!2007 is shaping up to be the year the America Wakes Up, with the world anxiously waiting for the newborns (just 226 years old) to bring an end it's bloody, deadly temper tantrum, known as the Occupation of Iraq, and bushes lust to attack Iran.The time for all Americans who stand for Peace to make their voices heard now, or face the certain extinction of the species, with bush taking us into his personal hell with his nuclear death wish. Great, well written, long overdue article, at Raw Story, on the Drug War
Drug raids, related trauma, on riseWitnesses say the police burst into the house around 5 a.m., pointing submachine guns and wearing full SWAT uniforms -- fatigues, helmets, black hoods and body armor. They were looking for drugs and the young man who lived there. His parents, asleep in their bed in a Paterson suburb, opened their eyes to the sight of weapons aimed at their heads and an officer shouting, "Don't move." on C-span, and Democracy Now:Chavez puts bush in his place, but why aren't other World Leaders this outraged about bush? Why does it take the President of Venezuela to speak truth to power, when it is the job of our Media and the Democratic Party, and they could've been doing their job, but no....Hugo does it for them!(and he's the bad guy in the U.S. press, the 'leftist', while FAR right-winger bush is given a pass on his idiocy, blood lust, and ridiculousness, and no adjectives are used the way Clinton's' blow-job was referred to in every broadcast, and now Hillary is running for Prez, NOT A PEEP about the BLOW JOB, we heard about non-stop for years!!Fire the Fifth Estate, Yellow Journalism is FACT now, and authentic journalism gets no coverage! The Internets to the rescue! And YOU (according to TIME mag, and Amy Goodman, always a journalist, and not a paid shill for the corporate whoredom some of you lurking journos represent. Kudos to Authentic journos, you know who you are)!Watch Chavez RIP bush in front of 40,000 at C-Span, and wonder, why don't you hear this from OUR Democratic 'leaders'?Bush has blackmailed just about everyone in power it seems, and with the exposure of his NSA wiretapping scam, we know EVERYONE in the Democratic Party's' phones and computers' have been tapped, the Dems KNOW it, and are AFRAID to do anything about it, though now the OBVIOUS has been revealed, it is just a moment before our so-called 'leaders' GET IT!Wake up politicos! Speak up now, or forever hold your Peace!Watch excerpts here!http://www.Democracynow.orgPhotos of what Americans will probably be doing soon to take their country back from the bush-loving Nazi/fascists, and those are KIND words:A Peaceful revolution takes place in the mind, and non-violent resistance is the only way, Ghandi paved the way, we will make non-violence the new paridym! far and wide: on the Pentagon!
March 17th, Washington, D.C. visit boosts Chavez popularity, marks the end of 'Gringo Rule'!Bush's visit to the region was partly to foster economic and trade ties between the U.S. and his host nations. Other issues like technology and immigration were also on the agenda. Chavez, whose country joined MERCOSUR (Spanish abbreviation for Southern Common Market) in 2006, was visiting Argentina (a MERCOSUR member) and Bolivia (an associate member) precisely for similar reasons. If he had his way, Chavez would like to convert MERCOSUR, which is comprised if Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, into a powerful trade block that will counter what he perceives as American economic and political hegemony in the region. MERCOSUR represents 75 percent of all of South America's economic activity. Its member states have more than $1 trillion in combined GDP and they constitute 65 percent of the continent's population. for the great Leonard Cohen Video! Wow!What you can do to stop the war, stop them at the ports! is how we can stop bushes war on Iraq, and soon, the world, if we don't stop the 'little imperial gentlemen' now:'Dozens Arrested Protesting Iraq War Shipments In Tacoma'!It won't be long' Beatles video, I'm still waiting, excited and ready for the completion of the shift, that started back in 1962, and continues through today!Beatles on Ready, Steady, Go! Manchurian Candidate was on TCM the other night, I've seen it recommended here, and now I am recommending it as well! Amazing, you have to watch it to get a better perspective on how we got to where we are now, just amazing!The Manchurian Candidate
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:The Manchurian Candidate is a 1959 thriller novel written by Richard Condon, later adapted into films in 1962 and 2004.The central concept of the book and the subsequent 1962 film is that the son of a prominent political family has been brainwashed into becoming an unwilling assassin for the Communist Party; in the 2004 version, the villain was instead a giant corporation called "Manchurian Global".
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 12, 2007 at 07:56:00 PT
I haven't seen an anti-drug commercial on tv in a long time. If you find a video please let us know. Thanks.
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on March 12, 2007 at 07:53:06 PT
stick figures
And the latest commercials, the ones using stick figures where the guy has a chat with his dog? They are really bad. Someone got paid to draw that? And the dialogue...oh boy. Wonder if they are up on a video site? Anybody see one?
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