Monday, September 04, 2006

:: adgruntie :: Anti-drug ad campaign a waste?

+ USA Today reports that the GAO report shows that the US government's anti-drug campaign isn't working.
The report by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, confirmed the results of a $43 million, government-funded study that found the campaign did not work. That evaluation, by Westat Inc. and the University of Pennsylvania, said parents and youths remembered the ads and their messages. But the study said exposure to the ads did not change kids' attitudes about drugs and that the reduction in drug use in recent years could be attributed more directly to a range of other factors, such as a decline in high school dropouts.

The Westat study also said youths could interpret the ads to suggest that marijuana use is more common than it actually is.

The anti-drug campaign had been criticized before. In 2003, the White House Office of Management and Budget called the campaign "non-performing" and said it had not demonstrated results.

Walters criticized the methodology cited in the GAO report. He said Westat wanted proof of a direct link between the ads and decreases in drug use among teens, which is difficult to show.

The drug czar's office "is being held to a standard that no other ... advertiser can be held to," says Steve Pasierb of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which helps coordinate the ad campaign.

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