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Back to October Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 249 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS OCTOBER 2006

Anti-Drug Campaign 'Not Effective'

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The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign "was not effective in reducing youth drug use, either during the entire period of the campaign or during the period from 2002 to 2004 when the campaign was redirected and focused on marijuana use," according to an August 2006 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

The campaign was started through the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1998. The main goal was to prevent youth from initiating drug use and to stop drug use among existing youth users. Paid television, radio and print media advertisements were central to the project and were geared towards 9- to 18-year-olds and their parents.

From 1998 through 2006, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) received $1.4 billion from Congress for the project.

Westat and the Annenberg School of Communication (University of Pennsylvania) evaluated the campaign under a $42.7 million contract awarded by National Institute on Drug Abuse. The evaluators' conclusions appear in the GAO report: "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."

The GAO is encouraging Congress to "consider limiting appropriations for the campaign, beginning in the 2007 fiscal year budget until ONDCP provides credible evidence of a media campaign approach that effectively prevents and curtails youth drug use."

Download the GAO-06-818 report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06818.pdf


 
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