Antidrug Ads Ineffective, Psychologists Contend


Antidrug ads, which the federal government plans to spend $145 million to produce this year, do little to dissuade young people from taking drugs, say psychology professors at Texas State University at San Marcos. The Houston Chronicle reports that the ads may prompt some teens to experiment with drugs. The study was funded by the Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana policy reform organization. A spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy called it “absurd.”

Harvey Ginsburg and Maria Czyzewska of the Texas university said 53 college students were asked to watch several commercials. Three of every four students said the ads sparked thoughts that ran counter to their message. “In response to ads linking drug use to the war on terror, the most frequent unanticipated thoughts were that marijuana should be legalized, the war on drugs has been ineffective, and that marijuana users should grow their own,” said Czyzewska. A survey in 2002 by Westat Inc. and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania for the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that most parents and youths recalled seeing the antidrug ads; they had a favorable effect on parents but “there is little evidence of direct favorable campaign effects on youth.”


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