Teen anti drugs make impact

Ads warning about the dangers of smoking pot or taking Ecstasy can persuade young people stay away from drugs, according to a study released by an advocacy group.A survey of teens conducted for the Partnership for a Drug Free America found kids who see or hear anti drug ads at least once a day are less likely to do drugs than youngsters who don’t see or hear ads frequently. Teens who got a daily dose of the anti drug message were nearly 40 percent less likely to try methamphetamine and about 30 percent less likely to use Ecstasy, the study found. When asked about marijuana, kids who said they saw the ads regularly were nearly 15 percent less likely to smoke pot.

The partnership produces most of the anti drug messages for the White House. Among them: one featuring a young man visiting the site where his brother was killed by a driver under the influence of marijuana. The difficulty is getting kids to see the ads and pay attention to them. A University of Pennsylvania study released last year found the ads are largely ignored by teens.

A spokesman for the government’s drug policy office, Tom Riley said the partnership changed the tone of the ads in the last year to make them harder hitting and punchier. The ads also play up the negative consequences of drugs more, he said.
“These ads have taught millions of teens the truth that marijuana is a harmful drug,” said Riley.

Barry McCaffrey drug czar during the Clinton administration said the anti drug ads are having a profound impact in a fundamental way, affecting not just adolescents but adults” as well including parents, pediatricians and teachers. The drop in drug use proves the ads are a key part in the battle, he said.
Source: Sunday Partnership for Drug free America 2003

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