Monday, July 13, 2009

House Cuts Anti-Drug Media Campaign

Last Friday, the House Appropriations Committee reduced the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign's yearly funding by 71% from $70 million to $20 million. The report states the remaining $20 million in funding is specifically intended for ads targeting parents, which means they recommend no more ads targeting teenagers.

Since 1998, the federal government has spent more than $1 billion on an offensive and misleading anti-drug advertising campaign run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. But scientific studies have repeatedly shown that the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign is not only ineffective at reducing drug abuse, but that the ads may actually increase pro-drug attitudes in teens.

Here's an excerpt of the House committee report:
The Committee recommends $20,000,000 for media and outreach, rather than the $70,000,000 appropriated in fiscal year 2009 and requested for fiscal year 2010, for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign...The Committee does not recommend continuation of the national paid advertising campaign targeted to teenagers...If the best that can be said about the youth media campaign is that there is evidence that it has a `weak' association with anti-drug attitudes, while a comprehensive multi-year evaluation with more extensive data found no evidence of any positive effect at all, consideration must be given to shifting the substantial resources used for the advertising campaign to other uses.
Watch SSDP’s video parody of one of the more ineffective and strange taxpayer-funded anti-drug ads involving aliens stealing girlfriends.

Because the remaining funding targets parents only, the end of the ridiculous and wasteful National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign is in sight!

Unfortunately, the Senate appropriations committee fully funds the $70 million the White House requested for its anti-drug media campaign. That means the final funding figure will have to be worked out in a conference committee where members of both houses of Congress iron out the differences in their respective bills. Those conferees need to hear you support the House version that cuts wasteful spending.

If you agree that we should not be funding these ineffective and misleading ads, take action.