Saturday, August 26, 2006

News flash: Gov't anti-drug ads don't work

Actually, we already knew that. But this time, it's been confirmed by the Government Accountability Office (Congress's auditing arm). Oh, wait...the GAO has already criticized the Drug Czar's media campaign in the past? Damn, I guess this isn't news afterall. But SSDP is still putting out a press release on Monday to make sure the media knows that the drug warriors are spending our hard-earned tax dollars on ads that not only are ineffective, but cause more youth drug use.

In the meantime, have a looksee at this Associated Press piece on the new GAO report.

The Government Accountability Office based its recommendation on its review of an independent evaluation of the media campaign by Westat Inc.

The government has spent about $1.2 billion since 1998 on scores of television, print and radio ads designed to discourage drug use among youth. The ads also describe parents as the anti-drug. President Bush requested another $120 million for next year.

Westat found the ads had no "significant favorable effects" in deterring children from trying marijuana or in getting them to stop. Rather, it found that more 12 1/2- to 13-year-olds and girls were trying the drug after seeing the ads, the GAO said.

So the government's propaganda ads actually increase teen drug use? That's of no consequence to Drug Czar John Walters.
"We have dealt with criticism of the campaign from adversaries, including those who advocate the legalization of drugs," he said.
Suuuuure, Johnny. The White House Office of Management and Budget, the Republican Study Committee, and researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (who have all criticized the ads as ineffective) must all support drug legalization, right?

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