The government’s anti-drug ad campaign has not been proven to deter children from using drugs, and lawmakers should consider reducing funding for the $1.2 billion program, congressional auditors said Friday.
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.
Apparently, comparing pot-smoking cancer patients to terrorist sympathizers isn’t resonating with the public. Whoda’ thunkit’?
Full report here [.pdf].