Wednesday, February 23, 2011

U.S. anti-drugs campaign shows early promise

In 2005 the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy launched its Above the Influence campaign - funded at a cost of $200m a year - which aimed to prevent teenagers from using cannabis. Unlike previous campaigns, which stressed the risks of the drug, Above the Influence stressed how cannabis could prevent teenagers reaching their own goals and compromise their independence and used the slogan "Getting messed up is just another way of leaving yourself behind." Researchers from Ohio State University studied 3,236 children who were around 12 when the study began in 2005. They were surveyed four times beginning in Year Seven and ending about a year and a half later. Up to 79% of children said they had seen the campaign ads. Only 8% of the students who had seen the ads started using cannabis, compared to 12% of those who hadn't. The results are an encouraging first step but the children will need to be followed up for longer to reach a definitive verdict on the success, or otherwise, of the campaign.

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