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Time To Just Say 'No' To Anti-Drug Campaign

LdyLunatic

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USA -- Imagine the following TV commercial: A close-up shot of an egg. A narrator says, "This is your tax money."
Then the egg rolls onto the floor, smashing open. The narrator continues: "And this is your tax money working to keep kids off drugs." It might bring to mind a famous anti-drug spot. "This is your brain," a voice said as an egg was shown on screen. "And this is your brain on drugs," he continued ominously as the egg was seen frying in a sizzling skillet.

That public service announcement was fodder for many late-night comedy sketches and countless jokes, but it may not have done a thing to keep kids from trying illegal drugs. Decades later, anti-drug advertisements continue to appear in print and on television, but there is now evidence that they aren't working as intended. In fact, one recent study has demonstrated that certain government-sponsored anti-drug spots may have spurred some kids to say "yes" to dope.

This is your brain in a dither. And your tax dollars going down the drain.

Since 1998, the federal government has spent $1.2 billion on a media campaign meant to keep kids from using drugs. When the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, decided to try to gauge how the campaign had been working, the research firm it hired came back with bad news. So the GAO ordered further review. And Westat Inc., the research company, confirmed its earlier findings, with the GAO then backing the results.

It is long past time to recognize that many elements of the so-called war on drugs have failed. The taxpayer-funded media campaign is just the latest to be declared a flop.

No one wants kids to use illegal drugs. No one wants them to experiment with marijuana, to toy with pills, to become addicted to cocaine or methamphetamine. But that does not mean that failed efforts to keep kids off drugs should be blindly continued. If the anti-drug media campaign isn't working - and there is every reason to believe that it is not - then it should be discontinued. We can think of lots of ways to spend another billion dollars. We'll start with just one: more money for effective drug treatment programs.

The current plan has not been working. It's high time to choose a new course.

Source: Republican, The (Springfield, MA)
Published: Monday, October 02, 2006
Copyright: 2006 The Republican
 

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