Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Failure of "Reefer Madness"

Our government tries to be “creative”. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (I think their name needs a bit of work) has put anti-drug use videos on the internet where kids may come a cross them in the hope that it will decrease drug use. As a Trib editorial put it, that is like “leaving those sex ed pamphlets on Junior’s dresser instead of bringing up the subject at the dinner table”. Passive persuasion, nice thought but not likely to be effective.

The GAO (Government Accountability Office) pointed out recently that “we” have spent $1.2 billion on anti-drug use advertising over the last 8 years without decreasing drug use among teens. They also found that while teens that saw the ads remembered the message, they were not dissuaded from using drugs. Well, that ain’t working.

We ought to spend that money to find out what works, without a preconceived agenda. What we’re doing now isn’t working. Something different needs to be done to lower drug use (licit and illicit) among teens, it remains a huge killer of teens and young adults in my jurisdiction. Whatever “it” is, I know it will have to be active and honest, relevant to the teens and young adults, it will need to get their attention over the societal din, and give them real reasons to quit and, most importantly, not to start.

I wish I knew what “it” was, but I do know that “Reefer Madness” and its ilk doesn’t work.

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