Field of Work: Substance abuse prevention media campaign.
Problem Synopsis: Use patterns for nearly all illegal drugs, ranging from marijuana to heroin. Changes in drug use are linked closely to perceptions of risk and disapproval. As consumers come to view drug use as riskier and increasingly disapprove of drugs, consumption declines. The opposite also holds true. The media plays a large role in shaping youth perceptions about risk.
Synopsis of the Work: From 1997 to 2006, with three grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America worked with advertising agencies, media companies and experts in the field of substance abuse on media campaigns to curb teen demand for drugs that emerged as a growing problem in the 1990s. Beginning in 1998, the partnership also served as the primary supplier of creative content and was a strategic advisor to the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, a $929 million initiative of the federal government to reduce adolescent use of marijuana and inhalants.
Key Findings: The partnership sponsored a survey that examined changes in teens' behaviors and attitudes toward marijuana and other drugs during the grant period. It found:
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded an evaluation that looked exclusively at the impact of the federal National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign from 1999 to 2004. The final evaluation reported that:
The University of Michigan's annual Monitoring the Future survey (funded by NIDA) also showed significant declines in teen substance abuse, for example, a 28 percent decline in 8th, 10th and 12th grade use of illicit drugs between 1996 and 2007.