Posted by: David Kiley on January 25, 2008
The White House drug office will run an ad during the Super Bowl that tries to make parents more aware of prescription drug abuse by children.
The ad features features a drug dealer complaining that his business is down because kids are taking drugs they find in their medicine cabinets. It ends with an announcer saying: “Teens don’t need a drug dealer to get high, safeguard your prescriptions. Safeguard you teens.”
Watch the ad here.
Congress has become less and less supportive of the ad effort because, starting about ten years ago, it was brought to the attention of key members of Congress that there was no proper peer-reviewed research that showed a link between the ad expenditures and drug use. Ironically, the cuts have led the drug office, perennially stubborn in making the link, to suspend a second campaign aimed at parents and influencers and to concentrate on teens. While there is no bonafide, peer-reviewed research showing the effectiveness of the ad campaign on teen drug use, there has historically been pretty solid tracking studies showing heightened awareness on the part of parents from ads directed at them, which in turn tends to lead to closer involvement by parents in watching kids’ behavior and starting more conversations.
According to the Ad Age story: “Teen drug abuse has gone down sharply — marijuana over 26% in the last six years,” said Thomas A. Riley, a drug office spokesman. “Teen meth has gone down too, says Riley. “The only thing that hasn’t gone down is prescription drug abuse. These ads are intended to shock and surprise parents and put this on their radar screen.” Those stats may be true, but there is nothing legitimate and peer-reviewed proving linkage between the ad efforts and the results