The U.S. government has worked with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s National Youth Anti Drug Media Campaign to put forward a new focus on anti drug campaigns. There has been a shift from anti marijuana advertisements and commercials to anti pill messages. Although marijuana is the most widely used drug, the dangers of prescription pill use are more dangerous. Prescription drugs, such as stimulants and opiates, have proven to be more addictive than marijuana and there is a higher likelihood that users will try pills again after the first time.
The Partnership for Drug Free America has been referring to the youth group as Generation Rx because of the increase in pill use. Schools educate young students about drugs, mostly through D.A.R.E.. or similar programs. D.A.R.E.. or drug abuse resistance education even has new curriculum on over the counter drugs and prescription drugs. One anti drug campaign, The Montana Meth Project, aired commercials showing the frightening effects of meth use. It demonstrates the places that meth use can lead addicts, the addictiveness of the drug, and the importance of speaking up to friends who are thinking about trying meth.
Another well-known campaign is Above the Influence. These ads are targeted towards parents and teens. Above the Influence commercials depict the desire teenagers experience to fit in, be a part of, and be liked by their peers. This campaign uses slag words, humor, and sometimes exaggeration to make the commercials attention grabbing and relatable. Most importantly, this campaign shows that it is okay to say no to drugs and not use them as a means of fitting in.
There are also anti alcohol campaigns that mostly target drinking and driving. Another campaign has picture ads of several people with one person, the hung-over one, in a glass being isolated from the surrounding people. At the bottom, the picture reads: “Was last night really worth it? It’s not the drinking. It’s how we’re drinking”. McGruff, the crime dog, is a character that is used to educate children about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Although efforts are being made to decrease drug use and alcohol use, they are not always effective.
Effectiveness of Anti-Drug and Anti-Alcohol Campaigns
Studies on the effectiveness of anti alcohol advertisements show that the ads affect people struggling with alcohol related issues more than the general public. There are ads that are effective however most ads made drugs and alcohol seem mysterious and interesting, making experimentation with these substances more likely to occur. Despite being able to remember campaigns such as Nancy Regan’s “Just Say No”, campaigns are slowly working to target this generation’s culture.