Graphic Anti-Meth Ads Aren’t WorkingDecember 12th, 2008 by Alex
One of the government’s main tactics to warn against hard drug addiction is the use of graphic imagery. The basic rationale is that when the general population gets a good look at a person with eroding teeth and sores all over their face / body, they won’t want to get involved with the substance that caused all that ugliness.
The print campaign shows mostly younger teens and the severe consequences of using crystal meth “just once.”
In the December issue of Prevention Science, an independent review was released saying that the graphic approach might not be working.
After studying the effectiveness of the publicly funded ads for 6 months, multiple negative effects were found:
- threefold increase in the percentage of teenagers who reported that using meth as not a risky behavior
- up to 50% of teenagers reported that the graphic ads exaggerate the risks of using meth
- teenagers were four times more likely to strongly approve of regular meth use
- teenagers were more likely to report that taking heroin and cocaine is not risky
Not exactly the best way to spend tax dollars right? David Erceg-Hurn, the author of the review, also said that the MMP chose select positive statistics to further promote its efficacy to policymakers.
This is just another example of a huge expenditure in public financing without a tangible result. Sooner or later, the path of the scare tactic will stop making its way into anti-drug materials.
Check out a boatload of MMPs other ads after the jump…
Or, check out the hi-res versions.