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Study: Drug Czar’s Billion Dollar Anti-Drug Ad Campaign is a Failure

The drug czar likes to claim that we criticize his ad campaign because we want more kids to use marijuana. Will he say the same about researchers hired by Congress?

Despite investing $1 billion in a massive anti-drug campaign, a controversial new study suggests that the push has failed to help the United States win the war on drugs.

A congressionally mandated study released today concluded that the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign launched in the late 1990s to encourage young people to stay away from drugs "is unlikely to have had favorable effects on youths."

In fact, the study's authors assert that anti-drug ads may have unwittingly delivered the message that other kids were doing drugs, inadvertently slowing measured progress that was being made to curb marijuana use among teenagers.

"Youths who saw the campaign ads took from them the message that their peers were using marijuana," the report suggests as a possible reason for its findings. "In turn, those who came to believe that their peers were using marijuana were more likely to initiate use themselves." [ABC News]

Ironically, if reformers actually wanted more kids to use marijuana, we’d support the drug czar’s ad campaign. His propaganda appears to have encouraged use among those viewing the ads, even as marijuana use among America’s youth was decreasing overall. Based on the data, it's entirely possible that youth drug use would be even lower – and U.S. taxpayers would be $1 billion richer – if the drug czar had never run these ads in the first place.
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"Drug Czar" John Walters is making drug dealers rich

If you want to get a classroom full of rebellious teens to listen to you, does it make since to assign authoritarian police officers to give drug education, showing off their glass case exhibit of confiscated illegal drugs?

How credible is a public health message if it must be reinforced at gun point Soviet-style, especially when you have groups like the American Legacy Foundation making far more progress against tobacco smoking without a "guns and handcuffs" based policy?

Despite tobacco smoking exceeding marijuana use for decades, tobacco use rates have been cut in half over the last decade alone and have now fallen below marijuana use in nearly every major city across the country, according to the Center for Disease Control. That's because it is legal to beef up regulation over tobacco sellers and pour money into tobacco education.

I love it!

I love seeing der Drug Fuhrer's failures pointed out on a daily basis! Oh man, DRCNet RULES!!! I know Adolf Walters is far too ignorant, but he should be sweating bullets over the fact that 75% of Americans KNOW the drug war is failing. I'd like to see "anti-drug" established - a glorious venue serving no purpose other than to point out Walter's succession of failures, grotesque lies, and hilarious counterproductive propaganda. There will be a special place in hell for a liar of the magnitude of John Walters!

Check out to see just how badly the drug warriors are losing. The percentages there for legalization are well over 90%!

Will an anti-John Walters website matter in two and half months?

I think a more productive discussion is how we can prepare to push things in the right direction after the new President takes the oath of office, because I see Walters as the past if not the end of an era. Our government funds will be tight and very little waste can be afforded on programs that don't work. I expect a closer examination of ONDCP's programs and what works in drug control and what doesn't. What we don't want is another unqualified bureaucrat or army general in the position of drug czar but somebody who can apply a scientific approach to cost effective alternatives to handcuffs and guns, preferably somebody with a medical background.

Point taken - but don't expect change from ONDCP

Good point on Walters, I see where you're coming from. Still, since ONDCP's director is mandated to oppose ANY and ALL research that supports anything other than continued criminalization, it won't matter one little bit who the next czar is, there will be NO positive change. For as long as the ONDCP exists, nothing will likely change, and anything that does will only change for the worse.

Same with Obama and McCain, the drug war will rage on until we, the people take OUR government back. Do you really think the Feds would shut down such a cash cow? I don't. It's not about the children, or making America a better place to live - it's about one thing: MONEY!

ONDCP's mandate is anti-legalization, not anti-decriminalization

It's an anti-legalization policy, not an anti-decriminalization policy.

"Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998"[4] the director of the ONDCP

(12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that-- 1. is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and 2. has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;"

Splitting hairs...

I'm aware of the difference between legalization and decriminalization, and I'm very familiar with the ONDCP reauthorization act (1998). Perhaps you misunderstood what I actually said, which is that they (czar, ONDCP) would do nothing except ensure that the drugs they don't like remain criminalized.

I think we're on the same side here, so it's counterproductive to waste time splitting hairs. I believe one fact is true: until the ONDCP is completely abolished, it will continue to pursue its futile WOsD's in one way or another. It would support neither legalization nor decriminalization, as either option would deplete its financial coffers to varying degrees. There are two things (at least) that ANY and ALL governments will never relinquish once they obtain them: money and power!

If you want to hope that the next drug czar will see reason, that's a good thing - hope for positive change in the future is a good thing. Personally, I don't think he or she will. Government hardly ever sees reason, and we all know the czar is at the front of the line of unreason! To think that the next drug czar will do anything other than rob us of more liberty and tax dollars, seems pretty misguided to me.

It will take a majority of citizens of our nation asking why we have a "czar" of anything, and then abolishing that position. It will take politically connected people (like Cheye Calvo) getting raided and shot, adn having their animals murdered by Gestapo thugs. It will take politicians with brains AND balls. It will take grassroot efforts and ballot initiatives, and possibly bloodshed. All the people making money hand-over-fist off Prohibition will not give up their government sanctioned job security easily.

So, if you want to hope the next drug czar is "better" in some way, that's good. The most important thing is that we unite, speak out, and keep our eyes on the 50M target!

Parallels in the History of Persecution

The Great Lesson taught by the Inquisition’s history is that the attempt to control the conscience of his fellows reacts upon himself; he may inflict misery but, in due time, that misery recoils on him and his descendents and the full penalty is exacted with interest.”

Henry Charles Lea

A History of the Inquisition of Spain, Vol. IV, p. 533 (1906)

Let's set the record straight

When it comes to prohibition most voters have been deceived by flip-floping. The ONDCP was created mainly by our beloved Senator Joseph Biden. He coined the term 'Drug Czar". What kind of Democrat wants any kind of Czar? There's no room in a democracy for them. Biden helped fashion our heinous property siezures laws that take away peoples hard earned belongings for even minor drug possession. He helped create our paraphrenalia laws that make it a worse crime to have accessories than for drug possession in many cases. Biden is one of our nations meanest, most senior drug warriors and he's proud of it. Obama picked him because they're both party-line politicians. They're both for big government. How does getting rid of DEA jobs keep our government fat and powerful? So, Let's set the record straight. OBAMA/BIDEN is going to follow the Democrat line and maintain prohibtion. No, we do not have anyone to vote for as President who will end prohibition any time soon. So, the only way to have any real voting power is to pick your other elected officials carefully. Please, write to all your political leaders and candidates and politely demand an end to prohibition via legalization.

Allow ONDCP to expire..

on Sept.30 ,2010. If congress won't vote it back again ,it's gone.A well organized campaign to stop reapproval could be launched. There is plenty of time...or is there? Then the drug war tribunals could go forward.Walters should be first to be tried in a federal court,for lying about "the drug war".


there is ONE HELL of a GOOD IDEA!!!

It's time to treat addiction as a medical problem!!!

I like the idea of the US Surgeon General spearheading drug education and treatment initiatives. They are usually licensed medical doctors and tend to approach public health issues in an open minded, scientific manner,as did former Surgeon Generals Doctors C. Everett Koop and Jocelyn Elders.

No more political "scientist" partisan types or army generals dictating drug policy!

Bring the doctors back. It's time to treat addiction as a medical problem!

This is like that soutpark

This is like that soutpark episode where they hand out condoms to preschoolers...preemptive actions have a tendency to backfire if they're done too early or too late. And I'm not convinced anyone can make a strong case for knowing with any degree of certainty what the exact right time would be

If ONDCP can find people in Hollywood to make their ads,....

....why can't they find any wholesome role models from TV shows or movies who are anti-drug, like Chuck Norris?

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