Educating America’s Youth 60 Seconds at a Time

For many years now the anti-drug movement in America has been using Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to deliver messages on television, radio and in print media about the dangers and consequences of using drugs. From Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No”, to an egg in a frying pan to funding terrorism, some of the more famous campaigns that were used did little more than create “product recognition” and others had a huge impact on deterrence.
A recent survey by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a major anti-drug organization that works closely with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, claims that the more ads about the dangers of drugs that kids see the less likely they are to do drugs like marijuana and ecstasy in the future. Another study, however, indicated that teens don’t pay attention to the ads or don’t feel that the message is real to them.
So what does make an anti-drug PSA effective?
According to Luke Catton, President of Narconon Arrowhead, “Communicating the truth about drugs to our nation’s youth requires more than just a message. The information is best delivered by someone with real-life experience on the subject and provide something more than what they read in a health class text book.” The Narconon® program has been effectively educating youth through all forms of media and live presentations for decades with literally hundreds of thousands of surveys showing exactly what works with kids and what they want to know.
“Many young people are told that drugs are dangerous, but not how or why,” says Catton, “Then they see their friends take them and it doesn’t look so harmful. To deter them from experimentation with these substances it helps to project into the future what drug use leads to and to explain that no addict ever thought he’d become an addict.” Scare tactics haven’t worked in the past on the majority of kids and aren’t likely to work in the future. Though nobody really expects a 60-second commercial to completely change someone’s mind about drugs, repetition of message with insightful information can go a long way in the fight to prevent drug use.

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