Bush wants to boost funding for useless anti-drug ads
The Politico notes that George W. Bush is calling to increase funding for an anti-drug ad program that has been shown to be worthless:
Last August, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office urged Congress to end the White House's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign:
The administration has asked for a 31 percent increase in funding for the advertising campaign that a nearly five-year study concluded had increased the likelihood that all teens would smoke marijuana. The White House proposal would increase the program's budget to $130 million over the next year.
The report by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, confirmed the results of a $43 million, government-funded study that found the campaign did not work. That evaluation, by Westat Inc. and the University of Pennsylvania, said parents and youths remembered the ads and their messages. But the study said exposure to the ads did not change kids' attitudes about drugs and that the reduction in drug use in recent years could be attributed more directly to a range of other factors, such as a decline in high school dropouts. [USA Today]
Dr. Carson Wagner, who studies advertising at the University of Texas at Austin notes that the government spends $195 million annually to purchase airtime from these ads, which may actually pique kids' interest in drugs.