Campaign Effectiveness

Independent studies show the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign’s Above the Influence is working and is having a positive effect on teen drug use. These results are consistent with the Media Campaign’s Youth Tracking Survey which shows youth exposed to Above the Influence are less likely to initiate drug use.

Independent Studies

  • Dr. Michael Slater et al (2011), in a study published online by the peer-reviewed journal Prevention Science, found evidence for the effectiveness of the Above the Influence Campaign. This independent scientific analysis, funded through a grant by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, concluded that "exposure to the ONDCP (ATI) campaign predicted reduced marijuana use." The analysis, showed that those youth who reported exposure to the ATI campaign were less likely to begin use of marijuana compared to those not exposed to the ATI campaign – a finding consistent with the Campaign's own year-round Youth Ad Tracking Survey results.
  • Dr. Christopher Carpenter and Dr. Cornelia Pechmann (2011), in a study published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH ), linked greater exposure to ONDCP's Above the Influence Campaign to reduced drug use among young females. Specifically, the study found girls to be especially receptive to Above the Influence's anti-drug messages about achievement and living life above negative influences.
  • Dr. Philip Palmgreen et al (2007) concluded that the Media Campaign’s dramatic depiction of negative consequences of marijuana use was principally responsible for its effects on high-sensation-seeking youth. The authors evaluated the impact of the marijuana portion of the Campaign on high- and low-sensation-seeking adolescents. A 48-month time series analysis was conducted on youth in two U.S. counties and found that marijuana use (past 30-day), which had been rising prior to the start of the marijuana initiative, declined in the high-sensation-seeking teen population—the target of the Campaign, as did pro-marijuana attitudes. Similar declines for other controlled substances—alcohol and tobacco—were not observed.
  • Dr. Douglas Longshore et al (2005) concluded that the Media Campaign can have a more favorable effect on youth drug use when used in combination with school-based prevention programs. The authors conducted a randomized trial of ALERT Plus—a classroom-based drug prevention program. Ninth grade students were randomly assigned to ALERT (a basic drug prevention curriculum delivered in the 7th and 8th grades), ALERT Plus (the same curriculum with booster lessons added for 9th and 10th grades), or a control condition (no curriculum). Past-month marijuana use was significantly lower among the ALERT Plus students who reported at least weekly exposure to anti-drug messages. The authors concluded that the Media Campaign may have led to reduction in marijuana use among youth who simultaneously received school-based drug prevention. This is consistent with other studies that have evaluated the impact of anti-tobacco and anti-drug media messages (Pentz, 2003; Flay 2000; Flynn et al, 1994, 1997).