Education A Washington Roundup

Study Critical of Anti-Drug Ads Was Credible, Review Finds

By Christina A. Samuels — September 06, 2006 1 min read

An evaluation that criticized a federally sponsored anti-drug media campaign is credible and reliable, the Government Accountability Office has concluded.

The GAO was asked to evaluate a report co-written by Westat Inc., a Rockville, Md., research firm, and the University of Pennsylvania. The report was requested by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as an evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, which received $1.4 billion from fiscal 1998 through 2006. The evaluation concluded that while parents and youths remembered the media campaign, it had little to no effect on youth drug use.

The Westat report was criticized by the drug-control-policy office as being “fundamentally flawed” when it was released in February 2005. But the GAO, in its review, disagreed with that assessment.

“A well-designed and executed multiyear study of the impact of the [office of national drug-control policy] anti-drug media campaign … shows disappointing results for the campaign,” the Aug. 25 GAO report says.

The drug-policy office responded that the Westat report is now more than 2 years old and of limited relevance and that the anti-drug media campaign has changed.

A version of this article appeared in the September 06, 2006 edition of Education Week