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Anti-Drug Messages and Teens
By National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

New report shows that teens who receive anti-drug messages are less likely to use drugs.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a report today demonstrating that the vast majority of youth ages 12 to 17 are receiving drug and alcohol prevention messages from sources such as TV, radio, posters and pamphlets. Furthermore, the report, a special analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), showed that those who have been exposed to such messages are significantly less likely to abuse drugs.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy conducts the nation’s most visible effort to prevent teen drug use; the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign targets youth, especially those making the difficult transition from middle school to high school. The Campaign also reaches parents, encouraging them to talk to their children about drugs, and monitor their behaviors, a skill shown to reduce drug use. The Campaign reaches 86 percent of youth 4.4 times a week and 72 percent of parents 3.6 times a week via television, radio, print publications, and the Internet.

According to the NSDUH, not only are a large number of teens hearing these anti-drug messages, they are making a significant impact. More than 83 percent of youth (20.8 million) reported having seen or heard an alcohol or drug prevention message from media such as TV, radio, posters and pamphlets in the past 12 months. Youth who reported having seen or heard prevention messages in the media during the past year are much less likely than their peers to report illicit drug use (10.8 vs. 13.7 percent).

The NSDUH also reaffirms the crucial role parents play in keeping their children drug-free. While fewer youths reported hearing anti-drug messages from their parents than through media sources (58.9 percent vs. 83.6 percent), those who had talked with a parent about the dangers of drug use were less likely to report past month illicit drug use than those who had not talked with a parent (10 vs. 13 percent).

John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy, said, “It is crucial that our youth receive clear, consistent and credible messages about the dangers of marijuana and other drugs. Important health information delivered through the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign complements parents’ efforts to keep their children healthy and drug-free. Research indicates that the Media Campaign is moving in the right direction, and that is good news for American teens and parents.”

For more information, visit: SAMHSA at www.samhsa.gov

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