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Success of anti-meth ads questioned by study
Date:12/10/2008

Washington, DC, December 11, 2008-- An independent review investigating the effectiveness of a publicly funded graphic anti-methamphetamine advertising campaign has found that the campaign has been associated with many negative outcomes. The review was published in the December issue of Prevention Science, a peer reviewed journal of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR).

The Montana Meth Project (MMP) was created in 2005 to reduce methamphetamine use in Montana via graphic advertising showing extreme consequences of using meth "just once." Initially the ad campaign was privately funded, but it has since received millions of dollars in state and federal support as the MMP has promoted the ad campaign as a resounding success to policy makers and the media. Based on the apparent success of the ad campaign in Montana, it has since been implemented in other states including Arizona, Idaho, and Illinois, with more states to follow.

The negative outcomes identified in the review include: following six months exposure to the MMP's graphic ads, there was a threefold increase in the percentage of teenagers who reported that using meth is not a risky behaviour; teenagers were four times more likely to strongly approve of regular meth use; teenagers were more likely to report that taking heroin and cocaine is not risky; and up to 50% of teenagers reported that the graphic ads exaggerate the risks of using meth.

The review found that the MMP overlooked these unflattering results when promoting their research findings to policymakers and the media. Instead, the MMP focused on select positive findings.

The author of the review, David Erceg-Hurn, who is currently completing his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Western Australia, came across the Meth Project while conducting research on graphic tobacco advertising. There was a mention of the Meth Project in an article he read. Erceg-Hurn followed up on that mention and closely scruti
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Contact: David Erceg-Hurn
david.erceg-hurn@grs.uwa.edu.au
01-161-403-990-346
Society for Prevention Research
Source:Eurekalert

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