``This is your brain on drugs'': The public policy of anti -drug programming. An exploratory analysis of media and other sources of drug information for adolescents

Valerie Elaine Lyles Patterson, Florida International University

Abstract

In the 1980s, government agencies sought to utilize research on drug use prevention to design media campaigns. Enlisting the assistance of the national media, several campaigns were designed and initiated to bring anti-drug use messages to adolescents in the form of public service advertising. This research explores the sources of information selected by adolescents in grades 7 through 12 and how the selection of media and other sources of information relate to drug use behavior and attitudes and perceptions related to risk/harm and disapproval of friends' drug-using activities.^ Data collected from 1989 to 1992 in the Miami Coalition School Survey provided a random selection of secondary school studies. The responses of these students were analyzed using multivariate statistical techniques.^ Although many of the students selected media as the source for most of their information on the effects of drugs on the people who use them, the selection of media was found to be positively related to alcohol use and negatively related to marijuana use. The selection of friends, brothers, or sisters was a statistically significant source for adolescents who smoke cigarettes, use alcohol or marijuana.^ The results indicate that the anti-drug use messages received by students may be canceled out by media messages perceived to advocate substance use and that a more persuasive source of information for adolescents may be friends and siblings. As federal reports suggest that the economic costs of drug abuse will reach an estimated $150 billion by 1997 if current trends continue, prevention policy that addresses the glamorization of substance use remains a national priority. Additionally, programs that advocate prevention within the peer cluster must be supported, as peers are an influential source for both inspiring and possibly preventing drug use behavior. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Political Science, Public Administration|Education, Health|Mass Communications

Recommended Citation

Valerie Elaine Lyles Patterson, "``This is your brain on drugs'': The public policy of anti -drug programming. An exploratory analysis of media and other sources of drug information for adolescents" (January 1, 1995). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI9601813.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9601813

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