House Group Targets Anti-Drug Ads

WASHINGTON A group of House Republicans has proposed eliminating the White House’s anti-drug media campaign and several other federal programs to pay for the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The group, called the Republican Study Committee, said in its proposal released this week that “there is no solid evidence that media campaigns are effective in either preventing or reducing the use of illegal drugs.” The group, headed by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., estimated the cut would save the government $1.3 billion over 10 years.

Officials at the Office of National Drug Control Policy argue that the campaign has contributed to a drop in teen drug use, but media costs have increased.

“We need strong support for the campaign in order to continue driving down teen drug use,” said ONDCP representative Tom Riley. “Dollars invested in prevention today save millions of dollars and thousands of lives tomorrow.”

The campaign’s budget is currently $120 million. The House has proposed giving the campaign $145 million for next year, while the Senate has proposed $95 million.

New creative for the campaign, done by Foote Cone & Belding in New York, will introduce “Above the influence” as the tagline and show teens the type of people who are bad influences. The work is scheduled to break this fall [Adweek, Sept. 19].