October 14, 2015

MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS TO PREVENT ILLICIT DRUG USE

Dovetail were lucky enough to be invited to present at the recent "Tackling Methamphetamine" conference in Sydney, on the topic of "The effectiveness of mass media campaigns for prevention illicit drug use."  The presentation drew heavily from the recent Cochrane Review into such mass media campaigns.  The 2015 Cochrane Review analysed 19 studies comprising 184 811 participants.  The authors found eight interventions had no effect on intentions to use, or actual rates of drug use.  Four interventions had some beneficial effect, while two interventions increased rates of substance use in the community.  Due to these findings, the authors conclude "Contrary to common belief, anti-drug media campaigns may be damaging and their dissemination is ethically unacceptable without a prior assessment of their effects. New campaigns should be implemented in the framework of rigorous evaluation studies."

Allara, E., Ferr, M., Bo, Alessandra., Gasparrini, A. (2015) "Are mass-media campaigns effective in preventing drug use? A Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis" in BMJ Open 2015;5:e007449