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AP FACT CHECK: Anti-drug ad campaigns fared poorly in past

October 26, 2017

President Donald Trump is promising a “massive advertising campaign” as part of his administration’s response to the worst drug crisis in U.S. history. But an AP Fact Check finds that marketing efforts such as the Just Say No and D.A.R.E. campaigns of the 1980s show few results.

In declaring the country’s opioid overdoses a public health emergency, Trump laid out steps to combat addiction and abuse with heroin and prescription painkillers. He placed particular focus on advertising to discourage young people from trying drugs.

Yet a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found a nearly $1 billion national campaign designed to discourage use of illegal drugs among young people had no favorable effects on their behavior.

Experts say other measures could be far more effective.

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