Objectives: We evaluated the effects of the Marijuana Initiative portion of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign on high-sensation-seeking and low-sensation-seeking adolescents.
Methods: Personal interviews were conducted via laptop computers with independent monthly random samples of 100 youths from the same age cohort in each of 2 moderate-sized communities over 48 months (April 1999-March 2003) of the campaign, including the critical first 6 months of the 9-month initiative. The start of the initiative was treated as an "interruption" in time-series analyses of the combined community sample.
Results: The Marijuana Initiative reversed upward developmental trends in 30-day marijuana use among high-sensation-seeking adolescents (P<.001) and significantly reduced positive marijuana attitudes and beliefs in this at-risk population. Use of control substances was not affected. As expected, low-sensation-seeking adolescents had low marijuana-use levels, and the campaign had no detectable effects on them. Other analyses indicated that the initiative's dramatic depiction of negative consequences of marijuana use was principally responsible for its effects on high-sensation-seeking youths.
Conclusions: Substance use prevention campaigns can be effective within an approach using dramatic negative-consequence messages targeted to high-sensation seekers.