A press release based on the research on drug education literature described in Appendix B1. The audience is the general public who may read newspaper articles.
NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Karen Schriver, Ph. D. 412 828–8791
“Just Say No To Drugs” and Other Unwelcome Advice:
Teens Speak Back!
“These people must think we are really stupid. ”
—A 7th grader from Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH, PA—Feb. 27, 1997—Research on public information about drug prevention finds that brochures designed to encourage teens to “Just Say No to Drugs” may evoke scorn and ridicule. A study by Dr. Karen A. Schriver in Dynamics in Document Design (Wiley, 1997) explores how teenagers react to the words and pictures of anti-drug brochures. Teenagers in the study found that drug prevention materials were often “condescending” and “corny. ” For example, one brochure produced by Health and Human Services during the Reagan-Bush era recommended turning down offers of drugs by saying, “No thanks, I'd rather walk my pet python. ” Teenagers tended to characterize the writers of the brochures as “seriously out of touch. ” One 8th grader offered this impression: “The writer sounds like somebody who would never come to my neighborhood, but who wants to control us. ” Said another, “It seems like it was written by someone who sits in an office all day and gets all their information from books. ” This research suggests that taxpayer dollars are sometimes wasted on drug prevention messages that backfire with teenagers—showing the crucial role of testing what works and what doesn't.