New Survey Demonstrates Increased Awareness of the Dangers of Meth Use

Thursday, June 12, 2008 General News
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PHOENIX, June 11 A new statewide survey has found thatteens' attitudes toward the dangers of methamphetamine use have shiftedsubstantially since the ARIZONA METH PROJECT initiated the first wave of itsmeth prevention campaign in 2007. Compared to the 2007 benchmarksurvey -- conducted prior to the launch of the Project's "Not Even Once(R)"campaign -- the new results show that teens are now much more aware of thenegative consequences associated with meth use and are significantly lessinclined to see benefits in taking meth. The survey also revealed that, forthe first time, teens view meth as the most dangerous substance, even riskierthan heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

The 2008 survey shows teens are more acutely aware of the specific dangersof first-time meth use as their perceptions of benefits and risks of methchanged as much as 26 percent in the past year. Increases in perceptions of"great" risk in trying meth "once or twice" were reported in nearly all riskareas measured including: getting hooked (94 percent, up 5 points), becomingsomeone you don't want to be (89 percent, up 8 points), dying (83 percent, up8 points), and becoming violent (81 percent, up 7 points).

Teens are also now more likely to disagree with certain benefits of meth.Changes were seen as teens more readily reject the notion that the drug makesyou happier (67 percent), gives you increased energy (69 percent), and helpsyou lose weight (49 percent).

"Increasing awareness of the huge risks is fundamental to stopping methuse, and the ARIZONA METH PROJECT has done an outstanding job in thatcapacity," said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and co-chair of theARIZONA METH PROJECT.

"Given the increasing costs of Meth use on our criminal justice system andour society as a whole, we are excited to see the ARIZONA METH PROJECT ishaving an impact on attitudes and awareness," said Maricopa County SupervisorDon Stapley and co-chair of the ARIZONA METH PROJECT. "By continuing thisimportant message, we look forward to changing behaviors and saving money inlong-term incarceration costs."

"This data demonstrates the ARIZONA METH PROJECT is making progress inchanging teens' attitudes toward meth," said Dr. Judy Krysik, associateprofessor in the ASU College of Public Programs School of Social Work. "Teensreport the Project's ads are not only impactful and informative, but make themless likely to try meth. Teens now see the drug carries greater risk and lessbenefit than previously thought."

The survey results indicate TV, radio, and billboard ads prompt nearlyhalf of parents to communicate with their teens about meth. In the past year,86 percent of parents report having discussed meth with their teen and52 percent of the time these discussions were prompted by a TV or radioadvertisement.

Targeting youth ages 12-17, the ARIZONA METH PROJECT reaches 70 percent to90 percent of that target audience three to five times a week with ahard-hitting message. Overall the campaign broadcast over 32,000 TV, radio,billboard, print and Internet advertisements. Most teens (91 percent) reportrecently having seen or heard anti-meth advertising and many cite TV, radio,billboards, and posters as valuable sources of information about meth.

The majority of teens "strongly agree" the ARIZONA METH PROJECT's ads showthat meth is dangerous to try just once (80 percent), will make you act in away you would not want to (84 percent), is more dangerous than they hadoriginally thought (78 percent), and affects many people's lives besides theuser's (74 percent). Teens "strongly agree" that the ads make them lesslikely to try or use meth (76 percent), help them understand that you can'ttry meth even once (78 percent), and make them more aware of the risks ofusing meth (74 percent).

The Arizona Meth Use & Attitudes Survey is conducted to track attitudesand behav

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