This proposal is being submitted in response to an unprecedented research opportunity to examine the impact of a comprehensive prevention strategy involving public service advertising, public relations, and education on drug abuse in three communities in a longitudinal experimental design. The Media-Advertising Partnership for a Drug-Free America has secured the cooperation of local media to participate in a test of the effectiveness of Partnership advertising in Cleveland, Tampa/St. Petersburg, and Rochester, New York. The media in these markets will, over the next three years, contribute time and space at a rate that would cost nearly $30 Million, if purchased. In addition, the Gordon S. Black Corporation has secured the cooperation of local business associations in two communities and the public schools in the Rochester area to perform two additional community interventions in an experimental research design. This design will explore cumulative effects of multiple interventions in two of the three communities. The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), already funded by NIDA, will provide the basis for multiple control communities for the media. All three interventions will be linked by reinforcing and interlocking themes: awareness of drug abuse in the community, perceived risks and consequences of using illegal drugs, peer resistance and pro-active behaviors aimed at reducing drug abuse, parental and community leadership involvement in anti-drug efforts, and improvement of the environmental supports for remaining drug free. The theoretical basis for this research derives from national-choice analysts which suggests that drug related behaviors can be changed by altering the perceived cost and benefits of an activity, and the perceived likelihood of certain outcomes occurring. This research opportunity have been created because of alliances between the Partnership and local community-wide anti-drug coalitions in each community. The existence of these coalitions is one of the essential elements that makes such an unprecedented level of advertising possible, and the existence and activities of these coalitions is one of the dependent variables in the analysis. The theoretical, underpinnings for this effort rests on the ability of communications (advertising and public relations) to alter the calculations of a variety of individuals in a community. The analysis employs a series of rational-choice analyses to understand the impact of the interventions on the various participants in the community. Essentially, the intervention activities are designed to alter the perceived costs and benefits of various activities, including drug use, and the probability that those costs and benefits will occur.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (SRCD (25))
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Gordon S. Black Corporation
United States
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