Sunday, August 26, 2007

Attitude Change & the National Drugs Campaign

For blog 1 I’m doing the question about attitude change and what factors determine the success of attitude change programs.

My degree is Communications in Public Relations so the concept of attitude change is fairly relevant. Public relations practitioners are often involved in formulating social change programs (recently I can think of: the importance of installing smoke alarms, men’s depression, quit smoking etc). This is an area of great interest to me and something I one day hope to get into. On that note I have chosen the latest in social change campaigns the National Drugs Campaign!!

Drugs are an increasing problem in society and I’m sure one we can all relate to (drugs are so available nearly everyone knows someone who has or does take drugs). The reality is that drugs can ruin lives and often does.

For more information about drugs I found this site helpful: http://www.unodc.org/youthnet/youthnet_youth_drugs.html

The National Drugs Campaign aims to reduce young Australians’ motivation to use illicit drugs by increasing their knowledge about the potential negative consequences of drug use.

The campaign also encourages parents to talk with their children about drugs by providing them with practical and up-to-date information about drugs.

If any one wants to check out the website its:

http://www.drugs.health.gov.au/

Questions I wonder about…

• What do you think of the efficacy of anti drug campaigns like this?
• Do you think drug taking is the result of underlying issues, which, if were addressed initially (say by government – via education programs, more free mental health services etc.) would result in less drug taking behaviour.
• Do you think once someone has already developed an addiction they are likely to respond to anti drug campaigns?

9 comments:

ZPeel said...

Hi,
I just wanted to briefly add that I think this topic will be extremely interesting and I look forward to reading more about it. On a different note, when the new anti-smoking campaigns were introduced with the pictures on cigarette packets I asked my friends who were smokers if this would reduce their smoking or even better make them quit. They all stated that it barely made a difference to them and that they just covered up the pictures so they didn't have to see it. In actual fact I think the pictures effected me more, and I am not even a smoker! I hope the new campaigns have better success in reducing all types of drug use. I know the latest commericals on drug use is quite upsetting and confronting for me to watch. I also unfortunately know about the damage 'drugs' can do to friendships and families and consequently relationship breakdowns. Good luck with your blog! Thanks. Zoe.

James Neill said...

Christina,
Thanks for tackling this topic - a timely one.

I've got several curiousities about this campaign (about which I'm hoping to learn from those tackling the topic!), including:
- Is it about all potentially harmful drugs or only illegal ones?
- Once upon a time (e.g., previous to the current liberal government), the attitude towards anti-drug campaigning had swung towards harm minimisation, rather than prevention per se. I'm sensing (from a distance) that the new campaign is focused more directly on prevention?
- I was at conference last week and a very experienced guy who runs an amazing life skills / personal development / vocational training program for helping prisoners to get work skills and to succeed in staying out of jail spoke. I think he indicated that 80% of people in jails are there for drug-related reasons...and almost half have mental illnesses.
- Having said all of this, I am concerned when the messages are very one-sided pieces of propaganda because, as Zoe indicated with cigarette smoking, people can choose to ignore the message, particularly if its seen as too extreme/biased and the person then sees the message as from as "out-group" with whom they don't wish to associate and may even wish to rebel against.

Jess said...

This is a great topic to cover in attitude changes. There has been so much media coverage on drugs at the moment especially "ice". I personally think the adds affect people who aren't on drugs more than those who are on them. It is the same with the anti-smoking and the speeding campaigns, they are aimed at prevention but the people who actually participate in these behaviours already know the consequences and it's like preaching to the choir! I don't know how much these campaigns can actually change people's behaviours/attitudes but it's better than doing nothing I guess.

Jess said...

This is a great topic to cover in attitude changes. There has been so much media coverage on drugs at the moment especially "ice". I personally think the adds affect people who aren't on drugs more than those who are on them. It is the same with the anti-smoking and the speeding campaigns, they are aimed at prevention but the people who actually participate in these behaviours already know the consequences and it's like preaching to the choir! I don't know how much these campaigns can actually change people's behaviours/attitudes but it's better than doing nothing I guess.

Kara said...

Hi Christina. This is a great topic your covering. I think I've said that about alot of the topics. I just want to mention how after doing a reading for our motivation and emotion class. Our textbook explains how in some cases drug stimulus (such as seeing drugs being prepared ect.) can actually trigger a craving for drugs or emphasise withdawal.I wonder if graphic advertisments would do the same thing for addicts? Its quite interesting when you are able to combine different aspects of your degree in to useful analysis. :) Im not sure if you do motivation or emotion if not.
Here is the text book if your interested. Page 87.

Deckers, L. (2005).Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental.(2nd ed.).Sydney: Pearson

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