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No Stoner Left Behind

Hard to top a lede like this one:

President Bush has proposed a significant jump in funding for an anti-drug advertising campaign that government-funded research shows is at best useless and at worst has increased drug use among some teens.

Here's an earlier Slate piece by Ryan Grim on the federal government's ad campaign against marijuana use, which began in 1998 and has cost over $1.4 billion so far. A study by the government on the campaign's effectiveness, finished in early 2005, found that "greater exposure to the campaign was associated with weaker anti-drug norms and increases in the perceptions that others use marijuana."

So the ads were actually encouraging some teens to use drugs. The White House, however, suppressed the report for a year and a half while continuing to spend an additional $220 million on those very same ads. Now they want even more money--a 31 percent increase in funding. At some point we may as well just call this a secret government plot to get everyone high...

--Bradford Plumer