Drug policy adviser Barry McCaffrey issued new guidelines today for the White House's anti-drug media campaign involving the broadcast networks.
Responding to criticism of the arrangement under which the Office of National Drug Control Policy reviews scripts and allows networks to sell more ads on series episodes that include anti-drug messages, McCaffrey said that ONDCP and its ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, will not review episodes until after they have aired.
Last week at the television press tour here, ABC executives said that this year ONDCP was requiring scripts to be sent in advance.
McCaffrey also promised that his office will keep separate the episode review process from the process of providing technical assistance to writers.
"Recently some from the media and entertainment community have expressed concerns about the involvement of the federal government in the creative process," McCaffrey said in a statement. "We believe that these guidelines will eliminate any confusion about how the pro bono match process of the National Youth Media Campaign works."
Under the two-year-old campaign, the ONDCP has been buying ad time from the broadcast networks in which to run anti-drug ads. The networks are required to match the ONDCP dollars with public service announcement broadcasts of their own. However, a network could receive credit for anti-drug messages in series programming, and either sell the PSA time to paying customers or use it to promote the network's own programming.
"We are proud of the positive impact the Campaign is having in the lives and futures of our nation's children," McCaffrey said in the statement. He said the average TV viewer is seeing four anti-drug messages a week and that drug use is down 13 percent.