Marketing the Anti-Drug Message: Source Credibility Varies by Use/Non-Use of Marijuana
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of marijuana use on the acceptance of social marketing, anti-drug messages in the young adult age group. Eight focus groups were conducted with male and female groups (18-24 years old) in four user levels: non-user, light-user, regular users, ex-user. As predicted, non-users accepted the messages although they believed that social marketing had not influenced their decisions to reject marijuana use. For many in the user categories, source credibility was only seen to exist when the source itself had personal marijuana-use experience. Government sourced social marketing messages, school-based and parental sources were perceived to be biased and out of touch. The exception was medical professionals and medical websites, which some believed would provide confidential, factual and trustworthy information. Present strategies to prevent marijuana use may be ineffectual in creating behaviour change for the user groups, and have limited value as a preventative influence. This research offers support to an increased role for medical practitioners and promotion of independent web-sites that provide balanced, factual information and harm minimisation advice.