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Evaluation Research of Cannabis Public Awareness Communications Campaign

Project Member(s): Macnamara, J.

Funding or Partner Organisation: NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

Start year: 2015

Summary: The `Cannabis Public Awareness Communications Strategy¿ of the NSW Government is designed to implement an evidence-based public awareness campaign that communicates the harmful effects of cannabis use to young people. The campaign contributes to the demand reduction pillar of the National Drug Strategy 2010¿2015 and to addressing drug misuse as part of the NSW State Health Plan. A primary focus of these initiatives is primary prevention of cannabis use, specifically preventing the use of cannabis before the practice starts. Therefore, the target audience of this Communications Strategy is young people, particularly those in the 14¿19 age range (the demographic in which people most typically first try the drug). The Cannabis Public Awareness Campaign is being implemented by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet in the the third quarter of 2015. This research project addresses Stage 5 of the Cannabis Public Awareness Communications Strategy: Assessing effectiveness in terms of exposure and awareness of the audience, reactions to messages, and behavioural outcomes. The prject involves conducting: 1) Social media analysis to identify attitudes and perceptions towards Cannabis use discussed among young people; 2) A survey of 14 - 19 year olds pre- and post-campaign to identify and track changes in their awareness of the dangers of Cannabis use; their perceptions of the campaign (e.g., its credibility); their level of agency in being able to resist suggestions to use Cannabis; and their intentions in relation to future Cannabis use. The survey will be conducted online and the sample will be provided by a professional panel provider with a panel in the target demographic and access to participants and parents/guardians for consent of minors involved.


Macnamara, J & Kenning, G 2017, '“Stoner Sloth”: Lessons from Evaluation of Social Media and Virality' in VanSlyke Turk, J & Valin, J (eds), Public Relations Case Studies from Around the World (2nd Edition), Peter Lang, New York, pp. 147-165.

Keywords: Evaluation, survey, public awareness campaign, Cannabis awareness and perceptions

FOR Codes: Communication and Media Studies, Communication not elsewhere classified