"Just say no" means "Just say NOW" especially when it comes to alcoholics. This article from my news archive looks at how neuroimaging reveals that negative anti-drinking messages are received and processed differently by drinkers.
In November, neuroscientists released a study on brain wiring that shows
why negative messages about alcohol fail to discourage drinking
among people who abuse alcohol or have the disease
Negatively framed messages don’t reach people with alcohol use
disorders, “the ones most in need of persuasion,” suggests a new
study in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors by researchers from
Indiana University and Wayne State University, near Detroit,
The study revealed that the region of the brain assessing risk is
different in alcoholics and they process the message differently than
those who are not. Using neuroimaging techniques, the researchers
examined the impact of different messages on the brains of
substance-dependent individuals and compared them to their effects on
non-substance-dependent individuals. The substance-dependent group
showed less brain activity in that region in response to the
“booze-is-bad” messages that also led to significantly worse and
riskier decisions in the alcoholic group than in the non-user group.
"The findings are somewhat ironic because a whole lot of
public service announcements say, 'Drugs are bad for you,' 'Just say
no,' or 'This is your brain on drugs' with an image of an egg
frying," said principal investigator Joshua Brown, associate
professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in
Indiana University-Bloomington's College of Arts and Sciences. "What
we're seeing is that negative messages are not having the same impact
on the brain."
The findings suggest that the level of brain activity in regions
of the brain that assess risk is lower in substance-dependent
individuals than those who are not alcohol-dependent. These two
groups process the messages differently, particularly those messages
that emphasize what the alcoholic can lose or what he or she will
fail to gain.
Social and medical expenses and lost productivity associated with
alcohol-related problems cost $223 billion annually, so the messaging
may need to adjust, this study indicates. “The government spends
millions every year trying to discourage drug use, and a lot of the
ads highlight the dangers of drinking and drugs," Brown said. "Should we
spend more to highlight the benefits of staying clean instead?"
-- from examiner.com