Anti-Drug advertising goes too far, wastes useful money

Anti-Drug advertising goes too far, wastes useful money

by Mark Pleiss

If I smoke pot, my baby will fall into a pool all by herlonesome; I’ll run over a baby carriage (inevitably with a babyinside) after pestilent activity with the workers of a fast foodchain; finally, I’ll get pregnant and ruin my life.

At least according to the anti-drug duo of The Partnership for aDrug Free America and the Office of National Drug ControlPolicy.

Unfortunately, babies aren’t the only ones dying. We’re alsowatching our best friends drown, our families being torn apart andthe many secrets of our many drug and sex induced parties beingrevealed (that one’s for the folks).

Even a person desensitized by hours of bloody Play Stationcombat such as myself tends to say “woah” once in a while. Is itjust me, or have our friends at Drug Free America raised the stakesa bit?

According to its Website, The PDFA is a private, non-profitcoalition of professionals from the communications industrydedicated to eliminate “illicit

” drug use. The PDFA is best-known for its anti-drug advertisingcampaigns that it boasts spending over $3 billion on, exposingviewers to over 600 ads.

In 1998, with a changing culture and the demise of DARE, ThePDFA unleashed its multi-billion dollar National Youth Anti-DrugMedia Campaign to reach its intended audience more effectively. Oneof the major goals of the campaign was to veer from the outdated”Just Say No” message that told us to avoid drug situations.

The new focus would be communication with kids and parents,telling them that it is “cool to pass.” The PDFA’s idea with thismethod was to give them a more pleasant identity than the one thatjust has them preaching all the time.

But what began with good intentions has turned into babiesfalling into pools.

Personally, I lost all respect for these commercials when theytried to cash off the blood of 9-11 by telling kids that when theybuy drugs, they’re giving money to terrorists. According to thatlogic, paying your taxes supports terrorists too. American taxmoney bought the shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missilesPakistanis used against the Soviets that are now being aimed atcommercial jets.

After those episodes, I realized that these people have norespect for kids, and will deign themselves pathetically low toshow their points.

Despite this, the PDFA says its commercials work. According tothem, teen drug use has been dramatically cut. A cornucopias ofgraphs and stats prove it. Go to any pamphlet or Website and see ifyou want to be impressed.

But it’s still beyond the point. Kids are always going to dodrugs. Sometimes not for any other reason than because they’re toldnot to.

These advertisers are barking up the wrong tree, and wastingbillions at the same time. If they really want to combat drugs,they should concentrate their immense wealth on programs such astherapy and rehabilitation for drug attics. Concentrating theirmoney in plausible facilities would have a great impact on thosethat really need it. It would also be much, much cheaper.

It’s far more reasonable to help people who actually have drugproblems than to spend terrific wealth on making outlandish (almostsidling the line of lies) statements to kids that may or may nothave ever been around “illicit” drugs at all.

By spending billions of dollars to reach everyone with theiradvertisements, these companies are spending funds other divisionscould desperately use.

Mental health is a huge problem in our country. My own familyhas been effected by the financial disregard for mental health inour country. This is a problem. This is something where innocentpeople suffer and can’t receive treatment.

Mental Health warrants non-profit organizations’ money. Tryingto get some kid to pass a joint doesn’t. If mental health couldreceive a small fraction of the money spent on Don’t-Do-Potcommercials, the effects could be dramatic.

And that’s just one area. What about healthcare, what abouteducation?

The PDFA and the ONDCP need to focus their immense wealth onreal problems in this country. We just can’t keep blowing billionson things that could save programs with realistic goals.

But I don’t know, maybe I’m a just huge stoner.