Film Depictions of Drug Use 

Film Depictions of Drug Use 
Posted by FoM on July 14, 2000 at 08:12:15 PT
By Barry McCaffrey
Source: Los Angeles Times
 Regarding The Times' July 12 editorial: The Office of National Drug Control Policy is not providing any form of financial reward to the film industry to encourage accurate depictions of drug use in the movies. Nor are there any plans to reward studios for anti-drug depictions. No financial incentive has ever been offered or planned to encourage the accurate portrayal of drug use. 
  The costs of drug use to our families and nation are real and substantial. Each year 52,000 Americans die from drug-related causes. The additional societal costs of drug use to the nation total over $110 billion per year. California feels these impacts as badly as anywhere else.   Our outreach efforts toward the film industry focus on providing technical assistance (including access to experts, research and the most up-to-date information). These efforts are part of a long history, both within this agency and through the National Institutes of Health, of working with the entertainment community to help ensure accuracy. We are providing them with the science-based information; they can choose to use it on their own terms.   The goal of our National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign is to provide young people and the adults who care about them with the facts needed to empower our youth to reject drugs. Through the full power of this public health campaign--from television to the Internet to community-based outreach--we are now reaching 95% of America's young people on an average of 6.8 times per week with research-based, effective drug-prevention messages.   These messages are effective at reaching young people. Since its launch in March of 1999, our Web site has received over 1.8 million page views, with the average visit lasting over 7.4 minutes. Television programs incorporating anti-drug messages have resulted in over 100 million teen impressions and 250 million adult impressions. Most importantly, we are beginning to see changes in youth drug-use attitudes and behaviors. The National Household Survey released in 1999 reported that overall youth drug use (children ages 12 to 17) in the U.S. fell by 13% from the prior year. Youth inhalant use plummeted 45%, cocaine use fell 20% and marijuana use dropped 12%.   Barry McCaffrey   Director, Office of National   Drug Control Policy, Washington Published: July 14, 2000Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times Related Articles:Coming to a Theater . . ., Still Smoking House Takes Anti-Drug Message To Hollywood House Wants Films To Add Anti-Drug Messages Czar To Target Film Themes for Dollars CannabisNews McCaffrey Archives:
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by Mitchell on July 14, 2000 at 21:50:50 PT:
This Is Your Brain On 6.8 Anti-Drug Message A Week
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON 6.8 ANTI-DRUG MESSAGES A WEEKI remembered the ad on TV using an egg to show what happened to your brain when you use drugs. I also remember the ad with the young lady slamming the frying pan all over the place. These ads stood out in my mind, as to the terrible effects drugs could have on me. When I saw the people in the neighborhood using drugs, I thought of the TV ads of the lady with the frying pan and the egg.-Ibn Muhammad, resident, Karma Academy for Boys, admitted “for issues other than using or selling drugs,” In his speech to the United States Congress for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign  July 11, 2000The silence in response to General Barry McCaffrey’s Media Blitzkrieg by the major news media is so deafening that I’ve taken to wearing ear plugs just to surf the Net. The only paper to take on the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Drug Czar has been the L.A. Times, which is, after all, the paper of record for the city that is the world center of the entertainment industry. The Times did a front page story plus a scathing editorial condemning McCaffrey’s plan to continue paying entertainment companies for inserting anti-drug messages into their scripts and storylines. McCaffrey responded to The Times with an editorial reply and it will be interesting to see if they will let the fork-ed tongued General have the last word. Even McCaffrey’s supporters would have to acknowledge that he is controversial, and yet he never seems to get cornered into being asked a tough question. Of course a government official with a billion dollar ad budget is pretty much unprecedented in the history of the world.In his July 12th letter to The Times, McCaffrey said his agency “is not providing any form of financial reward to the film industry to encourage accurate depictions of drug use in the movies. Nor are there any plans to reward studios for anti-drug depictions. No financial incentive has ever been offered or planned to encourage the accurate portrayal of drug use,” he said. Yet only a day earlier in his testimony before Congress he stressed the importance of his goal to “incorporate drug prevention messages and themes into popular culture, and dispel myths and misconceptions about drug abuse.” Congress stipulates that every dollar a media outlet receives from the ONDCP must be matched by a one dollar credit for additional advertising. McCaffrey will continue the practice of allowing “content” in the form of television shows in lieu of advertising time. But unlike last year, “our contractors will not review program episodes for pro bono credit until after such program episodes have aired or been published.”That difference is about as significant as that you pay for your food before you get it at McDonald’s but after you get it at Red Lobster. McCaffrey’s distinction between television producers and something he calls the “film industry” is also spurious. Films usually find their way onto television at some point, can they be considered for Pro-Bono credit? McCaffrey also said he would attempt to “leverage” the opportunity presented by an anti-drug movie. In other words, he would underwrite some of the film’s promotional costs. Furthermore, the television production and film industries (and the news media) are financially intertwined under the same corporate umbrellas, so if the billion dollar bureaucrat wants to provide “technical assistance” to the film industry, he certainly has enough political and financial clout to have his telephone calls returned. Besides, the entertainment industry needs all the friends it can get in Washington these days thanks to all of the copyright infringement going on with MP3’s and other Internet based technologies. These days McCaffrey can afford to be quite unabashed in his desire to “encourage accurate depictions of drug use issues including consequences of drug abuse in programming popular with teens.” McCaffrey compares his program with a similar effort to promote designated drivers to minimize the number of drunk drivers on the road. He has even hired Fleishman-Hillard, a P.R. firm with a 53-year history of delivering results for some of the world’s best-known brands, like McDonalds and Wal-Mart. And with pretty good results too. 95% of American teenagers are exposed to 6.8 anti-drug messages from the ONDCP per week, McCaffrey told Congress. 	And there’s the rub. While designated drivers are unequivocally a good idea, most things, like McDonalds, Walmart and marijuana for example, leave room for debate. The ONDCP is currently targeting marijuana and inhalants, according to the July 11th testimony, but McCaffrey and the government cannot be trusted even make a sincere effort to portray the effects and consequences of marijuana accurately.     McCaffrey testified he wants to “De-normalize the image of drug use on TV, and in popular music and film.” The fact is, experimenting with drugs is normal. That doesn’t mean it’s good. But nearly everyone who is normal experiments with one or more substances to elevate their mood or alter their state of consciousness at some point.McCaffrey in his testimony made reference to a website for children called the Straight Scoop News Bureau. Some of the more patently ridiculous statements on the site include:“Today’s marijuana is not only more potent than it was in the 1960’s but may even contain powerful drugs and hallucinogens that can cause coma or death.” Is that the straight scoop? “Some people find that marijuana can increase their appetites an effect known as ‘the munchies’ – which may lead to gorging and weight gain.” Is THAT the straight scoop? Perhaps the straight scoop should compare notes with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “Get It Straight,” which claims that marijuana can cause “hallucinations (visions of things not really there).” You might also experience “difficulty…making wise decisions,” according to the DEA. But McCaffrey assured Congress that within a few years our young people will have no problem making wise decisions thanks to the electronic straight jackets he’s supplying their minds for their groovin’ trips to McDonalds and Walmart. Mitchell Greentower
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: