Gov't Messages on Drugs Lecture Us From on High

Gov't Messages on Drugs Lecture Us From on High
Posted by CN Staff on May 22, 2002 at 12:19:02 PT
By David Hinckley
Source: New York Daily News 
I find neither drugs nor terrorism especially funny. But I have to confess that when the government rolled out its new anti-drug campaign on the Super Bowl telecast this year, the ad spots that say you shouldn't use drugs because they finance terrorism, I burst out laughing. So I was glad to hear John Walters, President Bush's drug czar, say last week that in his view, government anti-drug spots have been about as effective as "Reefer Madness." 
Unfortunately, it turns out that what Walters didn't like was the previous anti-drug campaign, which featured Mary J. Blige, the Dixie Chicks, Chuck D and Christina Aguilera. Walters thinks the new ones are exactly what we need. Oh, dear. The problem with the new spots starts with the tone, which is the one grownups take when they want kids to just shut up and do what they're told. Grownups have used this tone for thousands of admonitions, from "You'll go blind" to "Just say no," and the impact has always been the same. Kids say, "Yeah, yeah," and do what they want. The second problem is that the message is silly, and kids know it. Do some drug sales fund reprehensible activities? Of course. So do some oil profits. Osama Bin Laden is a billionaire because his family builds things for Saudi Arabian rulers who make so much money from our love of gas-guzzling motorcars. But our government isn't buying ads on the Super Bowl to warn us that every time we fill 'er up, we finance terrorism  and while obviously there are larger and more complex issues with oil, that's also true with drugs. Walters argues that the drug/terrorism spots are effective because they get your attention. The trouble is what they do with your attention once they have it, and my guess is they cause it to giggle. Remember the last in-your-face anti-drug campaign, the one with the fried egg captioned "your brain on drugs"? There's a record shop in Jersey where the owner has two baseball team logos. Over the Yankees logo is the legend "This is your brain." Over the Mets logo is the legend "This is your brain on drugs." People are so much more creative than the government, and at a fraction of the cost. Of course, we should provide honest information to young people on drugs, smoking, drinking, sex and all the other temptations of adolescence. But when they start laughing, they usually stop listening.Source: New York Daily News (NY) Author: David HinckleyPublished: May 22, 2002Copyright: 2002 Daily News, L.P. Contact: voicers Website: Articles & Web Site:Crossfire: Do Drug Ads Work? Downer Story for the Media -- Don't Do Drug Ads Drug Czar Says Ad Campaign has Flopped Critics Decry Ads Linking Drugs, Terror
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Comment #2 posted by scott on May 23, 2002 at 10:06:58 PT
my letter to the ny daily news
Aside from the current advertising failure, this work effectively comunicates the major reason why the war on drugs has failed. Half truths, exaggeration of effects, and blatant hypocrisy have culminated in the greatest failure of moralistic manipulation our government has ever embarked on."Of course, we should provide honest information to young people on drugs, smoking, drinking, sex and all the other temptations of adolescence. But when they start laughing, they usually stop listening."Honest information remains the ultimate prerequisite for enlightened discourse on any topic, and youth tend to be highly sensitive to dishonesty and hypocrisy. They have been subjected, nay, bombarded, with the "just say no" message, while at the same time recieveing record doses of contrarian images and dictates from supposed authority figures in the media, government, and perhaps their own parents. The war on drugs cannot be won because it is unwinnable, and the children know it.
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Comment #1 posted by Hopeful Freeman on May 22, 2002 at 21:28:04 PT
Question of Values...
   It is a question of values. Do we expect our governement to teach morality? Of course we do, we have for years, but why? Maybe people need to fill there children in on life issues and our governements mistakes and achivements. Sadly we can't honestly say that the benifits are outwaying problems it has created. 
   We are a unified country by the states and the people within. Not by the Feds kicking down the doctors offices, and screaming ignorance for years of Corruption and Failure. I wish I could spread the word of a land that encourages free speach and equal treatment amoung ALL FREE MEN, alas I cannot due to this GIANT NATION still allowing leadership to be dictated from the Tyrants in seats of uncharged power due to the fear of the police comming in and killing our families. This shouldn't be a worry of a free nation. We shouldn't be spending BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of DOLLARS, DECADE after DECADE to fund this "Drug War" against Peace. Evidently when Historical evidence shows it has done nothing more than inprison Millions of people and ENDED thousands of lives threw another peacefull citizens taxpaying money, then it should be obvious to taxpayers that we are doing such a terrible job teaching our children about personal MORALS that we are not only allowing, but paying for our children to be instructed and tought morals without much consideration to the money that has been thrown down to change truth threwout the years.
  Mainly I'm angry that we have allowed double standards in such an advanced society. Alcohol, not Cannabis=Distruction, not Peace. If only they had finished the hemp harvesting machine faster than our government would have started making thousands of goods a long time before it had been deemed non profitable item, however, if it is part of a War then it IS PROFITABLE. Maybe the way to change is by showing the U.S. that it can be used, not only for recreation, and a profit would be immence. I bet it will be something like that. I'm sure we Americans will be near the end of the line on that one. No ammount of scare tactics can tackle the entire Globe. Who knows, maybe the States will regain some power like Jefferson hoped, and a free land we will have with some peace for once in my lifetime.  
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