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Drug Control or Teen Control?

Written by Katrina Moncure Jan 04, 2009

There’s a disturbing pattern in the anti-drug ads appearing on TV and radio and other media.

A boy is apparently traumatized after looking into his sister’s room while she is smoking a joint. A 14-year-old is stealing his grandmother’s prescription medications. Parents boast about how they do not trust anything their teens say and regularly search their rooms and personal belongings, while the untrusted teens are either behaving in the most immature whiny manner about it or are ever so masochistically thankful. A talking dog is telling a 16-year-old girl that her pot-smoking makes him sad.

So it’s just a set of ads encouraging people not to break the law. Alright, that’s fine. But just one problem. Isn’t marijuana illegal for EVERYONE, of any age?

Is not the mother who just found a bag of pot in her daughter’s backpack JUST as much in possession of an illegal substance as the daughter? Are we to believe that the mother will flush the weed down the toilet, and not just lock herself in her room for a while as her stereo plays Jimi Hendrix?

Also, again, if marijuana is illegal for everyone, where is the ad showing a boy watching his MOM smoking pot and getting traumatized by it? How about a husband boasting about how he searches through his wife’s things (Husbands: The Anti-Drug!) and monitors her every move and conversation, all to make sure she’s not smoking pot? Where’s the wife either throwing a tantrum about her restrictions, or thanking her husband for loving her so much? Where’s the ad showing a middle-aged dad stealing his sick son’s prescription medications (a FAR more common practice than the other way around)? Where’s the ad showing an old lady’s cat telling her she’s overdosing on her glaucoma treatment and it’s sad?

Well, goodness, that would never do. Because if those ads were to air, that might give the public the (truthful) impression that adults are either just as or more guilty of drug problems than those horrible, irresponsible teens!

What’s wrong with suggesting that? If adults are much more guilty of these issues than might be widely known or at least acknowledged, it’d be an important message to get out there. Ah, but there is one problem. If adult irresponsibility is confessed, then they lose their supposed moral high-ground when telling teens what they should and shouldn’t be doing. Maybe ONDCP must keep pumping drugs as an exclusively teen problem, so adults can feel blameless and the war on drugs can look more like a “save the children” effort rather than a “telling grown men and women what to do”, making it look like a more worthwhile cause in the eyes of politicians and voters, hoping to be given more of OUR tax money to keep putting out advertisements that are essentially each 30 seconds of “teens are bad people and you should hate them”.

Perhaps our politicians and the ONDCP should hear from us more on this.

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