I'm Giving Up Drugs for the War Effort!

These are turbulent times for Americans. We are at war, we are in the midst of a terrible recession, our president almost got killed by a pretzel, and to top it all off, people are doing drugs.

What? Drugs? We're at war, and people are concerned about drugs? Doesn't that seem like worrying about your favorite chair when your house is burning down? Sure, your favorite chair is important, but it's not that important.

Fortunately for us, the Bush administration doesn't seem to think so. For some reason, they seem to think that saving the house is right on par with saving the chair; in other words, fighting a war against terrorists is right on par with fighting the nation's drug problem. So they funded an advertising campaign directly relating the two.

If you watched the Super Bowl, you have seen these advertisements. If you did not watch the Super Bowl, then you missed one hell of a game. But you've seen the advertisements anyway because they have been all over prime time television and in newspapers nationwide. The ads say something to the effect of "If you buy drugs, you may be funding terrorists."

Now, I understand the tactic that the Bush Administration is using. It is called "Scaring the living sh*t out of Johnny Stoner." Theoretically, it's a good idea.

My problem with this ad campaign is that it is an extraordinary waste of our tax dollars. Do you really think that any drug user is going to stop buying or abusing drugs because of this ridiculous campaign? Let's assume for a moment that Johnny Stoner's dealer really is a member of Al-Qaeda. Even if Johnny realizes this, do you think that he is going to stop smoking weed because of this ad? Hell, no! He's going to be too busy listening to Pink Floyd and staring at his Lava Lamp. What's more, he probably thinks that the ad campaign is a conspiracy of some kind to suppress the NORML movement and/or cover up the government's true knowledge of extraterrestrial life.

I can guarantee you that there was not one crack fiend who saw that ad in the crumpled-up newspaper he was making for his pillow who said "My God! I had no idea what I was doing! I'm going to stop smoking crack right this red-hot second, for the good of our country!" Said crack fiend probably never even saw the ad. You see, he sold his TV. Why would he do that? He's a crack addict; he used the money from his TV to buy crack.

The stock broker who does three lines of coke on every one of her bathroom breaks! She's an informed citizen! Surely she would be willing to give up drugs for the war effort! No. I'm afraid not. You see, she needs that cocaine now more than ever because of the slumping economy. She needs to stay awake 24-7 doing research to make sure that she gets a hot stock which will cure her - and her clients - of Enronitis.

Even if the advertising does manage to change the mind of even one drug user, its logic will likely lose its punch on a person whose brain cells have been burned out by years of carefree drug abuse. "Man," he will say to himself as he is sitting in his backyard, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette, "I can't wait until this war is over so I can start buying drugs from terrorists again."

Also appeared in the February 25, 2002 edition of the MU Student News.