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Posted on May 6, 2005
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John Patrick
LV Life Editor

Okay, lets get right down to business. I have a major beef with this new wave of anti-drug commercials.

I’m not going to take a pro-drug stance or praise the merits of medicinal marijuana; frankly, I don’t have time for that. But, I do have time to take up the issue of brain-dead, fear-before-facts advertising.

These commercials are absolutely absurd. In the first one I ever saw, the camera focused on a young girl with a home pregnancy test that read positive as her parents were waiting outside the bathroom. Then a voice chimed in saying something to the effect of: Now she has to tell her parents that they’re about to become the youngest grandparents in the neighborhood.

What this commercial insinuates is a slippery-slope fallacy. If you do drugs, you’ll have sex. If you have sex, you’ll get pregnant. Therefore if you do drugs, you’ll get pregnant.

If I do drugs, I’ll get pregnant?! I don’t know where to begin explaining what is wrong with that statement. It is suffice to say that, last time I checked, sloppy unprotected sexual intercourse is what makes girls pregnant, not doing drugs. Perhaps if the same right-wing nut jobs who ran these commercials lent a little more support to adequate sexual education, rather than their bogus abstinence only programs, little Mary might have had the sense to make her partner wear a rubber before he slipped it in.

These commercials are way out there, so far out there that I think they do more harm than good. I don’t see how you help any argument by presenting a slippery-slope fallacy. The fact of the matter is that using drugs is not going to make you shoot someone, steal money from your grandmother, kill an old man with your car or impregnate your teenage girlfriend.

Being under the influence of drugs doesn’t guarantee that any of that will happen, in fact you are probably more likely to sit in your basement eating pizza and watching old re-runs of “Sanford and Son.”

It just seems like the anti-drug campaign from my childhood was a far better program. It consisted of good analogies—remember the pristine unbroken egg that was your brain and how it got “fried” on a pan, which represented drugs. Your brain goes through changes while on drugs, the egg went through changes in the pan. Not a perfect analogy, but a good one.

I always liked the one about the girl who wanted to be a ballerina when she grew up. It showed her dancing, she expressed her wish and then they showed an old, drug-addled transient and a voice said, “No one says ‘I want to be a junkie when I grow up.’” It was true! I’ve never heard anyone ever say such a thing. And the best part is that becoming a junkie is a likely outcome of using drugs. No B.S. there.

So listen up, you anti-drug crusaders. If you don’t want reality to come in and foul up your whole “say no to drugs” campaign, you should really give some better information.

Maybe you should try running a commercial that has some sort of logical conclusion rather than a slippery-slope or you can actually present true facts. There are a lot of provable consequences to using drugs of all types, I suggest you present our children with those.

After all, nobody says “I want to be a dumb ass when I grow up.”

John Patrick, a junior journalism major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at jpatrick@ulv.edu.