Friday, October 17, 2008

This is Your Brain on Bullshit

A congressional study into the effectiveness of the decade-long National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has shown that the annoying number of grainy, melodramatic anti-drug ads riddling our Saturday morning cartoons aren't nearly as effective as anyone hoped. In fact, the ubiquitous ads just make kids feel like all their peers must be using drugs. If this study is true, it's just another nail in the increasingly airtight coffin of America's ill-founded "War on Drugs". As is often noted, the "war" is only on some drugs. While the possible instant death effects of hard drug use might be worth telling kids about, it's hard to make anyone feel like smoking marijuana is any more harmful than drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. While a few beers can turn you into an obnoxious ass who shouldn't drive, a joint or two will just turn you into an obnoxious ass with lower standards of comedy. Who would just rather walk anyway. The government is, of course, refuting the study it funded by citing statistics showing a 40% decrease in teen marijuana use over the last ten years. If this is true (and it's really difficult to know one way or another), there must be something besides anti-drug ads driving down the numbers. Teens who reported significant exposure to the ads were no less likely to use drugs than those who didn't see them. But who can trust a teenager to tell the truth in a survey, what with them being all hopped up on grass. More details here.

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