Absolutely stupid anti-drug ads

If you watch television at least somewhat regularly and live in the United States, then you’ve probably seen an absolutely stupid series of anti-drug ads put out by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The latest campaign compares smoking marijuana to “SLOM”, which is a word they’ve made up that stands for “Sticking Leeches On Myself”. The ads can be seen on their website, but the gist of it is that a bunch of students are sticking leeches on themselves because of peer influence.

I’ve done a lot of arguing online over scientific issues (especially evolution), so I know that metaphors/analogies/syllogisms can’t prove points, they can only help elucidate them. Also, metaphors are worthless unless they are accurate, and this SLOM metaphor is not. Sticking leeches on oneself is disgusting and derives no pleasure. The only reason anyone would do it is because they were forced to, by threat of violence or possibly “peer pressure”.

Compare this to marijuana, however. I believe the majority of people who use marijuana do so because they find it enjoyable. And that is where the analogy breaks down. It’s simply not true that the majority of marijuana users use it only because of peer influence; I believe nearly all of them honestly and truly like it (and it’s expensive enough that if you didn’t find it worthwhile you wouldn’t waste the money). Marijuana isn’t some terrible, stupid thing that people would rather not do, but only do because they are forced by their peers. Marijuana isn’t leeches. It’s simply a ludicrous claim that the ad is making, and anyone with half a brain who watches these ads will realize how ludicrous the comparison is.

If our government thinks it’s worthwhile to spend money advertising against marijuana, fine, go right ahead. But do it accurately. Don’t run with poorly thought-out propaganda based around a deliberately misleading and highly inaccurate analogy.

3 Responses to “Absolutely stupid anti-drug ads”

  1. arensb Says:

    Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Trainspotting:

    People think it’s all about misery and desperation and death and all that shit, which is not to be ignored. But what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. After all, we’re not fucking stupid. At least, we’re not that fucking stupid.

  2. Cyde Weys Says:

    Ah man, I saw that movie. What a downer. I guess it was a realistic depiction, but … I really didn’t enjoy watching it. It was painful seeing people so messed up.

    But the accuracy of that quote is without question. People only do drugs because it’s fun in some way. Nobody’s going to be sticking leeches on themselves just because their friends are doing it. Teenagers are smarter than that.

    Oh, and this post is now a high Google search result for likely phrases people will type in after seeing the ad (e.g. “sticking leeches”, “leeches anti-drug”, etc.). So it looks like I’m doing some counter-programming to this silly advertising campaign, at least for the kids who are Internet-savvy :-P

  3. Kelly Sommers Says:

    These ads are so stupid and probably spawn more drugs user than it deters. It’s almost like Reefer Madness. They just tell lies so outrageous that they hope to scare kids from taking drugs- truth is when kids find out how dangerous weed is not it makes them want to take all the more, there like hey they were lying to us this doesn’t make me want to run over people or dive into an empty pool or have lots and lots of unprotected sex. They call weed the “gateway drug” but really it’s alcohol.