If you’re old enough to remember Fat Albert, Happy Days, and School House Rock, you’ll probably be able to recall Partnership for America’s propaganda video attempting to equate the taking of drugs with the frying of an egg. Here’s the 1987 segment, which relied heavily on the sensation of burning, to communicate its message.
Fast-forward to the twentieth century, to 1998, and the organization was still attempting to scare people out of doing drugs. “Generation X” as they were known, the first generation of kids whose parents had gone through the 70’s drug craze, seemed to be more scared of AIDS than they were of drugs, but the ad campaigns continued nonetheless.
That era’s iteration of “your brain on drugs” propaganda turned its focus from what was certainly a concern with LSD and marijuana in the 1980’s, to the dangers of heroin in the 1990’s. Here’s the segment featuring actress Rachel Leigh Cook. The preceding generation dealt with a frying egg, but the 90’s were confronted with a destructive cast-iron skillet which destroyed everything in the kitchen. Here’s the segment, some have considered a powerful, true-to-life representation of what heroin addiction can do to a life and to those around a heroin addict.
But in the year 2017, Americans possess more awareness, appear to be more observant, and hold on to what seems to be a deeper capacity for thinking for themselves. Instead of looking at drugs like something as cut and dry as frying an egg in a pan, or a substance which causes total destruction to everything and everyone around them, they finally can see the bigger picture. The War on Drugs isn’t working.
Rachel Leigh Cook, the actress in the original plate-smashing heroin advertisement, represents the free-thinking individuals who’re now questioning their role in the War on Drugs. On April 20th, 2017, Cook released an alternate version of the original ad she helped create in 1997. This time, Cook reveals what really happens, who wins, and who loses, when someone gets arrested for possession of drugs.
Cook tackles the bigger picture of the prison industrial complex, the jailing and imprisoning of 10 percent of America’s population, the wholesale criminalizing of marijuana users, the revenue-fueled police state, and the damage it does to a drug user’s future, who just so happens to get caught with drugs.
Users who get caught with drugs face shame in the general population, aren’t allowed to get funding to go to college, carry their arrest record around with them for the rest of their lives, and have an extremely hard time finding employment. This time, Cook’s community service announcement focuses on the damage done by the government’s decades-old “War on Drugs.”
Often, when we feature a video, we narrate the scenes, in somewhat of a play by play description. But Cook’s remake of her graphic “Brain on Drugs” film is so powerful, words written on a page simply aren’t enough to convey the sentiments and emotions expressed and impacted by the production. So, it’s best that you have a look for yourself. Let us know what you think by commenting below the video. Has the war on drugs worked? You decide. Here’s Cook’s latest release. Ms. Cook, we salute you.
The production was made by the Drug Policy Alliance, and underscores the real losers in the War on Drugs, those individuals who’ve paid their debts to society for breaking the law, but for whom the effects are life-long. It’s time we end the useless War on Drugs and replace it with a more humane way of dealing with drug users which is treatment centered instead of punitive-based. Any questions?