April 2, 2002


Strong Views on Ads Linking Drug Use to Terrorism (ALLISON NORTH JONES, April 2, 2002, NY Times)
"It's a colossal waste of money," Jane Marcus, a mother of two and member of the Parents and Teachers Association in Palo Alto, Calif., said of the advertisements. "The argument is fallacious to begin with and plays on people's fears — the two aren't connected," she said of the link between terror and drug abuse.

Ethan A. Nadelmann, executive director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which favors a strategy based more on treatment, said: "This is a shameless exploitation of the war on terror. The government is trying to bolster a failing war on drugs by linking it to the war on terrorism." His nonprofit group paid $8,000 to parody the ads in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

Mr. Walters said that while there was no way to measure the effectiveness of the advertisements yet, reaction to the spots had been enough to persuade him to extend the campaign through the summer and to add several new advertisements.

The drug office used focus groups and consulted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration to develop the advertisements. They are the most widely tested spots since the media campaign began in 1998, when Congress approved nearly $1 billion over five years for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, Mr. Walters said.

There are plenty of rational arguments for abandoning the war on drugs and they've been made eloquently by even the likes of William F. Buckley Jr.. But to argue that drug money does not support terrorism is as vapid as arguing that buying bootleg liquor didn't help support Al Capone. And at the point where you're reduced to saying that drugs should be legal so it's not my fault the money goes to criminals and terrorists, you're just making an ass of yourself. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 2, 2002 11:22 PM
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