Press Release  | 02/08/2002

Drug Czar's Super Bowl Ad Campaign Slammed in Print, on Airwaves Across Country

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National Columnists, Editorial Boards, Entertainers, Citizens Across Political Spectrum Call on Bush Administration to Stop Blaming American Children for Terrorism

Five days after launching a costly advertising campaign in which innocent American young people "confess" to being murderers, torturers and terrorists, the Office of National Drug Control Policy is facing a hail of strong criticism from coast to coast.

"The drug czar's office wants to hide their failed war on drugs behind the war on terrorism," said Matthew Briggs of the Drug Policy Alliance. "That's bad enough - but what's truly appalling is that they would stoop to blaming our own children."

"They crossed a line no one else has crossed," said Briggs. "And the public is saying 'no'."

In the past several days, strong criticism of the ads has appeared on ABC's Politically Incorrect, Fox's O'Reilly Factor, CNN's Crossfire, CBS Marketplace, and in The Weekly Standard, Reuters, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, the San Francisco Chronicle, and in Arianna Huffington's nationally syndicated column.

Critics have made the following points:

  • The ads are factually misleading: they blame drugs and non-violent Americans for terror funding, when, in fact, the drug war itself is responsible for creating the illegal markets that generate those funds. Blaming Americans for funding terrorism is like blaming alcohol consumers in the 1920s for Al Capone's violence.
  • The ads waste precious resources: the federal government is spending $10 million on a television and print ad campaign to demonize Americans when more than half of the people in the country who need drug treatment cannot get it.
  • The ads are politically motivated: the drug czar's office is using millions of taxpayer dollars trying to persuade the American public and Congress that the failed drug war is still worth funding.
  • The ads do nothing to educate children about the health risks of drug use, or to stimulate real dialogue among parents and children about drugs. Instead, they dishonestly link the war on drugs to the war on terrorism in a desperate and cynical effort to protect drug war budgets.

Read What is Being Said About the Super Bowl Drug War Ads

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Matt Briggs at 212-548-1147

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