Monday, 18 May 2009

The Propaganda Files - Foundation For A Drug Free World

They Lied - Find Out The Truth About Drugs
The anti-drug campaign by the Foundation for a Drug Free World(FDFW) aptly titled, They Lied - Find Out the Truth About Drugs, paints a scary picture of what drugs will do to you and appears to be aimed squarely at teenagers. But there is a huge flaw in this campaign - they assume teenagers are all naive and inherently gullible. Playing on the theme of “peer group pressure”, FDFW have produced what can only be described as 1980s style scare tactics, carefully mixing in truth and fiction to emphasise the worst case scenario as the inevitable outcome from any drug use. To most teens, this message has been done to death and although the campaign acknowledges that drug use is common in their world, they still focus on incredible situations that rarely happen. Of course, this is not really aimed at kids at all but parents, moral crusaders and conservative anti-drug groups who want to feel like they are being tough on drugs and doing something for children. Politicians especially love this approach which makes it easy for them to be seen fighting the good fight against the spread of drugs. Ironically, these types of campaigns have never actually been proven to be effective but year after year they are still rolled out with the usual anti-drug rhetoric like “we must stop this drug scourge for the sake of our children” or “our kids deserve a drug free world”. Maybe one day, they will eventually “think of the children” and develop a truthful campaign that treats the target audience as reasonable people who need honest, reliable information.

Organisation: Foundation for a Drug Free World (FDFW)

Campaign: They Lied - Find Out the Truth About Drugs
When: 2006-2009

Link: Website
Propaganda: 8/10

Laugh Out Loud Rating: 8/10

What isn’t well known is that FDFW is run by the Church of Scientology which might explain the blatant attempts to deceive. It might also explain the excellent and expensive production quality of the campaign which was produced by Golden Era Productions, an organisation located on a 500-acre lot in California with multiple sound stages, extensive audio-visual equipment and a top of the line production facility. The campaign was directed by multi-award winning Australian cinematographer-turned-director, Gary Ravenscroft. The campaign won 2 Silver Telly Awards and a bronze Addy.

"They said that taking meth would help me with my exams ... they lied"

Yes, I remember when a friend suggested having a coffee percolator to help me when I studied. Or was it my friend who suggested smoking crack and drinking a dozen beers? Either way, before I knew it, I was holding up the local 7-11 with a gun. That’s normal, isn’t it? [giggle]. And what’s this, “They lied” statement? Does it mean that because they lied, it’s not my fault? No, the stated aim of the campaign is to expose the truth on drug myths. [more giggles] The truth?! I know, the irony is priceless.There’s something disturbing when the community embraces Scientology trying to debunk myths by using myths.

These ads give people information about what drugs really do, not only to the individual, but his family, friends and community. Truthfully, we’re all at risk as drugs have a far-reaching effect on all of us. So these ads debunk what people hear on the streets and helps get them the facts they need before its too late.
-Gary Ravenscroft. Director

"They said weed wouldn’t lead to harder drugs ... they lied. Find out the truth about weed ..."

The last place someone should be going for the truth about drugs is Even the premise of the commercial itself is wrong. The myth that cannabis leads to harder drugs was debunked decades ago but there is a hint of truth, believe it or not. Due to the tough laws so heavily pushed by groups like, soft drugs and hard drugs are both classed the with the same harm potential. This forces users of soft drugs like cannabis to mix with users and dealers of hard drugs. Having to buy pot from a dealer who also supplies heroin, ice, cocaine etc. places cannabis users in the underground world of criminals and the inherent dangers involved.

Back to the commercial. I particularly like the scabs and sores they add to his face as he ‘gateways’ to harder drugs. To be honest, I have never seen sores on a junkies’ face before and I have seen a lot of junkies. I suppose showing a typical user isn’t effective since most of them don’t look any different to the general public. Maybe if he had been using for 10 years but the commercial suggests it’s less than about 12 months from first puff to junkie. Something else that makes me curious is the scene where they are running around in fast motion. Is this meant to represent “speed” or meth? LOL! Also, the group shot where they are all snorting something around a table (probably the speed) prior to the fast motion scene, it looks like they are having lots of fun. Much more fun than the stoners sitting in the darken lounge room. Maybe they should change the message to, ‘Don’t let weed be a gateway to hard drugs ... go straight to speed ... speed is lots more fun than weed’.

I have to admit laughing quite a bit watching these commercials. Was I that stupid and gullible when I was young?

“Here try this, it’s heroin” - Okay, but will I be cool?

“They said prescription pain killers were totally safe” - Great now I can just take handfuls of unknown pills. I always believe my friends. I would never say, “fuck off, I’m not taking that” or “you go first”.

“He said he would love me forever ... if I smoke crack with him” - Oh dear. She deserves it.

Are these commercials typical of what teens experience in reality? The answer has to be no. The ecstasy commercial shows a girl taking half a pill and collapsing in a night club. They would have to follow about 10,000 users to find someone who reacts like this. The meth commercial ... unbelievable, the cocaine commercial ... even more unbelievable. It really makes a parody of their sales pitch, “Find out the truth about drugs”. Anyway I took their advice and looked through their “Drug Facts” section and the booklets they produce. Not surprisingly, it revealed a huge selection of misinformation and propaganda. For example:

• Marijuana and hashish users build up a tolerance to the drugs, which can lead them to take more of it or experiment with stronger drugs to get the same effect.

• This can get so severe that a person will do almost anything to get the drug — even commit murder.

• According to a National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, kids who frequently use marijuana are almost four times more likely to act violently or damage property. They are five times more likely to steal than those who do not use the drug.

• "I tried it once and BOOM! I was addicted".

• Ecstasy is [...] addictive.

• Crack cocaine [...] people have been known to become addicted after using the drug just once.

• Methamphetamine is an extremely powerful and addictive drug. [...] Many addicts report getting hooked from the first use. It causes violent and psychotic behavior.

• The consequences of drug use are always worse than the problem one is trying to solve with them.

Scientology Links
The FDFW is run by the Church of Scientology and is closely linked to the youth orientated Drug-Free Marshals program or
Drug-Free Ambassadors as it’s called in Australia. You may have heard of our own Carly Crutchfield, Scientologist, Drug Free Ambassador and real estate investment advisor. The blurring of who is who and who runs what is how the Church of Scientology can sneak into schools and community groups when needed or promote their church when they want publicity. Maybe that’s why the campaign commercials and booklets are readily available at the Scientology website but the link to Scientology hardly gets a mention at FDFW. The offical blurb for FDFW from their website is:

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a secular, nonprofit organization that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions to be drug-free.

Secular? factual information? Like all front groups for Scientology, it’s really about expanding the flock. Conforming to conservative, moralistic views on drugs allows them to be easily accepted by other anti-drug moralists. Schools, religious groups, community organisations and politicians welcome them with open arms when they see the benefits of free colourful booklets and well organised strategies. And it’s an easy message to sell - “say no to drugs, say yes to life”. Just don’t
mention Scientology! Well not yet, anyway.

What intrigues me most is that Scientology claims they can cure drug addiction along with poverty, mental health etc. Then why don’t they? Why bother with FDFW when they can simply “cure” drug addiction? Do you remember that Tom Cruise interview where he rambled on about being proud to be a Scientologist? Remember it hitting the internet then the Scientology lawyers quickly had it removed? What made them panic and remove it so quickly?, Was it Tom Cruise saying this?:

We are the authorities on getting people off drugs, we are the authorities on the mind, we are the authorities on improving conditions… we can rehabilitate criminals.
-Dailymotion (2:56) - (Transcript)

Apart from Tom Cruise, fellow Scientologists,
John Travolta and Kirsty Alley have also pushed the claim that they can cure drug addiction. Scientologists claim that their organisation, Narcocon via a treatment called Purification Rundown have a 90% success rate at curing drug addiction. This has been disputed several times and in reality is more like 6%. In a recent attack on psychiatry, Cruise warned people on prescription medication and to “think carefully about the harms they're(prescription pills) doing to their bodies”. During that interview, the actor also claimed that he can get someone off heroin in three days through Scientology's detox programmes. It seems Scientologists firmly believe their BS.

Scientology technology has been able to eradicate the major damage in persons who have been on drugs as well as make further addiction unnecessary and unwanted.
Thus, Scientology contains an exact technology which not only gets a person painlessly off drugs but handles their physical, mental and spiritual effects and locates and fully resolves the reason underlying a person’s drug-taking. Nothing else can do this with certainty.
-Scientology Handbook

Why has Narconon been so active in
schools worldwide and often taken on by local community groups? Because they don't advertise their link to Scientology. The Narconon website doesn’t have any reference to being owned the Church of Scientology and even FDFW doesn’t mention their association. This is how they work. But with Narconon recently receiving criticism for their methods and not declaring their Scientology links, FDFW might be their new front. With so much deceit and false information being bandied around, the question has to be asked ... do you really trust Narconon um... Foundation for a Drug Free World(FDFW) I mean, Scientology?

More from the Propaganda Files


rougevert said...

Woooow, that's an impressive website. I have ordered a DVD to my PO Box for a lark but was not keen to give my real phone number to these weirdos so put a fake one in (it was a required field)... hope I get it anyway!

One of the dangers with this kind of hyperbolic rubbish is that it leads to people ignoring the very real health risks that drugs pose.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Rougevert.

Exactly right! It's the boy who cried wolf story. It's why kids just don't listen to anti-drug campaigns anymore. Demonising cannabis may make parents, moralists and politicians feel good but in reality, the kids see many others doing it without any problems. So when they need to give real warnings about heroin or abusing drugs, the kids think it's just more lies.

The irony is that the "tough love" or "tough on drugs" supporters who are prepared to lie or exaggerate the issue are causing more kids to use drugs. These people are dangerous and killing our kids just so they can feel like they're doing something good ... ignorant, selfish bastards!!!

shining_mtns_guy said...

Yeah, this websit is ridiculous. Like you said, blends some truth with a lot of ridiculous propaganda. Since it mentions the sixties, I'll say that one of the reasons drug experimentation increased in the sixties so much is because we all figured out the establishment was lying to us about just about everything, so a lot of us decided to find out for ourselves.

Have you ever seen "Reefer Madness"?

These guys must think that kids today are stupider than the powers-that-were thought we were back then. Gateway drugs, that is such a load of... Just as you pointed out, and most people in the medical and psychological field back this up, the only way marijuana is a gateway drug is that it's available from the same source. If they were all legal and regulated, whether for medical use or otherwise, and with obvious exceptions, we wouldn't have a lot of the problems we have. Certainly there wouldn't be any drug cartels because they'd have to be legitimate businesses. There's the real crime!

Thanks. I looked through 4 pages on Google after seeing one of these ads just to find out if anyone was advocating some sane opposition to this baloney.

Anonymous said...

They said drugs were cool, They lied? Well, drugs relieve the pressure of conforming, and the infectious disease of wanting to be cool.