When it comes to the tradition of of drug PSA’s (Public Service Announcements), most of them go down the route of using scare tactics to discourage drug use. The theme is generally that if you take drugs, you’ll die, kill someone, steal from your mother, rape someone, or become a criminal in some way, shape, or form. You may even remember Diplo’s folly with his music video for Techno. Most drug prevention agencies have come to the conclusion that this type of message generally doesn’t connect with the target audience and only reinforces beliefs of non-drug users who are unfamiliar with the typical effects drugs have on people. It’s not that these horrible things don’t happen, it’s just that in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small portion of the population that go down that road. In June of 2008, Prevention.org released a study entitled “Ineffectiveness of Fear Appeals in Youth Alchohol, Tobacco, & Other Drugs (ATOD) Prevention” and found that
scare tactics have been widely used in our field for decades, research has shown that they are not effective in preventing or producing sustained reductions of ATOD use among youth
Toronto Crime Stoppers have created a non-threatening and almost amusing PSA that uses an informative approach. It doesn’t use any scare tactics, although this is something that you should be scared of if you’re going to be using these drugs. In the PSA Cookin’ With Molly, a “cook” is hosting a show as though it were on the cooking channel. He shows you all the ingredients that he is going to be “cooking” with and lays it out as though you were watching an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown. Why we see this PSA as being so effective is that it is humorous to watch and yet it’s strangely accurate. Everything in this cook’s recipe can be found in the club drug black market. It’s highly unregulated and shows just what cooks are doing to adulterate drugs.
What do you think? Do you think that this an effective PSA or does it still fall short of being able to reach its intended audience?
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