From the tales of murderous madness to offensive racism to the “this is brain on drugs” frying pan, prohibitionist propaganda has done more harm than good. At worst, such propaganda has created unnecessary fear and helped lead to unnecessarily draconian penalties. In many cases, the message is so ridiculous on its face that the campaign actually leads to more curiosity about using drugs.
Now, we have “stoner sloth” commercials that try to make the claim that cannabis use only makes you worse at everything in life. The Huffington Post reports:
“Stoner Sloth” is a series of videos purportedly meant to illustrate the horrors of marijuana to impressionable teens. The videos star people in large sloth costumes struggling through various life events due to how high they are. At the end of each ad — after the featured sloth has had trouble in class or embarrassed itself at dinner — the tagline “You’re Worse On Weed” is plastered across the screen.
The whole thing is the work of Australia’s New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet, Australian media outlet The New Matilda reports. (The New Matilda does publish some satire, but this story was not marked with a “satire” tag.)
“The “stoner sloth”public awareness campaign has been designed to encourage positive behaviours in young people before bad habits start, and motivate discontinued use of cannabis before they become dependent,” a Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesperson told The Huffington Post in a statement. “The campaign is designed to appeal to, and be ‘shareable’ among, teenagers, who are some of the most vulnerable to cannabis use. We know that younger audiences respond more to campaigns highlighting the short-term consequences of their actions.”
By claiming that cannabis use basically makes you unable to function in life, teens will immediately start to research cannabis users that have managed great accomplishments, from becoming the one of the great scientific minds of all time to creating great art to achieving unprecedented Olympic glory. Teenagers are too smart for such nonsense. Let’s stick to the truth about brain development and give young people the actual truth about drugs, including the fact that developing brains should refrain from using drugs. Actual science will trump exaggerations and “stoner sloths” any day.