The Best (Or Worst) Anti-Drug PSAs

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

I have always been of the mind that according to our society's standards, it's cool to be a drug addict or a drunk as long as you're rich, sexy, and don't kill yourself in the process. But even then if you kill yourself you become a golden god.

That's why anti-drug public service announcements have always been hilarious to me, especially the celebrity-starring ones, ordered into production by a judge to punish Johnny Rock Star for overdosing on a hotel room floor, or killing the drummer from Hanoi Rocks.

Raise your hand if you thought Reefer Madness was funnier if you watched it stoned or drunk?

Am I right?

I grew up when the D.A.R.E. anti-drug campaign was in full effect. Most of the literature we studied in those middle school classes did more to educate us on how to do drugs rather than steer away from them. Most of the kids in my class had drank their first beer by the time we hit sixth grade, me included. I already knew too much cough syrup was sometimes a good thing.

In early-'90s middle school, it was funny to joke about people doing coke or crack, until you actually tried it at a party years later and your mind changed and there's so many things happening you wanna change and people you need to talk to about it and you just wish they were there and can I borrow your cellphone for a second this is a good song.

The government and the entertainment industry started a line of PSA clips after First Lady Nancy Reagan took aim at drugs with her "Just Say No" campaign. Some were more effective at getting lodged into the pop culture lexicon and creating catchphrases than stopping someone from rolling a joint or popping some of your mom's pills.

The generation that grew up watching the first wave of PSA spots is now the one that supports decriminalizing marijuana and drinks Bud Light like it's Coca-Cola. We're also the same people who turned April 20th into an unofficial national holiday and still long for a lost weekend binging on chemicals--like Hunter S. Thompson in Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas.

At the end of the day, the best way to warn your kids about the dangers of drugs is to show them Requiem For A Dream. Drugs will make you lose your arm, think the refrigerator is screaming at you, be Jared Leto, and land you in a sordid, nightly sex match with a double-sided dildo for dope money.

Any questions?

"No One Ever Says..." No one ever says, "I wanna steal paper plates from my parent's house while I am visiting them on Christmas vacation."

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles "I'm not a chicken, you're a turkey."

Your Brain On Drugs This was the biggest joke in the world when I was little and the family cooked breakfast. I always wanted to crack the eggs and say the line. Didn't stop me from trying drugs down the line either.

Your Brain On Drugs (Rachel Leigh Cook) Even while she was bashing stuff up, RLC still looked cute.

"I Learned By Watching You" Another line that transcended the anti-drug campaign. You can say this in almost any office-related situation. Forgot to file a story on time, "I learned by watching you."

Don't Do Crack (Pee Wee Herman) I lose it every single time Pee Wee says "crack".

"Get High On Yourself" After he was caught up in a coke deal in the '80s, epic film producer Robert Evans made this special to atone for his dealings. The making of it is chronicled the documentary on his life, The Kid Stays In The Picture.

Star Wars Drunk Driving Ad Greedo puked first.

A Drug Dealing Snake A rapping drug-dealing snake? Where's the ATM?

"So I can work longer, so I can earn more..." Yes, that is a young John Michael Higgins, one of the most unsung comedic actors around these days, as a yuppie addicted to coke.

"I Smoke Fools Like You..." I wanna meet the drug dealer who sells weed to seventh graders on the playground and make a reality show out of his daily life.

Empty Pool Alright this one was probably more effective than the others, for showing the futility of a drug habit.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.