The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will spend approximately $3.4 million to air two 30-second anti-drug spots during Sunday's Super Bowl. The federal anti-drug blitz constitutes the largest single government ad purchase in history.
The ads, which will allege that the illegal drug trade fuels terrorism, will be paid for by the White House's much criticized "National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign" - a five-year, $1.5 billion program funded by Congress in 1997 to allow the Drug Czar's office to purchase advertising on various media outlets.
"These advertisements as well as this entire campaign is a colossal waste of taxpayer's money," charged Keith Stroup, Executive Director of NORML. "Does anyone really believe that Americans' illegal drug use patterns will be affected in the slightest by this sort of government propaganda?"
Stroup said that the majority of America's illicit drug users are solely marijuana smokers, and do not use other drugs such as heroin or illegal opiates. "It is patently absurd to suggest that marijuana smokers are in any way supporting terrorism. The overwhelming majority of marijuana consumed in this country is domestically grown or imported from Mexico, Jamaica or Canada. It does not come from or finance terrorist regimes in Afghanistan or other potentially hostile nations.
"Marijuana smokers are average Americans who work hard, pay taxes, raise families and want safe communities in which to live," Stroup said. "They are just as patriotic and supportive of the war on terrorism as other Americans."
Last year, the Drug Czar's anti-drug media campaign came under fire when it was discovered that federal officials had clandestinely sponsored network programming with anti-drug themes and influenced television scripts. In addition, a 2001 GAO report found financial improprieties between the ONDCP and the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather - who produced many of the anti-drug ads, including those scheduled to air Sunday.
For more information on the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751.