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Is Truth a Casualty of the Drug War?

The Public Service Advertisements below ran in 2002-2007, focusing on misinformation in the drug war. Advertisements from 1999 are available here and PSAs from 2000 and 2001 are available here.

The Common Sense public information campaign carefully quotes credible research and leading authorities so as to provide the public with reliable information and to better inform the debate on drug policy. CSDP's PSAs run in Reason, The American Prospect, The National Review, The Nation, The New Republic, and The Progressive.
Please note: These PSAs may be reproduced in whole or in part without permission and with or without attribution provided the meaning is faithfully maintained.

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92.  Would you rather die for a myth or live through medical research? Medical investigators in Spain have discovered that a compound in marijuana shrinks brain tumors. Tragically, this amazing discovery had been made thirty years earlier in the U.S.—but the authorities were afraid it would "send the wrong message to our children." It's time for the U.S. Government to sweep aside the political ideology about marijuana and let the scientists do their work. Camera-ready copy of this PSA is available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Would you rather die for a myth?

91.  What do the US and New Zealand have in common? A World Health Organization survey of 17 nations just discovered that Americans and New Zealanders have the planet's highest rates of marijuana use -- even though they have some of the most draconian drug laws. Over 40 percent in both countries have tried marijuana. No other nation was even close. Camera-ready copy of this PSA is available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

90.  Seven Things We Need to Fix – A river of illegal, untaxed cash fuels organized crime in the US, civil wars in Latin America, and terrorism in the Middle East. The problems and unintended consequences of drug prohibition and how to cure them. Camera-ready copy of this PSA is available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Seven Things We Need to Fix

89.  Study of 4000 indicates marijuana discourages use of hard drugs – A ground-breaking study of 4,117 marijuana smokers in California reveals that the 'Gateway Theory' probably had it backwards. Instead of enticing young people to use other drugs, this study suggests that marijuana may have the opposite effect. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

medical marijuana graphic, link to ad

88.  Protestant, Catholic and Jewish Clergy Speak Out Against "The War On Drugs" – This ad is based on a short documentary produced by Common Sense for Drug Policy for the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative by award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and CSDP Chairman Mike Gray. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Protestant, Catholic and Jewish Clergy Speak Out Against "The War On Drugs"

87.  "Internists Endorse Legal Access to Medical Marijuana" – The American College of Physicians, the nation's largest organization of Internists, is calling for protection of both doctors and patients from criminal and civil penalties in states that have adopted medical-marijuana laws. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

link to ad

86.  "99 Percent Say No." – If hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine were legalized would you be likely to use them? Zogby International asked that question of 1,028 likely voters. Ninety-nine out of 100 said "No." Only 0.6 percent said "Yes." Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

"99 Percent Say No"

85.  "The Way We Were" – When Florida Attorney Norm Kent received a form letter from Sen. Norm Coleman condemning marijuana, Kent fired off this note to his former Hofstra University smoking buddy. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

"The Way We Were"

84.  Let us pay taxes! That's the rallying cry of a group of West Coast cannabis growers and their raw numbers suggest it's time for us to pay attention. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

"Let us pay taxes!"

83.  Why is the federal government waging war on medical marijuana patients in California and other states?. if marijuana indeed helps Uncle Ed with his chemo and Grandma with her arthritis, how can it be more dangerous than alcohol ...or even caffeine for that matter?* To maintain the "devil weed" myth the Feds have no choice. If they admit that marijuana has medical value, 70% of the war on drugs unravels. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Why is the federal government
waging war on medical marijuana patients
in California and other states - link to ad

82.  Newark Mayor Blasts Drug War. For Cory Booker, it has been a sobering first year as mayor. He is an angrier man now. And the focus of that anger is a public policy that he believes is ruining his city and threatening his hopes to change it. The problem, he says, is New Jersey's tough tactics in the drug war. The result is to turn thousands of young men into economic cripples and to give the crime wave in Newark a flood of fresh recruits. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Newark Mayor Blasts The Drug War - link to ad

81.  Supreme Court Justice Questions Marijuana Policy. Dissenting from the recent Supreme Court ruling on the suspension of an Alaskan student for waving a banner – "BONG HITS 4 JESUS" – at a high school event, Justice Stevens takes the long view. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Supreme Court Justice Questions Marijuana Policy - link to ad

80.  Meet the Drug War Winners & Losers. Winners: Prison Guards, Prison Owners, and the Drug Testing Industry among others. Losers include Education, Public Safety, Police Departments, and our Children. Isn't it about time we tried peace? Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Drug War Winners & Losers

79.  Iraq vets victims of the drug war. Our troops in Iraq have been fighting under horrific conditions; post-traumatic stress disorder is widespread yet when troops return their access to care for PTSD and for alcohol and other drug abuse problems is limited. Failure to provide prompt treatment for all returning troops is an outrage that demands action by Congress. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Iraq vets and PTSD psa

78.  A Letter To Mom. In time for the holidays, this PSA is a reproduction of an actual letter written by a young man fresh out of college thanking his mother for her love and guidance. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Dear Mom

77.  The Blue Ribbon Report Richard Nixon Chose to Bury. In 1972, Richard Nixon appointed former Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer to head a National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. The conclusions of that report were not what the President wanted. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

portrait of Nixon and link to PDF copy of ad

76.  Good News for Doctors and Pain Patients. A federal appeals court decision and moves by the Drug Enforcement Administration point to progress in pain management policy. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Good News for Doctors and Pain Patients - link to ad

75.  The Addict Who Invented Modern Surgery. This PSA tells of the physician, surgeon, and opiate addict, Dr. William Stewart Halsted, who is regarded as the father of modern surgery. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

image of Dr. William Stewart Halsted

74.  The Man Who Gave Us The Drug War. This PSA tells of the man behind the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act, Dr. Hamilton Wright. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

link to PSA The Man Who Gave Us The Drug War

73.  The Devil Weed and Harry Anslinger. Harry J. Anslinger, a former railroad cop and Prohibition agent, is almost single-handedly responsible for outlawing marijuana. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

link to The Devil Weed and Harry Anslinger

72.  Why Not Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol? This PSA explores several reasons why marijuana should be regulated and taxed as well as the real reason it has been illegal since the 1930s. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Why Not Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol?

71.  Is It Sound Policy To Jail Expectant Mothers For Substance Abuse And Take Away Their Babies? This PSA contains excerpts from an article by Barry Lester, PhD, of Brown University, originally published in the Harm Reduction Journal in April 2004. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

mother and infant graphic

70.  A riveting 12-minute documentary exposes what law enforcement officials really think about drug prohibition. Walter Cronkite said of this video about Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), "Anyone concerned about the failure of our $69 billion-a-year War on Drugs should watch this 12-minute program. You will meet front line, ranking police officers who give us a devastating report on why it cannot work. It is a must-see for any journalist or public official dealing with this issue." Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

LEAP badge logo

69.  Mexico Is Becoming The Next Colombia. Mexico is a major source of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine for the U.S. market as well as the principal transit and distribution point for cocaine coming in from South America. For years, people both inside and outside Mexico have worried that the country might descend into the maelstrom of corruption and violence that has long plagued the chief drug-source country in the Western Hemisphere, Colombia. There are growing signs that the "Colombianization" of Mexico is now becoming a reality. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Mexico Is Becoming The Next Colombia

68.  Suffering From Chronic Pain? Up to 30 million Americans suffer from under-treated chronic pain. Families suffer with them. For most, suffering is completely unnecessary. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Suffering From Chronic Pain?

67.  Another "Drug Baby" Media Scare? This PSA is based on an article by Dr. Barry Lester (used with his permission). The PSA responds to the inaccurate claims and over-the top reporting on the methamphetamine issue which are generating "crank baby" hysteria. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Another "Drug Baby" Media Scare?

66.  Methamphetamine Crisis: Hype or Fact? Check out this PSA and learn the truth about methamphetamines in America. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Methamphetamine Crisis: Hype Or Fact?

65.  Why do nearly a million teens sell drugs but not alcohol or cigarettes? Because alcohol and tobacco are regulated and sold through stores. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Why do nearly a million teens sell drugs?

64.  Excerpts from a Cato Institute Policy Analysis: "The government is waging an aggressive, intemperate, unjustified war on pain doctors." This PSA contains excerpts from a Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 545, June 16, 2005, "Treating Doctors as Drug Dealers," by Ronald T. Libby, Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida. The original publication from Cato is also available for download. Camera-ready copy of this PSA available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

graphic link to PSA

63.  Chronic Pain & Opioids: Debunking the Myths. Chronic pain is a progressive disease of the nervous system, caused by failure of the body's internal pain control systems. Opioids are substances naturally produced within the body to regulate pain. Chronic pain victims often benefit from supplementation with pharmaceutical opioids. As part of the War on Drugs, law enforcement is conducting a witch-hunt against pain doctors who prescribe opioids compassionately. Most physicians won’t risk being targeted by law enforcement, because they have families to support. As a result, chronic pain sufferers have become non-combatant casualties in the war on drugs. Camera-ready copy of this PSA also available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Chronic Pain Part 1

62.  Canada Trumps USA: Approves Cannabis-Based Medicine. On April 19, 2005, the Canadian government gave conditional approval to prescription sale of a medicine made from extracts of marijuana plants ingested as an oral spray. It is time our officials take off their "drug war" blinders and recognize marijuana for what it is: a natural, relatively benign substance that can help bring relief to millions. Camera-ready copy of this PSA also available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Canada Trumps USA

61.  US Meddling in Global AIDS Crisis: "A Triumph of Ideology Over Science." In spite of overwhelming evidence of the success of harm reduction strategies at reducing transmission of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne diseases, the US government is shutting off support to international programs which support needle exchanges and other proven harm reduction techniques. Camera-ready copy of this PSA also available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

flags graphic link to harm reduction PSA

60.  "Thirty Attorneys General speak out on pain management!" In January 2005, thirty state attorneys general wrote the DEA to express their concern about the DEA's abrupt withdrawal of federal pain management prescription guidelines, noting that "Many physicians fear investigations and enforcement actions if they prescribe adequate levels of opioids or have many patients with prescriptions for pain medications." This PSA also available in camera-ready Portable Document Format (PDF).

NAAG logo link to AG pain management PSA

59.  "Do our drug laws focus on the truly dangerous drugs?" This PSA first appeared in The New Republic on September 13, 1999. The PSA compares the danger of various popular drugs - based on data developed by Dr. Jack Henningfield for NIDA. Available in printer-ready Portable Document Format (PDF).

Comparison PSA

58.  To Convict One Doctor, Zealots At DEA Tore Up Pain Guidelines Developed Over Four Years. Last August, after an historic collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the University of Wisconsin's Pain & Policy Studies Group, the DEA published new and widely applauded Pain Management Guidelines intended to protect physicians from prosecution by overzealous federal agents. In October the DEA suddenly withdrew the Guidelines, effectively trashing years of effort. The DEA's abrupt turnaround appeared to have been triggered when defense lawyers tried to introduce the new Guidelines in the trial of Dr. William Hurwitz -- a Virginia pain specialist accused of overprescribing. This PSA also available in camera-ready PDF.

To Convict One Doctor, Zealots At DEA Tore Up Pain Guidelines Developed Over Four Years

57.  The Feds Say They Want Scientific Proof That Marijuana Is Medicine, But Do They? NIDA has a monopoly on the supply of marijuana that can be used for research. The Institute seems to be using that monopoly to obstruct the very research they're supposed to be facilitating. So some scientists are suing the DEA, NIDA, Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health for "unreasonable delay" resulting in the obstruction of scientific research. Science should be in the hands of scientists, not political ideologues. This PSA also available in camera-ready PDF.

The Feds Say They Want Scientific Proof That Marijuana Is Medicine, But Do They?

56.  Good News and Bad News About Pain Treatment. The good news about pain treatment: The DEA recently posted new guidelines on their website to stop the unjustified harassment and prosecution of pain doctors. The bad news about pain treatment: Two months later the DEA deleted the guidelines, citing unspecified "misstatements." This PSA also available as camera-ready PDF.

55.  Drug Policy Should Be Based On Science, Not Politics The US Drug Czar, John Walters, is still trying to scare people with the myth of hyper-potent marijuana. Yet, research -- including a new study from the European Union's drug monitoring agency, proves 'it ain't so'. This PSA also available as camera-ready PDF.

54.  Justice for all? Richard Paey, 45-year-old father of three, is wheelchair bound, a subdermal pump delivering a steady flow of morphine to kill the back pain from a 1985 car crash. A legitimate pain patient, he was arrested because he was forced to use questionable pain prescriptions to take care of his condition. He was sentenced to years in prison because he refused to be forced into drug treatment. Rush Limbaugh was arrested for buying large quantities of Oxy and other narcotics on the black market. Though he started with treating back pain, Mr. Limbaugh's use of narcotics continued long after the pain was gone. After five weeks of rehab, Rush was back on the air. Neither should be put in prison. Pain patients and addicts need medical help, not confinement. This PSA also available as camera-ready PDF (note: this file is nearly half a meg).

53. On Sept. 23, 2002, Mike and Valerie Corral's medical marijuana hospice near Santa Cruz, CA, was raided just before dawn by federal agents. The raid sparked outrage from Santa Cruz officials because the co-op was a text book example of what CA's medical marijuana laws were supposed to allow: a safe place for the sick and dying, with a common marijuana garden, where the patients could care for each other. On April 21, US Circuit Court Judge Jeremy Fogel barred the Justice Dept. from interfering with the Corrals, their 250 fellow patients, or their marijuana garden. This PSA is also available in camera-ready PDF.

52. Alicia Smith took her own life on March 16 because she couldn't stand the chronic pain any longer. All over the country patients with chronic pain say they are having trouble finding adequate and proper medication. This is a public health catastrophe that cries out for reform. This PSA is also available as a camera-ready PDF for easy reproduction.

51. Angel McClary Raich told John Ashcroft to mind his own business. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. They're telling the Attorney General to butt out. This PSA is also available as a camera-ready PDF for easy reproduction.

50.  Federal prosecutors won't permit court testimony concerning why marijuana was used even though marijuana is permitted as medicine under the laws of California and eight other states. How can judges and jurors dispense "justice and mercy" without relevant information? This PSA also available as a camera-ready PDF for easy reproduction.

49.  Urine drug testing fails at school and work. Let's keep our kids busy, monitor their performance and communicate instead. This PSA also available as a camera-ready PDF for easy reproduction.

48.  Isn't rewarding achievement the American way? In the mid 1980s Congress abolished parole and passed harsh drug sentencing laws. Many states followed, creating a tenfold increase in the number of drug offenders incarcerated. If prisoners were able to earn earlier release, it would help with rehabilitation efforts, reduce spending, and ease prison overcrowding. This PSA is also available as a camera-ready PDF for easy reproduction.

47.  Are we addicted to drug war money? Drug trafficking represnts eight percent of the world's trade, an untaxed and unregulated $400 Billion annually. This PSA is also available in camera-ready PDF format .

46.  Who says we are winning the drug war? (other than frightened politicians, ideologues, and people who make their living from prohibition? Hard drugs are more cheaper and purer than ever, age of first use dropping, overdose deaths and emergency room mentions increasing -- Prohibition: It Still Doesn't Work. This public service advertisement is also available in printer-ready Portable Document Format.

Prohibition:

It Still Doesn't Work

45.  The Shafer Commission issued its report on marijuana policy on March 22, 1972 - 30 years ago. The questions still remain: Is criminalizing marijuana use sensible public policy? Is it time for marijuana to be treated like alcohol? This public service advertisement is also available in printer-ready Portable Document Format.

Shafer Commission
30th
Anniversary

44.  The public is saying "No More Drug War!" Why won't Congress listen? This public service advertisement is also available in printer-ready Portable Document Format.

Common Sense for Drug Policy
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Lancaster, PA 17603
717-299-0600 (phone)
717-393-4953 (fax)
info@csdp.org
Public service advertisements from 1999 and PSAs from 2000-2001 are also available.


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