Drug Policy

10 Drug PSAs That Tried to Scare the Sh*t Out of Us (But Didn't)

Over-the-top, larger-than-life, waste of drug warrior dollars.


Television during the '80s and '90s bombarded us all with larger-than-life public service announcements (PSAs) warning us about the dangers of drug use. But the ads were so over-the-top they were hard to take seriously as factual sources of information. In fact, the Partnership for a Drug Free America may have wasted their drug warrior dollars, because the ads completely failed to stop drug use in America.

Nevertheless, they are good for a laugh. So, take out your bong and join us as we take a look back at 10 Drug PSAs That Tried to Scare the Shit Out of Us (But Didn't):

NEXT: Decades After Straight Outta Compton, Gov't Still Has Rap In Its Crosshairs

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You have to remember that the people who came up with these ads were really baked at the time.

    1. Probably as baked as the interns who keep digging deep into the Reason vault to repost these old chestnuts.

  2. Yeah, but Susan Dey jumping through that window scared the pjeezus out of me as a kid.

    1. Wish she’d jump in my window about now.

    2. …on second thought…better image search…see how kinds the years have been to Susan..

    3. Hmm… I guess she could still jump through my window. Just as long as she brings a case of beer.

    4. Why can’t they just stay the same. sigh.

    5. I think that was Helen Hunt…unless Susan Dey *also* jumped out of a window…?


  3. I think their next re-post should be the libertarian moment one.

  4. That was before. Now, the super duper intergalactic nuclear powered really scary drugs are here. Right now, it’s Flakka, and it’s sweeping the country like an unstoppable epidemic. It’s like a real life zombie apocalypse.

    Kids start on marijuana, and the next thing you know, they’re shooting up this Flakka. It’s apparently turning kids into alligators and then they’re eating people’s faces. Then when the cops come because it makes the kids so super strong, they just jump out of the bushes and the cops say ‘look, is that an alligator? … NO …. OMG! … it’s a Flakkagator!,’ and before the cops can even do anything, the Flakkagator grabs the cop car and trhows it 1000 ft into the air and it comes down and lands on top of some nuns holding babies! Be afraid, be very afraid!!!

    This is what marijuana causes, and we want to legalize it.

    1. No discussion like this is complete without linking the greatest Dragnet episode of all time, the ‘story of LSD’ best known as the Blueboy episode.

      The absolute best line, from Blueboy’s parents, who complain to Sgt. Friday to lay off their kid — because LSD isn’t something horrible, “like heroin…..or marijuana!”

      1. The last episode ended right before I was born, but I do remember the re-runs when I was a kid. And I’ve been to some of the places shown in that episode. I lived close to LA during most of the 60s, some of my earliest memories as a kid. I haven’t been back since and I can’t even imagine how much it’s changed.

        1. Or maybe what I’m calling re-runs was the revival.

        2. The last episode ended right before I was born, but I do remember the re-runs when I was a kid.<?i

          The only Dragnet I saw the the ’80s movie version, with Dan Ackroyd in the lead role, and Tom Hanks as his partner. The movie did to the original series what the Starchy & Hutch movie did to that original series.

          And I’ve been to some of the places shown in that episode. I lived close to LA during most of the 60s, some of my earliest memories as a kid.

          I lived there as a teenager in the ’80s and I enjoyed it. I haven’t been back since the early ’90s. I’d love to visit again, but I’m perfectly happy never living there again.

          1. Wow, I sure fucked up the italics on that one . . .

            1. We need a new term. Let me see. I Hungused the Italics?

              1. I’d be flattered. Sort of.

          2. “The movie did to the original series what the Starchy & Hutch movie did to that original series.”

            Took it out behind the shed and buggered it right up the ass?

            1. Oops, I mean, who’s this guy who’s posting obscene things under my name?

            2. Left it behind the shed, curled up in the fetal position, bleeding and crying.

      2. My gawd, that is silly.

      3. I remember that episode. And those days.

      4. Eh. Say what you want, but Jack Webb did hang out with a lot of jazz musicians and saw the effects of heroin and other stuff first hand.

        It might be ham handed, but he wasn’t pulling it out of his ass.

    2. Don’t joke about that shit – I know a guy only smoked marijuana once (and didn’t even inhale), fucked him up so bad he married Hillary Clinton. True story.

    3. Kids who can’t get their hands on grass huff jenkem.


        1. I always wanted to try that one.

  5. Holy crap is that the actress from She’s All That? I totally never made that connection before!

    1. Dude, how could you not know that was Rachael Leigh Cook. I mean, she’s the only reason I actually registered the commercial in my consciousness when it first aired, because I otherwise tuned out all propaganda. But they learned enough to put a hot chick in their “ad”…though it didn’t cause me to listen to their message any more than any of the others.

    2. Well, there isn’t anything drugs or the cops can do to him that bad. But it appears he’s somehow survived it.

  6. It thought it was climate change (street name Sea-change) was the drug that is going to destroy us all.

  7. Cook in the Kitchen, lol. Looking back on some of these, it’s hard to believe they are real.

    OT: It’s hard to believe this is real, too. Sheffield attorney charged after accusations he hypnotized women for sexual pleasure

    1. Dangerous these days being a ladies’ man. Never know what you’ll be accused of next.

    2. Two women Fine represented reported in November that they believed Fine hyptonized them during phone calls…


      That’s some funny shit there.

    3. I read the comments on that site and wept. It’s actually possible that there is a jury stupid enough to believe it.

  8. My wife is watching is some documentary about “thinkers” and up comes a segment with Peter Singer. Peter fucking Singer.

    Jesus Christ what a fucktard.

    He’s in New York, one of the wealthiest places ever on Earth and it got that way through trade and he’s going on about poverty and how we need to forgo luxuries (like fancy shoes) which are unethical in order to help the world’s poor because that’s ethical.

    But many of the things we take for granted are unimaginable luxuries for many others. So, Petey, how far are we supposed to lower ourselves in order to send the money to mass of poor people? And if we desist in trying to earn luxuries for ourselves will that mean that the process that turns luxuries into commodities will be stalled? And what does that mean for the global standard of living?

    Of course he can’t or won’t acknowledge that it is trade that allows people to get rich and that poverty persists in areas where trade is restricted. The more restricted the the trade worse off the people. Or as RAH called it “bad luck”.

    So we can’t lift people up, nope, we have to lower ourselves. Idiot.

    1. My fucking up the italics tag just killed 3.4 infants in Utter Pradesh!

      1. If you see a post with fucked up italics, are you obligated to continue reading?

    2. He just cares more than you do. That’s makes him better than you.

      1. Yeah, sure he does.

    3. Some of us hire the world’s poor to make our fancy shoes.

    4. Fuck you, Singer.

      You’ll have to take my Louie Vuitton bags and Jimmy Choo shoes from by cold, dead appendages.

      1. And I’m sure he’d love a pair of shoes in a size that doesn’t fit:

    5. And yet the spirit of Pete Seeger (not Singer) spirit lives on! He has taken the form of a current self-declared socialist presidential candidate who’s telling us there are too many kinds of deodorant on the store shelves.

  9. I started watching Narcos on Netflix last night. Pretty good stuff so far. The only familiar actor so far is Luis Guzman.

    1. Reprising his role of “Pops”?

      1. Reprising his role of “Pops”?

        What movie was that from? In this series, he plays an associate of Pablo Escobar, which is who the series is about. Guzman has always been one of my favorite character actors.

        1. “Mr Guzman, Luis, and can I just say, I loved you in…in…IMDb.”

          1. Just for s&g, I checked out his IMDb page. Dude has 133 acting credits. He also said this:

            “Leading men crash and burn. Character actors are around forever.”

            His career is definitely proof of that. Most of the best actors, IMO, character actors. I’ve enjoyed his work since Boogie Nights or so.

            1. -1 Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Harrison Ford…..

              1. That man is an American hero.

              2. What’s amazing is that that list might still be incomplete. Wasn’t he Zero in MvC 3?

                1. No, I’m wrong; it was Johnny Yong Bosch (another astonishingly prolific VA).

        2. I fucked up. I saw “Narcos” and thought immediately of Pedro Pascal.

          In Mayonnaise and Peter Frampton Land “Luis” and “Pedro” are interchangeable terms for yard laborer. My bad.

    2. “Hello, it’s me, Luis Guzman!”

      I believe it also has Oberyn as… someone. Either Escobar’s second-in-command, or in the military, or something.

      The More You Know

  10. Everyone who was a kid in the 80’s should get to give Nancy Reagan a free punch to her bony face on their way through the Gates of Hell

    … unless she got to Satan, too. If the sign’s been changed to “Abandon All Dope Ye Who Enter Here” I’m going to be pissed.

    1. Abandon All Dope Ye Who Enter Here” I’m going to be pissed.

      When I was in boot camp (or was it infantry school?), they had an “amnesty box” in the barracks where anyone who had contraband could deposit it without fear of getting in trouble. I imagine there’s a similar system in place at the Gates of Hell. Because while drugs will definitely get you to hell, you won’t be allowed to bring them in. It’s not all about fun and games down there.

      1. Well, shit. I’m to far gone to try decency, now!

        I always thought Boot School and Infantry Camp made better sense. Compared to learning to shine boots 40% of the day, infantry school is more like camp.

    2. I read a supposed biography of Peter Lawford years ago written by one of his long term coke whores.

      She tells stories about he and Reagan driving from LA to Vegas with Nancy Reagan when they were young aspiring actors.

      She says Nancy would sit in the back seat and take turns giving Reagan and Lawford blowjobs on the way from LA to Vegas. True story.( that I read this book not that it is true)

      That was before he slid down the cocaine trail so far that his girlfriends were taught to administer this mechanical device called the acujack. It was a mechanical device that supposedly simulated jacking off for a man. The woman who wrote the book and was supposedly involved in all this said in his later years he would use it for hours at a time unsuccessfully trying to have an orgasm snorting coke the whole time.

      Supposedly Dean Martin and Sinatra did enough coke that once they were double teaming a chick and Martin tried to butt fuck Sinatra while he was on top of the chick, telling him that the double sensation would give him the orgasm of a lifetime. According to the book Sinatra declined.

      I didn’t write the book, I just read it so don’t be hating on me.

      1. She says Nancy would sit in the back seat and take turns giving Reagan and Lawford blowjobs on the way from LA to Vegas. True story.( that I read this book not that it is true)

        Well it’s about a 4-hour drive from L.A. to Vegas, and I guess getting blown by an aspiring actress is one way to pass the time.

        It was a mechanical device that supposedly simulated jacking off for a man.

        I’m picturing a large, gasoline-powered device, all bolts and gears and drive belts. Like the ’50s version of a Fleshlight.

        According to the book Sinatra declined.

        Yeah, I have a hard time picturing Sinatra partaking in that. Of course, that’s what everyone said about Rock Hudson.

        People like to think that things were purer back in the days, but I’m pretty sure Hollywood was just as depraved then as it is today. I have little trouble believing any of the above.

      2. I had to google “young Nancy Reagan.” Would.

        1. I had to google “young Nancy Reagan.” Would.

          Yeah, me too.

        2. She shows up on TCM early tomorrow morning (6:00 AM ET) in It’s a Big Country, not looking all that glamorous. Gene Kelly is hilariously miscast as a Greek named Icarus Xenophon.

      3. Reagan was married to Jane wyman long before he was involved with Nancy, am I not correct?

        1. Good catch. According to wikipedia, he didn’t even meet Nancy until 1949, after he had reached the height of his success in film.

          The story just doesn’t make sense. He didn’t know Nancy when he was a young aspiring actor.

          1. Yep, the whole thing sounds shady. Like a story told by a coke-head who’s a perennial liar.

            1. Didn’t know Shrillary was a coke head….

      4. OneOut|8.29.15 @ 9:10PM|#
        “I read a supposed biography of Peter Lawford years ago written by one of his long term coke whore”

        Cool story, bro.
        Got maybe the author’s name? The book title?

        1. Just how many Peter Lawford biographies do you think are out there? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that it you find one that’s the one.

      5. I confused Peter Lawford with Peter Lorre and it improved the story exponentially.

  11. If they are going to keep digging into the archives, then maybe Salty Ham Tears deserves another look…

  12. Anita Bryant narrates Drugs Are Like That Playing with those Legos is a lot more fun with some uppers, Like Meth!

    1. The rifftrax (w/ some of the guys from mst3k) of that is very funny and it’s on Hulu.http://www.hulu.com/watch/345462

  13. Finally, take Willie Mays advice and don’t have fun with blasting caps

  14. Those PSAs and the people who made them created thousands of jobs and added millions to departmental budgets. I’d hardly call that a waste.

  15. Over-the-top, larger-than-life, waste of drug warrior dollars.

    But it wasn’t a waste see. You got an article out of it didn’t you Detrick? That shows how government spending primes the private sector pump.


    1. Now, quit bitching and pay your taxes.

    2. Spending money on worthless stuff somewhat deprives them of funds to spend on malicious stuff.

      1. Escalator to Nowhere!

  16. Man, you guys roll up the sidewalks!
    49er positives which can be taken from the Bronco game:
    1. The kit seemed to be well packed.
    2. The jerseys stayed pretty clean.
    3. Anybody wanna QB in trade? How about a kicker in exchange? A good ball-boy?

  17. I bought a “Make America great again” Trump hat on Amazon. I work in construction. I’m going to wear it Monday and see what happens.

  18. http://www.beeradvocate.com/be…..960/72964/

    Anybody try this one? I got a bomber sitting in the fridge. I would ask the nerds on beer advocate but they banned me for talking shit on beer snobs mothers.

  19. Reading Stephenson’s Seveneves, which has been viscerally upsetting for a number of reasons, some emotionally, some philosophically, some more or less because I want to strangle one of the characters with my bare hands while I bash her brains out on a bulwark or console of some sort. Which would be impossible, given the circumstances, but goddamnit, I would try.

  20. Protesters have no free-speech rights on Supreme Court’s front porch

    The appeals court judges upheld … the premise that protests at the court’s doorstep might lead to the perception that the justices are swayed by vox populi rather than the dictates of the law.

    Well, *that* perception left the barn quite some time ago.

    1. Yeah, that is laughable.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.