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Ineffective Drug Czar Endorses Failing Prevention Program

DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE www.drugpolicy.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384, Bill Piper 202-669-6430 Ineffective Drug Czar Endorses Failing Prevention Program Gives Award to Montana Anti-Meth Ad Campaign, Even Though Evidence Shows Campaign is a Failure Advocates Say Drug Treatment and Honest Drug Education More Effective Than Scare Tactics U.S. Drug Czar John Walters presented the popular, but ineffective, Montana Meth Project with a certificate of recognition from the White House yesterday, citing the private anti-meth advertising campaign as one of the nation's “most powerful and creative anti-drug programs.” Mr. Walters declared that the campaign’s message “is resonating with teens,” even though the campaign’s own internal evaluations concluded the program is having no impact on teen meth use. “I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that an ineffective drug czar is giving an award to an ineffective program,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading drug policy reform organization. “Once again, the Drug Czar is pushing feel-good projects that don’t work instead of honest information that is more effective at keeping young people safe.” The Montana Meth Project uses graphic pictures and scare tactics to frighten teens away from using meth. In one ad, a young woman is shown literally plucking out all her eyebrows while on meth. In another, a young woman says that even trying meth just once will lead to addiction and prostitution. Yet these kinds of ads have been proven to fail. From decades of research, we know which kinds of prevention messages will backfire by doing more harm than good: scare tactics, over-use of authority figures, talking down to young people, and conveying messages or ideas that are misleading, extremist, or do not conform with young people’s own perceptions and experiences. “Once teens think they are being lied to, they stop listening to all prevention messages,” Piper said. Numerous prevention experts have criticized the ads in the press, and cited the ad campaign as an example of how not to prevent drug abuse. Not surprisingly, the Montana Meth Project’s own internal evaluations, released in April, found that, after spending millions of dollars on ads, Montana teens are actually less likely to associate using meth with “great” or “moderate” risk. In fact, the number of Montana teens who reported that there was “no risk” to regular meth use actually increased by five percent. The biggest irony may be that the White House’s own anti-drug ads have been proven a failure. Despite spending over a billion dollars trying to scare teens, six government studies have found that the government’s ads are not reducing teen drug use. Several studies have suggested that the ads might actually be making teens more likely to use drugs. Drug policy experts say the single most effective step policymakers can take to prevent drug abuse is to increase funding for treatment programs. Currently, close to half of those who seek treatment cannot obtain it because of long waiting lists and lack of funding. California is leading the way in getting treatment to people addicted to methamphetamine. California’s voter-mandated treatment-instead-of-incarceration initiative, Proposition 36, is successfully treating ten times more methamphetamine users each year than the state's "drug court" system reaches, according to drug court data. The government can help reduce adult methamphetamine abuse by ensuring adults have alternatives to drug use, most notably by increasing employment and educational opportunities and strengthening families. The most effective way to help people who are already abusing meth is to make substance abuse treatment widely available to all who need it. “The Montana Meth Project should drastically change the content and flavor of its ad campaign,” said Piper. “Of course, we’re never going to be able to significantly reduce meth abuse until we make treatment available to all who need it, whenever they need it, and as often as they need it.”
Location: 
United States

Pot issue's fate at polls hazy--As officials debate the merits and dangers of marijuana, a poll shows a third voters undecided last month as undecided on Amendment 44

Location: 
CO
United States
Publication/Source: 
Denver Post
URL: 
http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_4533828

Law Enforcement Condemns Marijuana Measure (South Dakota)

Location: 
Sioux Falls, SD
United States
Publication/Source: 
KELO TV Sioux Falls
URL: 
http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail6371.cfm?Id=0,51855

DRCNet Video Review: "Waiting to Inhale: Marijuana, Medicine, and the Law," Produced and Directed by Jed Riffe

From a handful of federally-approved patients in the late 1970s and 1980s, the American medical marijuana movement has grown by leaps and bounds, with tens of thousands of people in a dozen states now officially registered as medical marijuana users. God alone knows how many people in the remaining 38 states where it is still illegal are smoking pot for the relief of pain, to induce appetite, to reduce the nausea associated with chemotherapy, to help with glaucoma, to reduce the tremors and spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, or an ever-increasing list of medical conditions helped by a puff on a joint or a bite of a marijuana-laced brownie.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/inhaleposter.jpg
As academic and scientific research into the medicinal uses of marijuana gains momentum, the list of its applications seems to grow ever wider. Within the last couple of weeks, researchers reported that marijuana may help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's.

But resistance to medical marijuana remains strong. The federal government -- especially its anti-drug bureaucracies, the DEA and the Office of National Drug Control Policy -- is unalterably opposed to its use, while parent anti-drug groups fear that allowing the medicinal use of marijuana will "send the wrong message" to their children. For other foes, medical marijuana is simply one more front in the culture war against hippies and liberals that has been raging for nearly four decades now.

In just over one hour, "Waiting to Inhale," the recently released video by documentary filmmaker Jed Riffe tells the story of the battle over the healing herb. While decidedly sympathetic to medical marijuana, the video also takes pains to present the other side of the story.

We hear ONDCP spokesman David Murray painting a portrait of a dark conspiracy to legalize drugs. "Who is pushing this and why is it being pushed?" he asks. "The agenda is well-funded and being driven to remove the barriers between themselves and the drug they like or are addicted to." Later in the video, Murray calls medical marijuana "a fraud."

Similarly, and more realistically, DEA San Francisco office spokesman Richard Meyer warns that "some traffickers are using [the California medical marijuana law] Prop. 215 as a smoke screen."

Riffe also makes a place for the anti-drug parents' movement, featuring interviews with legendary drug war zealot Sue Rusche, who explains that a trip years ago to a record store with her children where the kids were exposed to a display case of bongs, pipes, and other pot paraphernalia set her on a course of activism. Riffe shows a parents' anti-drug movement that, while still appearing hideously regressive to drug reformers, shows signs of moderation and sophistication. In one scene, Rusche brings out the old canard about "gateway drugs," but says they include "tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana." In another scene, members of a parents' group talk about providing honest information -- not just trying to scare the kids.

While the parents' anti-drug movement -- a key bastion of support for the renewed drug war of the Reagan era and ever since -- may be adapting to adversity, it is also being changed from within. Riffe interviews New Mexico youth counselor Miguel Santesteban, who is working with the anti-drug group Parents United, and Santesteban has some surprising things to say. "Perhaps when it comes to marijuana," he said, "the better message for them to hear is that there is a responsible context for use." Santesteban didn't seem too impressed with federal anti-drug efforts, saying, "If I was the drug czar, I'd give half my budget to the public schools" and "This sending a wrong message thing is a crock."

But despite the time given to the anti-side, it is clear that Riffe's interest and heart is with medical marijuana patients and their fight for safe access to their medicine. The video begins with Mike and Valerie Corral, the founders of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) co-op outside Santa Cruz, recounting how the DEA raided them at gunpoint in 2002, then cuts to Irv Rosenfeld, "Patient #1," in the federal government's compassionate access program, which allowed a tiny number of patients to smoke federally-produced weed until President Bush the Elder ended it in 1992. Rosenfeld and seven others were grandfathered in, and Rosenfeld, a Florida stockbroker, smokes 10 joints of fed weed a day in a largely successful effort to fend off the pain of a chronic bone disease.

Riffe also brings into the mix the doctors and researchers who have renewed the science of medical marijuana after the half-century-long lacunae created by marijuana prohibition. Riffe interviews Raphael Mechoulam, the Israeli researcher who isolated THC, who explains that marijuana has a medicinal history thousands of years long, and he interviews Dr. Lester Grinspoon, one of the earliest American academic advocates of medical marijuana.

After marijuana prohibition, Grinspoon explains, "physicians became ignorant about cannabis" because of Federal Bureau of Narcotics head Harry Anslinger's Reefer Madness propaganda campaign against it. With unknowing doctors regurgitating drug warrior claims about the evil weed, "physicians became not only the victims, but also effective agents of that propaganda campaign."

While Irv Rosenfeld and Robert Randall ("Patient #0") in the federal compassionate access program were puffing their fed weed in the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic was beginning to rear its ugly head, especially in San Francisco, and Riffe very deftly shows how what had been a movement for gay rights morphed into a movement for the rights of AIDS patients and then became one more stream in the rapidly emerging medical marijuana movement.

Riffe talks to a lot more people -- patients, doctors, researchers, politicians -- than I have space to mention, and "Waiting to Inhale" excels at drawing together the disparate strands that make up the medical marijuana story. As much as it is a paean to the wonders of medical marijuana, "Waiting to Inhale" manages to tell the complex, complicated story of a mass movement, a scientific journey, and an ongoing political battle, and it does so in an engaging, moving fashion. For anyone who is curious about the contours of the medical marijuana issue, "Waiting to Inhale" is a valuable -- and eminently watchable -- resource.

"Waiting to Inhale" is DRCNet's latest membership premium -- click here to order it!

Click here for the film's official web site, including an online trailer and list of upcoming screenings.

Fight to Legalize Marijuana Escalates War of Words

Location: 
Las Vegas, NV
United States
Publication/Source: 
KLAS-TV Las Vegas
URL: 
http://www.klas-tv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5533026

More Silliness from the Drug Czar

When the paranoid family values fanatics at Focus on the Family write news stories based on quotes from John Walters, you know what you’re gonna get:

Colorado ’s initiative would allow adults to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana. That might not seem like much, but, in reality it makes between 30 and 60 joints.

Whatever. An ounce is the same amount regardless of how many joints you intend to roll, and it’s not that much. If you’re rolling 60 joints out of an ounce, try smoking two or three of them. But watch out; large joints are two to three times more dangerous than small ones.

US Drug Czar John Walters says legalization will inundate our drug treatment centers.

No, it won’t. Most marijuana users who enter treatment programs are forced to do so by the criminal justice system. Ending misdemeanor marijuana arrests will dramatically reduce the number of people entering treatment for marijuana. And to the extent that fear of arrest is a primary motivation for some who decide to quit, legalization could reduce voluntary admissions as well.

On the other hand, as my colleague Tom Angell pointed out in conversation, legalized marijuana will carry less stigma and could lead to more voluntary admissions from people who are finally comfortable admitting they’re having problems. If Tom is correct, we’ll end up with more people in treatment for marijuana who want and need it, and less people forced into treatment based on arbitrary criteria such as an arrest. Sounds good to me.

It’s an interesting discussion, but one that John Walters can’t participate in because he’s busy misinterpreting various data:

“We have more teens in treatment nationwide for marijuana dependency and abuse as teens than for all other illegal drugs combined. We have more teens seeking treatment for marijuana dependency than for alcoholism.”

This one’s actually true, but it’s his fault. Thanks to prohibition, marijuana sellers don’t have to check ID, making it the easiest drug to get if you’re underage.

I just keep telling myself that this crap can’t go on forever. Whether we win in Nevada or Colorado next month, or somewhere else down the road, the war on marijuana is an ugly swelling pimple that’s almost ready to pop. Get it over with already. You know you want to.

Location: 
United States

Feature: Pain Patients, Pain Contracts, and the War on Drugs

Pain contracts. Pain management contracts. Medication contracts. Opioid contracts. Pain agreements. They go by different names, but they all mean the same thing: A signed agreement between doctor and patient that lays out the conditions under which the patient will be prescribed opioid pain medications for the relief of chronic pain. (To see a standard pain contract, click here.)

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/oxycontinpills.jpg
Oxycontin pills
For some of the tens of millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain, opioid pain medications, such as Oxycontin or methadone, provide the only relief from a life of agony and disability. But with the Office of National Drug Control Policy's ongoing campaign against prescription drug abuse and the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) ongoing crackdown on physicians it believes are prescribing opiates outside the bounds of accepted medical practice, the medical establishment is increasingly wary of pain patients and adequate treatment of pain is a very real issue for countless Americans.

In recent years, doctors and hospitals have turned increasingly to pain contracts as a means of negotiating the clashing imperatives of pain treatment and law enforcement. Such contracts typically include provisions requiring patients to promise to take the drugs only as directed, not seek early refills or replacements for lost or stolen drugs, not to use illegal drugs, and to agree to drug testing. And as the contract linked to above puts it, "I understand that this provider may stop prescribing the medications listed if... my behavior is inconsistent with the responsibilities outlined above, which may also result in being prevented from receiving further care from this clinic."

"Pain agreements are part of what we call informed consent," said Northern Virginia pain management and addiction treatment specialist Dr. Howard Heit. "They establish before I write the first prescription what I will do for you and what your responsibilities are as a patient. They are an agreement in order to start a successful relationship that defines the mutual responsibilities of both parties. More and more states are suggesting we use agreements as part of the treatment plan with scheduled medications. Such agreements are not punitive; they protect both sides in functional way."

If Heit sees a cooperative arrangement, others disagree. "This is really an indication of how the current DEA enforcement regime has created an adversarial relationship between patients and physicians where the doctors feel the need to resort to contracts instead of working cooperatively with patients," said Kathryn Serkes, spokesperson for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), which has been a fierce critic of criminalizing doctors over their prescribing practices. "The pain contracts are a tool to protect physicians from prosecution. He can say 'I treated in good faith, here's the contract the patient signed, and he violated it.' It's too bad we live in such a dangerous environment for physicians that they feel compelled to resort to that," she told the Chronicle.

"Patients aren't asked to sign contracts to get treatment for other medical conditions," Serkes noted. "We don't do cancer contracts. It is a really unfortunate situation, but it is understandable. While I am sympathetic to the patients, I can see both sides on this," she said.

"There is no evidence these pain contracts do any good for any patients," said Dr. Frank Fisher, a California physician once charged with murder for prescribing opioid pain medications. He was completely exonerated after years of legal skirmishing over the progressively less and less serious charges to which prosecutors had been forced to downgrade their case. "The reason doctors are using them is to protect themselves from regulatory authorities, and now it's become a convention to do it. They will say it is a sort of informed consent document, but that's essentially a lie. They are an artifact of an overzealous regulatory system," he told the Chronicle.

"When this first started, it was doctors using them with problem patients, but now more and more doctors and hospitals are doing it routinely," Fisher added. "But the idea that patients should have to sign a contract like that or submit to forced drug testing is an abrogation of medical ethics. Nothing in the relationship allows for coercion, and that is really what this is."

The pain contracts may not even protect doctors, Fisher noted. "When they prosecute doctors, they can use the pain contract to show that he didn't comply with this or that provision, like throwing out patients who were out of compliance. The whole thing is a mess."

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/michaelkrawitz.jpg
Michael Krawitz (photo courtesy Drug Policy Forum of Virginia)
It is a real, painful mess for a pair of veterans trying to deal with chronic pain through the Veterans Administration -- and it is the drug testing provisions and the use of marijuana that are causing problems. Michael Krawitz is an Air Force veteran who was injured in an accident in Guam two decades ago that cost him his spleen, pancreas, and part of his intestine. Krawitz also suffered a fracture over his left eye, received an artificial right hip, and has suffered through 13 surgeries since then. He had been receiving opioid pain medication at a VA Hospital in Virginia, but things started to go bad a year ago.

"Last year, I refused to sign the pain contract they had just introduced there, and they cut me off my meds because I refused," Krawitz told the Chronicle. "Then I amended the contract to scratch off the part about submitting to a drug test, and that worked fine for a year, but the last time I went in, they said I had to do a drug test, and I again refused. I provided a battery of tests from an outside doctor, but not an illegal drug screen. That's when my VA doctor sent an angry letter saying I was not going to get my pain medicine."

Krawitz has provided documentation of his correspondence with the VA, as well as his so far unheeded complaint to the state medical board. As for the VA, some half-dozen VA employees ranging from Krawitz' patient advocate to his doctor to the public affairs people to pain management consultants failed to respond to Chronicle requests for interviews.

For Krawitz, who has used marijuana medicinally to treat an eye condition -- he even has a prescription from Holland -- but who says he is not currently using it, it's a fight about principles. "I will not submit my urine for a non-medical test," he said. "The VA doesn't have the authority to demand my urine. It's an arbitrary policy, applied arbitrarily. The bottom line is that we vets feel very mistreated by all this. Some of us have sacrificed limbs for freedom and democracy, and now the VA wants to make us pee in a bottle to get our pain medication?"

The imposition of pain contracts is not system-wide in the VA. A 2003 Veterans Health Administration directive on the treatment of pain notes that "adherence with opioid agreement, if used" should be part of the patient's overall evaluation.

Krawitz is preparing to file a federal lawsuit seeking to force the VA to treat him for pain without forcing him to undergo drug testing. For Tennessee vet Russell Belcher, the struggle is taking a slightly different course. Belcher, whose 1977 back injury and spinal fusion had him in pain so severe he couldn't work after 2000, was cut off from pain meds by the VA after he tested positive for marijuana. Belcher said he used marijuana to treat sleeplessness and pain after the VA refused to up his methadone dose.

"It's a wonder to me that some vet ain't gone postal on them," he told the Chronicle. "They pushed me pretty close. To me, not signing the substance abuse agreement is not an option. If you sign it you're screwed, if you don't sign it, you're screwed. I complained for months about the dose being too low, but they said that's all you get and if you test positive for anything we're kicking you out. When the civilian doctors would find marijuana on a drug screen, they told me they would prefer I didn't do that because it was still illegal, but they didn't kick me out of the program. I was using it for medicinal purposes. I have tremendous trouble sleeping, muscle cramps that feel like they'll pull the joint out of the socket. I had quit using for a long time because of this mess with the drug testing, but then they wouldn't increase my pain medicine. I thought I have to do something; it's a matter of self preservation," he said.

"The pain clinic at the VA has discharged me from their care and said the doctor would no longer prescribe narcotics for me unless I attend the substance abuse program," Belcher continued. "They aren't going to be satisfied until I spend 30 days in the detox unit." While Belcher would like to join Krawitz in taking on the VA, in the meantime he is looking for a private physician.

When asked about the veterans' plight, Dr. Fisher was sympathetic. "They made Krawitz sign a contract under duress with forced drug testing as a condition of his continued treatment," he pointed out. "That violates basic rights like the right of privacy. There is no suspicion he is a drug addict. They want to treat all patients as if they were criminal suspects, and that has little to do with what the nature of the doctor-patient relationship should be."

Dr. Heit, while less sympathetic than Dr. Fisher, was decidedly more so than the VA. When asked about the cases of the vets, he explained that he would be flexible, but would also insist they comply with the terms of their agreements. "In the end, you have to choose whether you want me to do pain management with legal controlled substances or you want to use illicit substances, but you don't get to choose both," he said. "I don't disagree that marijuana may help, but the rules are it's an illicit substance. I can't continue to prescribe to someone who is taking an illicit substance."

And here we are. Patients seeking relief from pain meet the imperatives of the drug war -- and we all lose.

From SAFER Colorado: Marijuana Initiative Campaign to Unveil Billboard Highlighting Drug Czar's Ad Calling Marijuana Use the "Safest Thing in the World"

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 10, 2006 On the same day the nation's Drug Czar is in town... Marijuana Initiative Campaign to Unveil Billboard Highlighting Drug Czar's Ad Calling Marijuana Use the "Safest Thing in the World" Amendment 44 proponents welcome the Drug Czar to town with hope that he will continue valuable education campaign Amendment 44 proponents to hold events in Colorado Springs (9:30 a.m.) and Denver (12:30 p.m.) to coincide with Drug Czar's visit Contact: Mason Tvert, SAFER campaign director, 720-255-4340 DENVER - On Wednesday, October 11, the proponents of Amendment 44, the initiative to make marijuana possession legal for adults in Colorado, will hold press conferences in Colorado Springs and Denver to unveil its first billboard of the campaign. These events will coincide with appearances by the nation's Drug Czar, John Walters (officially the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)). This billboard will feature a quote from a new ad that is part of the Drug Czar's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The quoted ad - which is designed to discourage teen marijuana use - is called "Pete's Couch" and refers to using marijuana and hanging out as the "safest thing in the world." One can watch the ad on this site - http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/the-ads/default.aspx - and the transcript of the ad is pasted at the bottom of this release. The press conference in Colorado Springs - which will feature a large banner replica of the Denver billboard - will take place outside of 2 N. Cascade Ave at 9:30 a.m. The press conference in Denver will be held beneath the new billboard in the lot of Family Trucks and Vans (2468 S. Broadway, on the NE corner of Broadway and Harvard). "Our campaign is not calling marijuana the 'safest thing in the world.,'" said SAFER Campaign Director Mason Tvert. "These are the drug czar's words. But it is important to highlight this phrase to counter the claims of our opponents - including the drug czar himself, ironically - that marijuana is a 'very dangerous' and 'addictive' substance. Clearly, the drug czar has recognized at some level that exaggerated claims about the harms of marijuana are an ineffective means of reducing teen use. The dramatic phrase in the Pete's Couch ad is far closer to the truth." "Now that the drug czar is being more honest with teens, we invite him to share this newfound honesty with adults in Colorado," continued Tvert. "Our only point in this campaign is that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and, thus, it does not make sense to punish adults for using the safer substance. It seems like he agrees about the relative harms of the two substances. Now he just needs to get over his desire to punish adults for using a substance less harmful than alcohol. If he can do so, we welcome him to join us on the campaign trail." The Drug Czar will be holding an event of his own at South High School in Denver (1700 East Louisiana Avenue) at 11 a.m. This is just 2.5 miles from where the billboard will be unveiled at 12:30 p.m. "When the Drug Czar is done with his event," added Tvert. "We hope that he will come to the site of the billboard to discuss his motivation behind the new tone of the media campaign and his seemingly inconsistent desire to spend taxpayer dollars to travel to Colorado to spread age-old myths about marijuana's supposed harms." MEDIA EVENTS - Details Colorado Springs *** Photo opportunity - large banner replica of Denver billboard *** What: Amendment 44 press conference When: Wednesday, October 11, 2006, at 9:30 a.m. Where: In front of 2 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs Who: Mason Tvert, lead proponent for Amendment 44 Denver What: Amendment 44 press conference to unveil new billboard When: Wednesday, October 11, 2006, at 12:30 p.m. Where: 2468 S. Broadway, on the NE corner of Broadway and Harvard (in the lot of Family Trucks and Vans) Who: Mason Tvert, lead proponent for Amendment 44 ================== Transcript of Pete's Couch ad (Provided by ONDCP at http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/the-ads/default.aspx): (Scene opens with a guy sitting on the couch talking directly to the camera) I smoked weed and nobody died. I didn't get into a car accident, I didn't O.D. on heroin the next day, nothing happened. (Shot widens to show the guy with two friends sitting on the couch) We sat on Pete's couch for 11 hours. Now what's going to happen on Pete's couch? Nothing. (Shot now shows the guys on the couch in the middle of the woods with some mountain bikers riding by. Then to a basketball court. Then an ice rink.) You have a better shot of dying out there in the real world, driving hard to the rim, ice skating with a girl. No, you wanna keep yourself alive, go over to Pete's and sit on his couch til you're 86. Safest thing in the world. (Shot now shows the guys on the couch outside a movie theater. The guy talking gets up from the couch and walks into the theater) Me? I'll take my chances out there. Call me reckless. (AbovetheInfluence.com logo appears)
Location: 
CO
United States

US Worries Opium From Afghanistan Will Enter US Market

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Voice of America
URL: 
http://voanews.com/english/2006-10-08-voa26.cfm

ONDCP Ads on Youtube.com

From the creators of a blog that no one reads, and podcasts that no one listens to, comes…

Youtube videos that no one watches!

That’s right folks, ONDCP has created a Youtube profile and it’s about as cool as you might expect. The page includes several of ONDCP’s ads (you know, the ones that were proven to cause drug use), but for ONDCP super-fans there’s also a 3-part series featuring Drug Czar John Walters talking from behind a podium somewhere.

It’s delightfully ironic that, after a barrage of bad publicity, ONDCP has attempted to redeem its ads by placing them in an online popularity contest. Success on Youtube has much to do with viewer ratings, and after only one day, ONDCP’s ratings are as low as the system permits (note: ratings appearing in the user profile linked above are only updated periodically. You have to click on one of the videos to see how bad the ratings have gotten).

A high viewer count could theoretically demonstrate success despite poor ratings, but ONDCP has already removed their two most-watched videos, seemingly because of the low ratings. They’ve also removed the comment option for obvious reasons. Their next step will almost certainly be to remove the rating option entirely, but doing so will doom their videos to permanent obscurity and blatantly defeats the purpose of being on Youtube in the first place.

Enjoy it while you can, kids. When you get arrested for a half-gram of pot, lose financial aid for college, and get your life ruined by the drug war, ONDCP will have the last laugh.

Sidenote: Here's something good on Youtube.

Location: 
United States

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