Drug Czar Picks Beer-Promoting NASCAR Hot Rodder to Carry Anti-Drug Message 8/9/02

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The drug czar's new slogan must be "Kids Should Drink Buds, Not Smoke 'Em." As noted in the Office of National Drug Control Policy's latest Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign update (Summer 2002), the drug czar's office has now teamed up with NASCAR and NASCAR driver Jimmy Spencer to spread its anti-drug message. But the pairing may turn out to be just the latest in a long series of missteps for the misbegotten propaganda campaign. The NASCAR collaboration has just been slammed hard by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit health advocacy group concerned with pro-health alcohol policies.

In a Monday press release and open letter to drug czar John Walters, CSPI strongly criticized the collaboration because NASCAR and Spencer are soaked in beer. "This partnership sends the wrong message to America's young people," CSPI wrote. "NASCAR has a $7.5 million sponsorship deal with Busch beer and many drivers have their own lucrative sponsorship deals with brewers. For example, Rusty Wallace partners with Miller Brewing Company, and Sterling Martin plugs Coors. Brewers also advertise heavily on televised NASCAR events. Ironically, a photo of Jimmy Spencer's car, featured in ONDCP's Campaign Update, sports a Budweiser decal."

(At Spencer's web site, his anti-drug link is just two clicks away from his online store, where he offers shot glasses and beer cooler cups for sale. Check out http://www.jimmyspencer.net/images/yellow_richmond_2lr.jpg for a photo of the new anti-drug spokesman wearing a Budweiser cap and standing behind cases of Busch beer.)

In their same-day press release, CSPI hammered the point home. "As beer promoters, Jimmy Spencer and NASCAR are the wrong messengers," said CSPI Alcohol Policy Project director George Hacker. "They're no better than the Budweiser frogs when it comes to anti-drug spokesmen. It really shows that the drug czar has a blind spot when it comes to booze."

That blind spot is institutional and deliberate. In its annual drug strategy reports, the ONDCP had until this year identified its principal goal as "educating America's youth to reject illegal drugs as well as alcohol and tobacco." The highlighted language was dropped from the 2002 drug strategy.

Hacker wrote that the NASCAR/Spencer beer deals compromise ONDCP's anti-drug goals. Even NASCAR merchandise aimed at young children, such as caps and toy cars, are covered in beer logos, he noted. "When we tried to get alcohol included in the ONDCP's campaign, this wasn't exactly what we had in mind," said Hacker.

Can someone explain the meaning of the word "ironic" to the drug czar? How about the word "hypocrisy"?

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Issue #249, 8/9/02 Nevada Marijuana Initiative Endorsed by State's Largest Police Group | DC Board of Elections Rejects Medical Marijuana Petitions -- Admits One of Seven Valid Signatures Ignored but Refuses to Correct Error | Democratic Governor Candidate Calls for Repeal of NY Rockefeller Laws | Switzerland Defends Cannabis Decrim, Tells UN Narcocrats to Buzz Off | Which War Am I In? DEA Meth Offensive Continues as US Pilots in Afghanistan Gobble Speed | Libertarian Party Launches TV Ad Campaign Targeting Rep. Bob Barr on Medical Marijuana | Drug Czar Picks Beer-Promoting NASCAR Hot Rodder to Carry Anti-Drug Message | School Anti-Drug Programs Get Failing Grade, Study Says | Drug Dog Terrorizes Native American Kindergartners in South Dakota, Lawsuit Filed | Newsbrief: South Dakota Lakota Successfully Harvest Hemp Crop | Newsbrief: Peru Backs Off on Coca Eradication, Again | Newsbrief: Radical Party Moscow Activists Go to Trial for Marijuana Legalization Rally -- Free Speech at Heart of Case | Newsbrief: Federal Judge Deems Utah Asset Forfeiture Initiative Constitutional | Newsbrief: Canadian NAFTA Suit Over Hemp Restrictions Enters Arbitration | Newsbrief: More than One Million in Drug Treatment in US, SAMHSA Says | Newsbrief: Budget Woes Close Detox, Treatment Facilities in NC, Iowa | Newsbrief: Stiffer Ecstasy Penalties Would Hit Penn State University | Newsbrief: Study Finds THC-like Chemicals Useful for Certain Disorders | Newsbrief: Archeological Evidence of Bronze Age Drug Trade | Web Scan: Narco News, Nature, Cato | Legislative Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

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