Anti-drug videos on YouTube

White House office takes a daring step onto the Internet. Now how about a project to encourage kids to create their own anti-drug videos?

Apparently, YouTube mania has reached even into the halls of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The office uploaded several antidrug PSAs to YouTube recently, most of which have been viewed over a thousand times. AP reports:

"If just one teen sees this and decides illegal drug use is not the path for them, it will be a success," said Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The spots are not the old "this is your brain on drugs" messages. One depicts a kid running for his life from a snarling pit bull. "Yesterday my friends said I should try marijuana. Then today, they said I should try to out run Tic Tic, the lumber-yard dog," the teen says. "And I don't think I can. I'm an idiot."

Another shows a girl whose body has been smushed, thanks to some nifty computer graphics. "You used to be taller," an off-screen interviewer says. "What happened?" She answers: "Pressure, to be cool fit in, drink do drugs. Pressure happened." "So what now?" "I don't know," she says. "But this isn't working." Fade to black. Not exactly subtle, but not the heavy-handed message of "Just say no." The ads show a certain empathy with kids, an appreciation for the difficulties of being a teen.

President Bush's top drug-policy adviser, John Walters, said the agency was using emerging technologies to try to reach its audience. "Public institutions must adapt to meet the realities of these promising technologies," he said.

The government may or may not realize that posting on YouTube makes the videos fair game for alternative retellings in the form of mashups.


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