There have been many different anti-drug campaigns including magazine advertisements and short movies throughout history. As technology advanced and people became able to produce television ads, anti-drug commercials were born and frequented the airwaves in between hit shows. Over the years these PSAs have featured anyone from famous actors to cartoon characters; commercial producers will try to get anyone that they think may make a lasting impression on kids, and I’m sure it worked!
So many different tactics have been used to inspire, motivate, and even scare people into avoiding drugs. For the ones meant for kids, like PSAs featuring cartoon characters such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, these ads aim to inspire the youth so they don’t ever start in the first place by showing how uncool drugs are. However, some commercials take a completely different route – these videos use scare tactics by giving graphic interpretation of how drugs can affect you and ruin your brain. Although many of these videos have proven to be rather effective at deterring people, especially children, from doing drugs, many anti-drug commercials and advertisements were met with criticism and have been spoofed for years. Some of these videos are still loved today as timeless classics, and others become parodied in sketch shows on late-night TV.
Whether they made a difference or not, below I list 17 classic anti-drug commercials from the past 40 or so years that will hopefully evoke feelings of nostalgia for many of you.
The Best Anti-Drug Commercials:
1) I learned it By Watching You: A true classic from the 1980s!
2) Don’t do Crack: The pop-culture icon Pee-Wee Herman informs you on the dangers of crack.
3) This is Your Brain on Drugs: A literal representation of your brain being ‘fried’.
4) Michael Jordan Talks About Drugs: One of the most influential athletes of all time sits down to give you a pep talk.
5) Turtle Tips: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would rather go for pizza instead of drugs and I think I like that idea.
8) Star Trek PSA: Don’t let future generations remember you for drug abuse.
9) Clint Eastwood Anti-Crack-Cocaine PSA: Dirty Harry himself wouldn’t be caught dead with drugs.
10) Bill Cosby Talks About Drugs: You can never go wrong when taking advice from Mr. Cosby.
11) This is Your Brain on Heroin: Drugs destroy more than just your brain.
12) Marijuana Does Not Make You Attractive: There are better ways to get dates than smoking pot.
13) Ghostbusters PSA: The only answer you need if offered drugs is “no!”
14) Magician PSA: I like magic tricks where people pull a rabbit out of a hat – not doing drugs.
15) Hanna Barbara PSA: Starting one drug leads on the path to start many others. Stay anti-drugs from the beginning!
16) When I Grow Up: “No one ever says ‘I want to be a junkie when I grow up.'”
17) Diving Board: Before you jump, make sure you know what you’re getting into.