I can’t stop struggle

In the 1980s, the “Just Say No” advertising campaign was targeted at recreational drugs. This slogan was first introduced and championed by Nancy Reagan. She was First Lady at the time, and so she saw a chance to bring awareness to children, combat peer pressure and try to  gain an understanding of why they turn to drugs. The “Just Say No” slogan was created by advertising executives, though. Once during a visit to an Elementary School in Oakland, CA, Nancy Reagan was asked by a girl what she should do if she was provided with drugs. The First Last answered, “Just say no.”  All of sudden, there was a war on drugs, which included marijuana, and so marijuana was lumped in with harmful, addictive substances like LSD, cocaine and even heroin. Then as Nancy Reagan traveled throughout the United States, she appeared on talk shows and public service announcements, and she earned media attention and stirred up a witch hunt. The phrase “Just Say No” then became part of popular American culture, and so the medicinal benefits of marijuana were completely forgotten. Then Nancy Reagan expanded her mission internationally. She got the Girl Scouts, Kiwanis Club and then the National Federation of Parents for a Drug-Free Youth involved. Her campaign raised awareness, however it has also drawn criticism. Her approach reduced the solution to drug abuse to nothing more than a catch phrase. Two studies even show that those who participated in DARE programs were even more likely to smoke cigarettes and drink! The inflated fears that were caused by “Just Say No” resulted in mass incarcerations. They also hindered youth from accurate information about dealing with drug abuse. There became a certain stigma with anyone who was addicted to drugs, leading to hiding problems instead of seeking help for them. Medicinal marijuana is still struggling to overcome all the prejudices inspired by Nancy Reagan’s campaign.

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