When I first began writing this blog I told of the infamous ONDCP propaganda piece “Stoners in the Mist”. It was a faux documentary of a Marlin Perkins-type wildlife scientist leading us on the hunt for the elusive stoner as if cannabis consumers were animals to be bagged and tagged. It played on more tired stereotypes for failed attempts at humor than a Jeff Dunham show.
In that tradition, Toke of the Town found the following infographic from “Rehab-Programs.org”. The site seems to be akin to a “WeedMaps.com”, but in reverse – it is a locator for drug rehab programs, but far less sophisticated than WeedMaps. In it, various addicts are caricatured and given military ranks. ”Harry the Heroin Addict”, for example, is the “Addict General” of this “Addict Army”, “Brandon the Coke Head” is the “Addict Colonel”, and so on.
I’m not sure what’s more offensive to me – ending up as the only enlisted man in this army with a pacifier-sucking rave kid as my NCO, or being told there is a “1 in 10 chance of death by substance”. Uh-oh, I took nine hits already… better put down the bong.
It’s funny how the last graphic on the page shows there were zero deaths from marijuana, yet my chances of dying from it aren’t “0 in 10″. It’s also shifty that the graph’s top bound ends at “13,000+”, making alcohol, meth, and prescription pills look equally dangerous and cocaine a third as dangerous, when, in fact, meth deaths are just 17% and 15% as numerous as legal alcohol and pills and cocaine is 6% and 5% as numerous. All those illegal drug deaths combined are just 1/4th as much as alcohol deaths and 1/5th as much as prescription deaths.
Best of all, at the very end, the laughable disclaimer (quotation marks theirs, making me wonder whom they’re quoting):
“Drug abuse, chemical dependency, and addictive behavior spare no one and are spread throughout society. They do not respect age, profession, race, religion, or physical attributes. Rehab-Programs.org has put together this informational graphic as a stereotypical example of the extremes. Addicts come in all shapes and sizes and shouldn’t be limited to the views expressed in this document”
So they’re showing how drug abuse cuts across all demographic boundaries by visual depictions of stereotypical extremes? That makes as much sense as expanding douche sales to minority markets with black women’s voices that start with “Girrrrlll!” and Latinas shrieking “Ay ay ay!” With a talking vagina hand puppet. (Speaking of minorities, see any in the poster? We only got White Stripes in this Seven Addict Army?)
I mean, who is this poster for? If it is for the addict, how does depicting him or her this way instill trust and desire for the rehab product? If it is for the counselors, how does this help them understand their varied clientele? If it is to educate the general public, most of them just saw a poster validating their stereotypes of addicts, tiny print disclaimer notwithstanding.
Besides… they blew the alliteration with “Brandon the Coke Head”. Surely “Chase” or “Carlton” would lend the air of yuppie cred as well as “Brandon”. And “Matt the Meth Head” should really be “Terry the Tweeker”, Harry should be “Jerry the Junkie”, and Andy should be “Danny the Drunk” if we’re going to keep the street lingo consistent with “Stoner” (I couldn’t think of what Ecstasy addicts are called… because I’ve never known any.)
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