This Is Your Brain On Drugs


An anti-drug poster using simple typography and photographs to deliver and straightforward message. 

This Is Your Brain On Drugs poster from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. It is an anti-narcotic campaign. Its goal was to spread awareness of what drugs will do to your brain and promote a drug-free environment, specifically for America. 

During the early 1980s, there was a highly addictive type of cocaine, also known as "crack" going around in America. Due to its rising popularity, it led to an escalation of people becoming addicted to this type of drug. Near the end of the 1980s, cocaine became available to all states except four. Because of this, the president at that time, Ronald Reagan, pushed and prioritized the initiative, War on Drugs, led by the government. His wife, Nacy Reagan, also launched the movement "Just Say No" in order to encourage children to say no to drugs and to spread awareness across America. Thus, this is why there were many anti-narcotic commercials during that time, especially the "Your Brain On Drugs" advertisement during the 1980s and 1990s.

The introduction of crack or cocaine had become a big issue for the youth and it affected millions of Americans due to its cheap price and highly effective result. It soon became extremely and dangerously addictive for both teenagers and young and grown adults. An example of this type of drug harming people would be the Len Bias case. A college basketball player who died of an overdose of cocaine just two days after he got selected as No. 2 in the National Basketball Association draft. This points out how drug abuse can become a danger and negatively affect our lives in general. According to the article "Decades of Drug Use: The '80s and '90s" by Jennifer Robison, "President Ronald Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, "In 1985, one-third of Americans said they had tried marijuana at some point in their lives." This further proves the highly contagious effect of drugs in general and marijuana or cocaine in particular.

These two movements worked in some aspects as they did a fine job of spreading awareness. Studies have shown that drug abuse rates have lowered since the late 1970s due to the firmly strict policies and several anti-drug movements, which helped spread awareness to some extent. Over time, the policies on drug abuse have been lightened up and are not as harsh as they were in the past. However, there are still many anti-narcotic campaigns today that help fight back and promote the danger of drug use for its harmful grasp on the people in America.