A Fairytale Kingdom and Beloved Dragon Explain the Failure of the War on Drugs [Watch]

Set in a medieval kingdom complete with dragons, dungeons and a royal army, the beautifully animated parable video War on Drugo sums up the 40-year-old, US-led war on drugs. In a 3-minute whimsical narration, the new stop-motion short film follows the trajectory of a fairytale village and their beloved dragon named Drugo. When too many villagers become too fond of Drugo—so much so that some are abandoning their families and responsibilities to be with the creature—the king issues a ban on playing with Drugo and criminalizes anyone caught spending time with him. The ban, it turns out, is futile and determined masses continue to  seek out their darling dragon in his forested hiding place. So, the king cracks down hard, pouring his riches into a full-fledged effort to destroy the dragon. The dungeons begin filling up with “nonviolent offenders.”


As it turns out, the more cannons and arrows the king’s men fire at the creature, the stronger and greater it becomes. In the end, former rulers of the kingdom decide to end the taboo and recognize that “war and violence against Drugo were the main problems,” and attitudes begin to change, as the narrator explains. “As the dragon was brought under the kingdom’s control drugo slowly returned to his original size. ...People could live without fear, understanding that supporting those who suffered because of Drugo was a smarter decision than killing and incarcerating people in an endless war.”

War on Drugo was released by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) and  is a direct analogy to the current war on drugs. The story’s moral lesson reflects the sentiments of the ongoing global fight to reform drug laws: the need for more humane, evidence-based policies in dealing with drugs in our society.

“Beyond the political and expert debates, we need to help inform the public on what the issues are related to drugs, and what alternatives we have to deal with this issue – hence the movie War on Drugo,” said Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil and chair of the GCDP in a press release. “War on Drugo is a tool that will allow us to outreach to the majority of the people who are not engaged in the debate at a technical level, to show them that we need to open our eyes and realize that we can’t solve this problem in a simplistic way. Let’s be smart about how we deal with drugs.”

The agency behind the idea for the film is Brazilian Almap/BBDO and Vetor Zero and Lobo produced the film with the help of a 60-plus person team that worked over a period of 9 months.

Its striking art was produced under the supervision of award-winning director Marcello Serpa.

“For more than 40 years, communications on this issue has been used as another weapon in the War on Drugs,” Serpa said in a press release. “Campaigns vilifying substances and users have not helped to change the ever growing level of consumption and brutal violence deriving from prohibition. Millions of dollars have been spent trying to ‘dry ice.’ We need to change the narrative to break the taboo around the issue. If Drugo helps to create a public discussion on the consequences of the War on Drugs, and thus create conditions for positive political change, this movie will have fulfilled its role.”

Watch War on Drugo below:

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