5 Great Anti-Drug War Videos

A cartoon can be worth a thousand words -- or even a book.

A cartoon can be worth a thousand words -- or even a book. For years, those of us in the anti-drug war movement have tried to show folks the harms of drug prohibition. Last week, “The Flower,” a three-minute anti-prohibition video was released on AlterNet. It quickly went viral and has already been viewed 300,000 times. Without using one word, “The Flower” is able to portray the harms of prohibition in an effective and entertaining way.
I’ve always loved short videos that are able to educate and motivate people through animations, music, and popular culture. I remember the first time I heard Immortal Technique’s song, “Peruvian Coke.” It blew me away how he could cover our whole issue, from the coca fields in Latin America to the people incarcerated in New York all in four minutes. He literally took information that could make up a 500-page book and made it accessible to people rocking out at their desk, or in the club, home, or car. Below are five videos I love about the failed drug war.

1) The Flower:

This three-minute animation by Haik Hoisington contrasts a society that legally produces and consumes a pleasure- giving flower with a society where the same flower is illegal and prohibited. The animation reflects on the social and economic costs of marijuana prohibition.

2) Peruvian Coke:

Immortal Technique summarizes the drug trade and the harms of prohibition from the fields in Peru to the streets of Harlem.

3) Rapper Jim Jones Slams the Rockefeller Drug Laws:

This video was released at a critical moment while advocates were pushing to reform New York’s Draconican Rockefeller Drug Laws.

4) Doc Ellis Throws a No-Hitter Game on LSD:

I have always loved the story of how Pirate picture Doc Ellis threw a no-hitter game on LSD. This animation uses an interview with Doc Ellis about the game and the result is hilarious.

5) Incarcerex:

The Drug Policy Alliance teamed up with Haik to slam elected officials who campaign for the war on drugs on the backs of their constituents. The piece is a parody on the pharmaceutical ads we see on TV.

Many of us are incredibly passionate about the issues we work on. It is worth remembering that there are many mediums to use when promoting our vision and mission. Sometimes a video with no words or a three-minute song can move hearts and minds as much as tens of thousands of written words.


Tony Newman is communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance.
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