The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) is a non-profit organization whose aim is to reduce demand for illegal drugs through advertising. They are famous for ads such as “This is your brain on drugs”. PDFA began in 1986 to “unsell” drugs to the American public. Putting to use all major media outlets, including TV, radio, print advertisements and the Internet, along with the pro-bono work of the country’s best advertising agencies, the Partnership’s anti-drug messages have been able to reach the public on local and national levels for the past 20 years.

The PDFA receives its funding from major pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol corporations. These include:

  • American Brands (Jim Beam whiskey)
  • Philip Morris (Marlboro and Virginia Slims cigarettes, Miller beer)
  • Anheuser Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, Busch beer)
  • R.J. Reynolds (Camel, Salem, Winston cigarettes)
  • Bristol Meyers-Squibb, Merck & Company and Proctor & Gamble (pharmaceuticals)
  • Dupont (munitions, chemicals, everything)

It is obvious why they focus heavily on illegal drugs in their campaigns.  The ads are pure propaganda.  In the past several ads have been removed because of blatantly false claims.  They currently focus on the amotivational syndrome even though it is not generally accepted by the scientific community.  On the website there is a section called “Stoners in the Mist” which features cannabis users unable to perform even the most basic tasks such as moving, talking, bathing, and even recalling one’s own name.  They have taken amotivational syndrome to a new level.  Here is a commercial from a recent campaign:

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has been lying to the public for two decades. It is suspicious how PDFA leaves alcohol and tobacco out of its list of “drugs of abuse”.  There are no statistics to back up PDFA’s claim that cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, mushrooms, peyote, hashish, and a few other illegal drugs create anywhere near the havoc in society that is created by alcohol, tobacco, and doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.  It is ironic that their sponsors produce the substances that account for the majority of drug related deaths.  PDFA anti-drug partner Merck, for example, was marketing Vioxx until news organizations reported that the anti-arthritis drug was apparently causing heart attacks, strokes and sudden death. As has been the case with other high-profile pharmaceutical drug recalls, Merck has been accused of falsifying, jiggling or withholding data that cast doubts on their product’s safety.