Colorado is conducting a powerful campaign aiming to prevent teen marijuana abuse. The state has garnered a lot of recent press due to the fact that they have allowed recreational marijuana use and some people are concerned the new amendment would lead to an acceptance of drug use among teens. To help prevent this from happening, the state of Colorado hired Mike Sukle of Sukle Advertising & Design to put together a campaign that would speak to teenagers about the dangers of marijuana abuse.
Sukle explains that the campaign was tricky because of the widespread acceptance of marijuana in the state. He points out that you have to be careful about how you warn children against using marijuana. Oftentimes children are told things about drugs that are heavily exaggerated or simply aren’t true. When children see that they have been lied to, it is even harder to dissuade them from abusing the drug themselves.
Studies are showing that using marijuana at a young age can lead to schizophrenia, stunted brain growth and a lowered IQ. Armed with this information Sukle created a campaign that would reach out to teens and point out the inevitable. In a few years scientists would be studying their generation to determine the effects of early marijuana use. The campaign is called Don’t Be A Lab Rat and it shows giant rat cages with signs explaining the potential fallout from early marijuana use.
The signs say things such as: “What do the effects of lead paint, mercury, and weed on teenagers’ brains all have in common? We’re about to find out.” or “Congratulations. You’re the first teenage generation living in a state with legalized marijuana. Scientists can’t wait to see the negative effects it will have on your brain.”
The intention is not to scare or lie to teenagers, but to engage their curiosity and get them to realize that they are still developing. Ingesting drugs during such a crucial time in a person’s development can have long-lasting negative effects.