Drug Czar Eyes Movies as a Medium for Anti-Drug Campaign

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The administration's top drug-fighter wants to bring the federal campaign against drugs to Hollywood - something one congressman calls a waste of government money.

Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, hopes to work more closely with major studios, writers and directors to promote films that communicate an anti-drug message, the Los Angeles Times said Tuesday.

"As powerful as television is, some experts believe that movies have an even stronger impact on young people," McCaffrey reportedly will tell Congress.

Even before McCaffrey outlines his proposal, it's drawing fire from one Member of Congress, who opposes what he called "subliminal hits" on American citizens.

In a speech on the House floor Tuesday, Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio) criticized McCaffrey, first for incorporating anti-drug messages in TV programs, and now for proposing to "throw away more money, this time in the movies."

"Unbelievable," Traficant continued. "The borders are wide open. Heroin and cocaine are pouring across the border faster than Viagra in Niagra, and the drug czar wants subliminal hits in Hollywood.

"America needs to stop drugs, cocaine and heroin at our border. And one thing America doesn't need is to start using federal dollars to make subliminal hits on American citizens through the media. That's just what Communists do."

Before serving in Congress, Traficant served as the Mahonig County, Ohio sheriff and director of the county's drug rehabilitation program.

McCaffrey's proposal to sprinkle federally-approved anti-drug messages in Hollywood movies promises to reopen debate about the government's efforts to get its anti-drug message out to young people.