“Ahem, gentlemen, I stand corrected—there evidently are bad ideas in brainstorming. Why is it that we’re losing ground across the board and yet we’re only pitching conservative strategies that’ll, at best, lose the fight slower? To me that doesn’t make sense. I know it’s an uphill battle, but capitalism and science aren’t sleeping; nope, they’re out there every day, hustling to make drugs stronger, cheaper, and easier to obtain.
“Relax, no need for jaw clenching and rabble-rousing; I know I’m just a college sophomore three weeks into my summer internship here at D.A.R.E. America. All I’m saying is that, if we want a game-changer, we’re going to have to do better than commissioning a few police lectures, rinky-dink parades, and videos of drug-addled teens unsuccessfully outrunning trains.
“Put your hands down; I already know what you’re going to say. Yes, sob-story eulogies were all the rage back when kids still had feelings. Lay some sad, acoustic riff over it and those jaded sixteen-year-olds would melt into a malleable, whimpering putty. But today’s kids don’t care—they’re too busy sucking down energy drinks and snapping funeral selfies. The Golden Age is gone; the game’s changed and our playbook hasn’t.
“Look, before I committed my life to revolutionizing drug awareness propaganda, I was a real bad apple: rotten with poisons on the inside and red with chronic acne on the outside. At seventeen I was self-conscious and no stranger to succumbing to a jibber joint rolled up with that sticky Alaskan Slowfuck, always worried that saying no to such dankitude would mean permanent exile from popularity.
“Lost I was. Lost in the wilderness, a hazy, Aeropostale-littered wilderness. It was anxious and humiliating, but pricelessly insightful nonetheless.
“Senior Board Members, today I stand before you and assert that we don’t need to un-dorkify sobriety; we only need to make using drugs more un-cool than abstaining. And, for high-schoolers, what’s collectively un-cool? It’s not cops. It’s not Republicans. It’s not even the Christian clique. No, for today’s teens there’s nothing more universally un-cool than their parents.
“I say we get the parents involved, but not by self-righteously lecturing. Unless their parents are snack-hawking cartoon cheetahs or disgraced celebrities, teens aren’t listening. Overt dishonesty won’t work either; research shows adolescents won’t start eating healthy or writing thank you notes just because their parents tell them it’s the summer’s hot, new, funky fresh fad.
“We need some a-typical guerilla tactics. Namely, we need to get parents to start doing drugs with their kids. To me, there’s no better way to make teens’ stoned experiences awkward while effectively showcasing how un-cool and un-fun drugs can be.
“Hear me out. Parents can cultivate an obnoxious stoner persona to shift into who feebly discusses universe interconnectedness, recites awful homespun poetry, and incessantly quotes Austin Powers. Plus, we’ll coach parents to maximize paranoia by peppering in quips like ‘Did I just say that or did you just think that?’ or ‘Premonitions are bullshit; Grandma’s okay though, right, man?’
“It won’t happen overnight. Teens aren’t going to be permanently disinclined after just half a family blunt and twenty minutes of their pops donning one of those smell-hoarding ponchos and ineptly noodling around on a guitar. Real change and real resentment take time and expectations need to be managed. It’ll take commitment. We’ll need a country of parents abhorrently high, constantly bothering their children with new conspiracy theories and terrible ideas for rock operas.
“Soon enough though, teens nationwide will start associating the one-two punch of utter irritation and festering anxiety with drug use and start saying no whenever they’re peer pressured. It worked for Pavlov. It worked on Little Albert. And I guarantee, with the right guidance, we’ll be able to keep 2014’s teenagers off drugs one embarrassingly uncomfortable Shagadelic at a time!”
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