STARTING POINT: Just Say 'Yes' to Media Literacy
The bottom line tells the story. While organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Partnership for a Drug-Free America raise a few million to counter illegal drugs and alcohol abuse through public-service advertising, the alcohol and tobacco industries spend billions to reach potential consumers of their addictive products.
Direct advertising costs are paid for by consumers, but ultimately everyone pays for the long-term costs of substance-related illness, absenteeism and death.
True, our prevailing double standard does place illegal drugs (which cannot be advertised, of course) in the "Just Say No" category. But many observers note that media-inculcated "just say yes" consumerism encourages even the smallest children to take up habits that may eventually prove dangerous to their health.
It's time to try another approach. It's time to say yes to media literacy.