NOPE, NOPE, NOPE — not another misguided government propaganda movement designed to stop kids from using drugs. Instead of frying eggs as a metaphor for your brain on drugs, NOPE promises to bring a sober, serious, factual perspective to the realities of prescription drug abuse. NOPE, the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education program, is taking a radical departure from the failed anti-drug PSA’s of the past and is a welcome herald of the government’s shifting stance on drugs.
First among the ways NOPE deviates from its failed counterpart DARE is its focus on narcotics, hence the name, N-OPE. In an age when there are an equal number of new teenage abusers of marijuana and prescription drugs, it’s clear which poses a more significant threat to America’s youth today. One drug provides the impetus for over 200,000 1 a.m. fast food trips annually, while the other can trigger fatal drug overdoses, contributing to the single largest cause of injury and death in our country, according to the CDC.
Prescription drugs are easier than ever to come by; no surprise, considering over 70 percent of Americans are on a prescription and more than half of the population take multiple medications. Since the street value is so high for these sorts of drugs — up to $30 for a single oxycodone or $10 a pop for Adderall — it is little surprise that they are popular to sell. Drugs such as these have even been seen on school grounds, according to a large percentage of NOPE demographic students. The presence of these drugs among our young is a valid cause for worry. I don’t buy into the whole “gateway drug” concept, but if someone too young to vote is popping professional painkillers and stimulants for kicks, they’re gonna have a bad time later down the road.
The way NOPE presents this more meaningful message to its target demographic — middle and high schoolers — also hits home. Over 500 students in Pennsylvania listened to a 911 call from a woman after finding her 17-year-old son unconscious from a drug overdose as part of the NOPE program at their school. They then took turns handling the dead boy’s urn and looking at pictures of him, a person their own age.
Shocking? Maybe. Abrasive? Sure. Effective? I think it will be. The reason programs like DARE and Above the Influence failed was because their “education” was built on half-truths, quick generalizations, and straight misinformation. (Ed: Compare this link to the Above the Influence entry on LSD — it’s their source, but the message on their own website runs directly contrary to it regarding LSD’s addictiveness).
NOPE is operating less on scare tactics and more on reality. Prescription drugs can kill when they aren’t used properly. It’s a lot easier to realize this when somebody you know or somebody similar to you is affected in such a way.
For its emphasis on legitimately dangerous drugs, the pointedness of its message and its shift from fear and rhetoric to facts and results, NOPE earns from this concerned citizen a resounding "YUP."
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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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