If you were alive during the ‘80s or ‘90s, there was an ad on television that could not be escaped. The “this is your brain on drugs” ad ran late at night and was shown to kids in high school for a decade. The ad features a man who asks “Is there anyone out there who still isn’t clear about what doing drugs does?” He then continues, saying, “Okay, last time” while picking up an egg and stating “This is your brain.” He then points to a hot frying pan on the stove and says, “This is drugs.” He cracks the egg into the hot pan and as the egg fries, he holds the pan up and says, “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
History of the TV Spot
The ad has been the center of many jokes since it aired, with spoofs on T-shirts, posters, record labels and even Saturday Night Live. Now the ultimate joke is happening as the actor who starred in the over the top ad told CBC Radio in a recent ad that he is pro marijuana legalization. “This is your brain on drugs” actor John Roselius was paid just $360 by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America to star in the ad in 1987. Roselius admits that he was an alcoholic at the time but still believed in the anti-drug sentiment, central to the ad’s theme. He admits now that he has changed his mind in regards to marijuana and has already participated in California’s early vote in favor of legalizing marijuana in the state.
Changing the Mind of the “This is Your Brain on Drugs” Guy
Roselius was influenced to change his mind regarding marijuana by his in-laws who live in Washington state. His in-laws use marijuana instead of opioids to cure their arthritis pain and voted to legalize it recreationally in the state. No one in history has ever died from marijuana use while tens of thousands of people die annually from opioids. In states where marijuana has become legalized, both crime rates and the rate of death by opioids has decreased. The use of marijuana for pain is known to be safer, healthier and more effective. Roselius was able to learn this from his family and from seeing the medicinal benefits the plant was having on people throughout the country.
The Silent Generation and Marijuana Legalization
At 72 years of age, Roselius is part of the “Silent Generation” who consist of people born between 1928 and 1945. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, this generation usually has the highest number of prohibitionists in any age bracket. This makes sense given that it was the generation at which prohibition propaganda was most directed. Despite this, the survey actually shows that support for the legalization of marijuana in the group has quadrupled since the ‘80s, which indicates the change in public perspective since the egg ad aired.
Should California vote to legalize marijuana this November, it’s likely that public perception across the world would be impacted. An end to the horrendous insanity of prohibition, which began and was enforced for political reasons, not health reasons, would be a step closer to occurring.