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"Just Say No" was a television advertising campaign, part of the US "War on Drugs" and prevalent during the 1980s and early 1990s, to discourage children from engaging in recreational drug use by offering various ways of saying no. Eventually, this also expanded the realm of "Just Say No" to violence, premarital sex, and any other supposed vices that young people might try. The slogan was created and championed by former First Lady Nancy Reagan during her husband's presidency.[1]

"Just Say No" crossed over to the UK, where it was popularised by the BBC's 1986 "Drugwatch" campaign, which revolved around a heroin-addiction storyline in the popular children's TV drama serial Grange Hill. The cast's cover of the original US campaign song, with an added rap, reached the UK top ten [2]. In 2007 Justin Lee Collins presented a one off show on Channel 4 with the aim to reunite the 1986 Grange Hill cast and organized for them to perform 'Just Say No' one more time.

The campaign made its way into popular American culture when TV shows like Diff'rent Strokes and Punky Brewster produced episodes centered around the campaign. In 1987 La Toya Jackson became spokesperson for the campaign and recorded a song entitled "Just Say No" with British hit producers Stock/Aitken/Waterman.

The campaign drew some criticism for underestimating the drug use in America and reducing its solution to a catch phrase.[3] A reduction, however, in the use and trafficking of illegal drugs by adolescents was seen during the height of the campaign.[4][5]

See also


References

  1. Mrs. Reagan's Crusade. Ronald Reagan Foundation.
  2. Malvern, Jack Just say no. The Daily Summit. British Council.
  3. Elliott, Jeff Just say nonsense - Nancy Reagan's drug education programs. Washington Monthly.
  4. Interview: Dr. Herbert Kleber. PBS Frontline. URL accessed on 2007-06-12.


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