Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Learned It By Watching You! 1980s Drug PSA

"I learned it by watching you, Dad!"
The famous '80s anti-drug PSA...
What kid or teen from 1987 doesn't remember joking with their friends saying, "I learned it by watching you!" The line originated from an Anti-Drug PSA commercial sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America that aired in 1987.

If you've been following along for a while, you already know that I'm the Catholic-raised product of two teachers. No matter how much you snooped around our house, the only thing you might find were Christmas gifts in December. Shh, please don't tell my mom. Nothing exciting was hidden in our house and don't you DARE (no pun intended) try to call me out on this. I totally know!

When this anti-drug PSA first aired, we kids all had a good laugh. However, to be honest, deep down it was a bit shocking and really made me think. What did this commercial seriously mean by, "Parents who use drugs, have children who use drugs." Whose parents use drugs? Not the kids in my Catholic school classes - those parents wouldn't even let their thirteen-year-old kids see PG-13 movies! Were there really parents who smoked pot? I was so naive. 


Do you guys remember this anti-drug PSA from 1987? The boy is laying in his bed listening to headphones when the dad confronts the kid about what his mom found by snooping through the kid's things. The boy then hits him with the shocking, unforgettably dramatic line, "I learned it by watching you, Dad. I learned it by watching you!"

Do you as a parent plan on or already snoop through your kid's things? 'Fess up! If your kids are small, do you see yourself snooping through their things when they're older?

23 comments:

Margie said...

I loved this PSA along with the man going around in a circle in a room about making more money so he could buy more coke so he could work harder and make more money...

To this day, I still quote these PSAs.

I have no kids so I don't snoop but, maybe if my kids gave me reason enough to snoop then maybe.

Suze said...

I don't snoop through my kid's things. She's seven so the going is easy right now in that regard but I just don't see myself ever doing that. My husband and I both work really hard to take her seriously, to make her feel like what she says is valid, legitimate and worthwhile. She keeps a diary which she locks, but she's shared it with both of us in its entirety. I think being an only child has enabled us to give her a ton of attention and I make it an absolute priority to keep the lines of communication open with her.

After some colorful stories told to her at school last year -- in first grade! -- we've already had the 'sex talk.' I ain't lettin' anyone misinform my kid. Mom's the first line of defense and I want her to learn an openness to the world, a self-acceptance and a freedom from dark spaces from the example of her momma.

And that's the way I see it.

BigMike said...

Probably the most quoted PSA of all time.
So does that mean it was effective?

Lost.in.Idaho said...

My parents used to smoke out. My dad still does. Apparently he thinks the rest of the world can't tell the difference in smell between cigarette smoke and weed.

I remember this PSA and the "This is your brain on drugs" PSA...

TS Hendrik said...

I remember that PSA. My favorite one though came a few years later with the "no one ever says, 'when I grow up, I want to be a junkie'" PSA.

Oilfield Trash said...

I don't remember that particular one. I just remember the "this is your brain on drugs" one with the picture of the egg in the skillet.

Pat Tillett said...

I remember it well. Afterwards, I made sure to hide my stash really well...

H A R R Y G O A Z said...

GREAT memories !

Have a super week.

nikki said...

was at a friend's house one time and her mom was teaching us to macrame. Her dad came in and really seriously was like "parents who macrame, have kids who macrame." It became our line any time we were doing the same things as our parents. "Parents who was In Living Color have kids who watch In Living Color." "Parents who drink orange juice have kids who drink orange juice." Ah. Good times/.

Barbara said...

Not only do I remember it, but I remember us laughing at it because we were raised in the "do as I say, not as I do" world.

If I'd have popped out that statement to my dad, he would have said "it doesn't matter what I do, it matters what you do, and you will do what I say". And we would not have argued with him.

Yes, that guilt face on the dad certainly did not exist in our house.

Ada said...

I wish I could be the kind of parent who wouldn't snoop, but if I suspect she's doing something dangerous it might be the only way :(

Definitely not peeking through her diary or something though!

Copyboy said...

I love how the dad is so not the drug type. At least get a guy with a supreme mullet. What? No VHer wanted to sign on to this PSA?

Ms. A said...

I remember this well! Yes, I was a helicopter mom, always hovering, always snooping. My house, my kids, my right! I don't regret it, either! (but my kids DO)

thenitefalls said...

I'm not a parent, but I think I would snoop around their stuff because I'm nosy lol

Amber Von Felts said...

Ha ha! This ad was right up there with "This is your Brain on drugs" I remember quoting it quite a bit, mockingly of course. Then I also remember the day I found a joint in my Mom's drawer! Talk about mind blower. Surprise to say all the "don't do drugs" propaganda in the 80's actually worked for me. I never touched drugs or alcohol as a kid or teen! Thank you miss Nancy Reagan!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Oh yes, I don't even have to click play. I remember this one vividly. I think this was one of the most powerful commercials ever. It's excellent. They should start airing it again.
xoRobyn

Kicking Rocks said...

lol, i saw this a long time ago!!

and yeah ill upload the video on my blog after it airs for sure!!

ed said...

im too young to remember this

Bossy Betty said...

I SO remember this !!!

I don't snoop. Well, not too much anyway.

Blast from the Past said...

I remember this well. Never did drugs/smoked/any of that stuff, nor did my parents, so the PSA's were somewhat lost on us.

I think that they were very effective, though.

lazlo1988 said...

Wow, ironically, I have another '80s Anti-Drug PSA up on my blog. I wasn't copying, honest!

http://retroawesomeness.blogspot.com/

But, yep, the "just say no" years. What can you say.

Teachinfourth said...

I remember joking around with my friends with this line, too as a kid...also the "This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs...any questions?"

We had our own versions, too. I'll not mention them all here as there's far too many of them.

Liza Reynolds said...

Lol...I still quote this commercial. I was only like 6 or 7 when it was on, & found it quite hilarious even then.

SHARE THIS!

Share |