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Sara Bellum

“This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”

Sound familiar? For some of our readers, maybe not. This line actually dates back to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s 1987 classic television public service campaign. Perhaps even more memorable than the slogan was the imagery that accompanied it—a sizzling egg in a hot frying pan. Check out the video and see for yourself.

When it launched in the late 1980s, this classic public service campaign challenged the idea that drugs’ effects were temporary. The campaign message that drug addiction changes people’s brains and shatters people’s lives would soon start to take hold.

Brain Scans Replace Fried Eggs

Today, we don’t have to use a frying egg to demonstrate what a “brain on drugs” might look like. Through the use of brain-imaging technology, science can show us a real picture of how drug use affects the brain. By measuring the amount of glucose in a particular area of the brain, a brain scan (called positron emission tomography) can tell how active the brain is.

Take a look at the “control” scan on the left, which is the brain of a normal person. Look at all the red—this means that these regions of the brain are highly active since red represents glucose. The right scan is taken from someone who is on cocaine. What do you notice? A lot less red, right?, which means less activity. Reduced glucose can affect many brain functions, such as decision-making, memory, and concentration.

“This is your brain on drugs” just got a whole new meaning.

What drug-prevention slogans or images have the greatest impact on you? Send us a message or leave us a comment, and let us know what you think.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


The big lie is a good one - or i love that commercial that said, I have to go to work, so i can make more money, so i can buy more drugs, so that i can work harder,and faster , so i can make more money so I can buy more drugs. - what a vicous cycle - the big lie to ourselves. Thanks for the articles

What drug-PREVENTION slogans get me? None, because, for the most part, they are just that; SLOGANS.

Think for yourself. Question authority.

Everyone should read this blog
Don't care about negative comments.
Your job is good.
it will be more useful when it get more detailed.
Thanks for the post.
[commercial link removed, per guidelines'

Who is to say these aren't two different people's brains..and two people's brains MIGHT not be EXACTLY the same.

Great sharing with us, thank you. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]