Nation’s Leading Drug Policy Reform Organization Launches Major Web Campaign Linking Hollywood’s Traffic to the Real War on Drugs

Press Release February 12, 2001
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711

The Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation (Lindesmith-DPF), the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs, has launched a major web campaign highlighting the links between the hit movie Traffic and the real-life war on drugs. was released on February 13 to coincide with the Academy Award nominations. Traffic was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (adapted).

“Millions of people who have seen the movie Traffic are suddenly questioning the futility and destructiveness of our nation’s drug war,” said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of Lindesmith-DPF. “We wanted to give people something they could do when they got out of Traffic. The movie got people stirred up and got them thinking – we hope to inspire them to get involved.”

Here’s how it works:

At, visitors can play a fun, creative game in which they try to “win” the war on drugs. Surrounded by images from the movie, game players can opt for strategies that the government has tried for the last 30 years, including: locking up all drug users and dealers; sending guns and money to Mexico and Colombia to cut off the drug supply; and promoting “Just Say No” campaigns in schools.

After the player tries any one of these strategies, a buzzer sound will go off with a “Been there. Done that. Didn’t work.” Message. Very quickly, site visitors will learn the reality behind the movie, which is:

The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. Right now nearly 500,000 Americans are behind bars on drug charges, compared to 50,000 in 1980. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer money was spent fighting the war on drugs. Yet illegal drugs are cheaper, purer, and more readily available than ever before. Clearly our current strategies are not working.

Players will also be eligible to win a free Traffic DVD or video. Beyond the game the site also includes ways to get more information on drug education, marijuana regulation, needle exchange and other issues related to our current drug policy. In addition there are links to other organizations working on drug policy reform and other ways to get involved.

Nadelmann has recently appeared on Geraldo, in Newsweek, The Independent (London), and other media outlets talking about his views of the film, which is sure to get more attention given the expected Academy nominations.

“Finally a major motion picture has come out stirring up dialogue about our nation’s war on drugs,” said Nadelmann. “We hope this campaign will take that dialogue one step further by letting people know there are alternatives that rely more on common sense, science, public health and human rights.

Traffic could be the Dead Man Walking of drug policy reform.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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