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Section XIV The Mass Media PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 00:00

Section XIV The Mass Media

In Section III The Causes of Non-Medical Drug Use, we made some general observations concerning the role of the mass media of communication. As we suggested there, it is probably impossible to accurately determine the full effects of the media on attitudes and behaviour. An attempt may be made to determine how much people retain the impressions they receive from the media. They may be asked their opinion as to the extent they believe the media have influenced their conduct, but they may in fact be mistaken in their assignment of causal significance. Controlled experimental studies of the effects of the media, under natural conditions, would be extremely difficult if not impossible to conduct, because of the obviously complex interaction of a multitude of seemingly uncontrollable factors which influence attitudes and behaviour.

A significant role of the media which must necessarily be regarded as having causal effect is to make something known that would not otherwise be known to the individual. Without knowledge of a thing there can be no curiosity or desire concerning it. Thus, an important question is the extent to which the media have introduced individuals to knowledge about drug use (and in particular, non-medical drug use) which they would not have otherwise obtained.

In its national surveysl the Commission attempted to determine the relative importance of the media as a source of first information about drugs. Of course, the fact that a person first learned about certain drugs from the media does not necessarily mean that he would not have eventually obtained equivalent information from other sources. The Commission's national adult survey (based on a sample of households) indicated that the media ranked in the following relative importance with friends and acquaintances as the source of first information about certain psychotropic drugs:


Drug From Media (%) From Friends and Acquaintances (% )
Hashish 58 8
68 7
62 10
47 6
Amphetamines 26 4
Barbiturates 37 6
Diet Pills 29 10
Solvents 53 9
Sleeping Pills 
34 11

It should be emphasized that the sample in the national survey of households was composed mainly of adults who would presumably have less contact than younger people with friends using drugs whose possession is prohibited. The Commission's surveys indicated that the media were less important for high school students as a source of first information about drugs. Among those high school students who had ever used drugs non-medically, 27 per cent first learned of drugs from the media, while 62 per cent first learned from their friends and acquaintances. Among the non-using student population, 43 per cent first heard of drugs through the media and 28 per cent from friends and acquaintances.2

A pilot study to attempt to determine some of the salient environmental influences which may affect drug use among the young was undertaken in 1970 in California by Dr. Donald L. Kanter,3 with special attention to the role that television advertising may play. In each of three phases of the study, 622 students from grades five, seven and eleven were asked to: a) recall the advertisements they remembered in their daily television viewing and radio listening; b) state their attitudes towards drugs and other related factors; c) view six advertisements, after which their general receptivity was studied.

In summary, the study found that advertising had very low salience among the students, when compared to other environmental influences. Most students felt that peer group influence and curiosity were more closely related to the first use of illegal drugs. The study also concluded that there is no indication that pharmaceutical advertisements were easier to recall than those of other heavily advertised products, although the students felt that advertising was a relatively strong influence on their feelings about medicine, but not about marijuana or other illicit drugs. The study noted, however, that fifth grade students tended to react most positively and least negatively towards advertisements for pharmaceuticals and cigarettes, and the same group ranked television programs as a relatively strong influence upon their general feelings and knowledge of marijuana and other illicit drugs, a fact which was not stated by the older students in the study group. The youngest students tended to find the pharmaceutical and cigarette advertising claims more believable than the older students.

A number of the students, especially those in grade seven, felt that the advertisements for stimulants and depressants could lead to misuse of the product, and users of marijuana and 'pep pills' seemed to be more receptive and less negative to the six advertisements than were the non-users.

Kanter concluded that while advertising is not, by itself, responsible for student behaviour towards drugs and other products, substances and activities, it is potentially an influencing agent, particularly on the youngest students. He suggests that advertising functions as a reinforcing element in the entire complex of drug attitudes among the young by implying, symbolically, to the users that: "Everyone turns on in his own way." This, he points out, might be an important rationalization for the furtive user. In summary, he suggests that "it may just be that pharmaceutical advertising is one more cultural prop in the maintenance of favourable attitudes towards drug usage among the young". It is, after all, the elementary school children who tend to be most receptive and least critical of advertisements.

The significance of any impact that advertising may have on youth in relation to non-medical drug use does not appear to lie in the direct effect of individual commercial messages. Rather it appears to flow, as with adults, from the recurrence of themes which suggest easy access to material objects for alteration of the physical or psychological functioning of the human body. This message, in turn, appears to reinforce a growing reliance on the biochemical development of substances capable of controlling such aspects of human functioning as sleep, response to tension or coping with fatigue.

Advertisers have not hesitated to use drug-related themes to promote their products in recent years. The use of psychedelic themes, visually or verbally, characterized a good deal of advertising during 1968 and 1969. However, by 1970, many advertisers were convinced that these themes were not making an impact for their products in the market-place and, to a large extent, they had abandoned them, recognizing that in order to be effective, advertising must choose the style appropriate to the audience.

There is no evidence of direct encouragement of illicit drug use in advertising, but there may be some indirect influence on the phenomenon through the emphasis that advertising places on quick and easy solutions to such everyday problems as headaches, stress, fatigue and interpersonal strains.

As we suggested earlier, there is little empirical evidence documenting the influence of advertising on the behaviour of those exposed to it, but it is not unreasonable to assume that there is some effect. Otherwise, the very large investment in advertising can only be described as wasteful and illogical. In 1970, for example, Canadian advertisers invested a total of approximately $330 million in radio, television, newspaper and magazine advertising.4 Of this amount, about $84 million, or 25 per cent, was spent on advertisements for alcohol, tobacco and over-the-counter pharmaceutical preparations.°

If the objective of social policy with respect to non-medical drug use is to reduce such use as much as possible, the question that presents itself is whether controls should be imposed on the advertising of drugs on the assumption that advertising encourages such use. The issue arises particularly with reference to the advertising of over-the-counter drugs, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco. Such advertising is thought to encourage a general climate of acceptance of and reliance on mood-modifying substances.

The jurisdiction to regulate advertising is an aspect of the jurisdiction to regulate trade and commerce, which is divided in Canada along the following general lines: the Parliament of Canada has exclusive jurisdiction with respect to trade and commerce which extends beyond the boundaries of a single province, and the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction with respect to trade and commerce which is confined to their respective territories. There is some overlapping in the federal and provincial jurisdictions, and in particular, federal jurisdiction extends to matters of intraprovincial trade and commerce the regulation of which is necessary to the effective exercise of federal jurisdiction over extraprovincial trade and commerce. (See Appendix F.1 The Constitutional Framework.) Conversely, enterprises carrying on extraprovincial trade and commerce are subject to a variety of provincial laws affecting the business which they carry on in a particular province. The Federal Parliament also has certain special bases for a regulation of advertising. It effectively controls advertising on radio and television in the exercise of its jurisdiction over these broadcasting media. It may also base the control of certain kinds of advertising on its criminal law power, in the interests of public morality, order, safety, health, and the prevention of fraud. The criminal law power affords a basis (in addition to regulation of trade and commerce) for controls over the advertising of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. The extent to which there is a corresponding or comparable provincial jurisdiction for the protection of health is not so clear, but it appears to be generally recognized that the provinces may restrict the availability of substances in the interests of health (see Appendix F.1) and that restrictions on advertising may be related to such a legislative purpose. Provincial restrictions on liquor advertising have been recognized as a valid aspect of liquor regulation, and provincial restrictions on the advertising of tobacco have been held to be valid as a regulation of local trade and commerce.°

The advertising of narcotics,' controlled drugs,8 and Schedule F prescription drugs° to the general public is prohibited. In effect, advertising of these drugs is confined to professional journals. Over-the-counter drugs and proprietary or patent medicines may be advertised to the general public, but subject to certain limitations. The Food and Drugs Act provides that no person shall advertise any drug to the general public as a treatment, preventative or cure for any of the diseases, disorders or abnormal physical states mentioned in a schedule to the Act.1° These include "anxiety state", "depression", "hypertension", and "hypotension". The Act further provides that no one shall advertise a drug in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety." The Act also provides that the Government may make regulations concerning the advertising of a drug "to prevent the consumer or purchaser thereof from being deceived or misled as to its quantity, character, value, composition, merit or safety or to prevent injury to the health of the consumer or purchaser... ."12 This suggests the nature of the matters with which the Government is to be concerned in its regulation of advertising.

The Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act" also contains provisions concerning the advertising of the substances covered by it. As with the provisions in the Food and Drugs Act they are chiefly concerned with truthfulness. A proprietary or patent medicine must not be claimed to be a cure for any disease, and any advertising of it must not contain any false, misleading or exaggerated claims."

The regulations of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission require that the advertising on radio and television of drugs which are governed by the Food and Drugs Act and the Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act must receive the prior approval of the Department of National Health and Welfare and a representative of the Commission.15 In the exercise of this review the Department of National Health and Welfare is chiefly concerned, in accordance with its legislative framework, with truthfulness and proper disclosure. It does not attempt to interfere with the general tone of such advertising, insofar as it may have a bearing on the general encouragement of drug use.

The issue arises as to whether there should be a stricter control exercised over the advertising of over-the-counter drugs and patent or proprietary medicines. Many of these products, such as analgesics, cough suppressants and antihistamines, serve a useful function. It is not practicable that they all be made subject to the requirement of prescription because of the additional expense and inconvenience that would be caused to consumers. So long as over-the-counter preparations serve a useful function, for example, in the relief of pain and allergy, it is desirable that accurate information concerning their uses and any dangers be made available to the public. There would be more harm than good in a lack of adequate information concerning these medications. On the other hand, much of the advertising of these substances, by its general tone, is calculated to encourage reliance on chemicals to relieve discomfort of various kinds. While a total prohibition of the advertising of such substances would not appear to be desirable, we recommend that the federal authorities be empowered and encouraged to exercise a closer control over the general tone of such advertising. It should be confined to a truthful, matter-of-fact description of the use of these substances, purely to advise people of their availability and not to encourage their use as such.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters is to be commended for their decision to ban all advertising of drugs, including proprietary medicines, to children."

The most significant advertising of drugs today is unquestionably that which is directed by pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors at the
medical profession. Until fairly recently, the Department of National Health and Welfare has not concerned itself particularly with such advertising, relying on the medical profession to monitor it for truthfulness. There has been no attempt to deal with the extent to which the volume and general tone of such advertising encourages prescribing by physicians and the total amount of drug consumption for medical purposes. There is evidence, however, that the Department is showing greater concern about this problem. The Department has noted that about 75 per cent of the drugs on the market were not available 15 years ago, and that about 50 per cent of the doctors practising today have graduated within this same period.17 The conclusion that is being drawn is that doctors are receiving most of their education in the use of drugs from the representatives of pharmaceutical manufacturers. In consequence, the Department has begun to make a much closer study of the advertising literature and practices of these companies. We recommend that effective controls be established over the nature and quantity of the advertising directed by pharmaceutical manufacturers and other distributors at the medical profession, including the use of samples. The Federal Government should take steps, in consultation with the pharmaceutical industry, to encourage a general reduction in this kind of promotion.

Generally, self-regulation is to be preferred to government regulation because it can adjust more flexibly and realistically to operating necessities. Matters of taste and general tone and emphasis cannot be dealt with effectively by formal rules. They call for the continuous exercise of judgment within a context of general criteria or guidelines. Some consultative mechanism should be established, involving representatives of government and industry, with the objective of developing an advertising climate that will avoid as much as possible encouraging reliance on drugs, whether for medical or non-medical use.

The general jurisdiction to regulate the advertising of alcoholic beverages is provincial as an aspect of the power to regulate the sale of such substances. The provinces have adopted provisions concerning liquor advertising which vary considerably in their restrictiveness. In New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island all such advertising originating in the province is prohibited. The other provinces permit such advertising in varying degrees. For a short time the province of British Columbia sought to prohibit virtually all such advertising, but it has returned to the former state of the law, under which liquor may be advertised in newspapers or periodicals, subject to prior approval of all such advertising by the Liquor Control Board. Outdoor advertising of liquor is forbidden, which is an example of the kind of provincial regulation designed to minimize the impact of such advertising on the young.

The Canadian Radio-Television Commission exercises control over the advertising of alcoholic beverages on radio and television. The regulations18 prohibit the advertising of spiritous or "hard" liquor altogether. They permit advertising of beer, wine or cider in any province in which the advertising of such substances is permitted by provincial law. Their advertising on radio and television is subject, however, to the following conditions, among others: the advertising must not be designed to promote the general use of beer, wine or cider, but this condition is not construed so as to prevent "industry, institutional, public service or brand preference advertising"; the advertisement must not exceed sixty seconds in duration; and it must be approved by a representative of the Commission prior to broadcast.19

The advertising of spiritous or 'hard' liquor appears to be heavily concentrated in certain periodicals. Indeed, an examination of such magazines indicates that a very significant proportion of their advertising revenue must be derived from advertising by distillers, most of which is in the form of full-page colour ads. Such advertising is chiefly of the brand preference type, although some of it carries overtones of the association of drinking with distinction of various kinds. Occasionally, there is advertising of a public service nature, as for example, an advertisement on the need to seek medical help for problem drinking. In one issue which carried this advertisement, however, there were several straightforward liquor advertisements by the same company. A ban on such advertising would undoubtedly have a very severe impact on the advertising revenues of such publications. The question is whether such advertising causes sufficient harm to warrant such a ban. The assumption on which such a ban would be based is that the harm caused by the excessive use of alcoholic beverages is such that we are justified in attempting to prevent any encouragement of their use as much as possible.

It is, of course, impossible to assess the extent to which such advertising encourages the use of alcohol. One can only assume from the investment that is made in it that it is at least considered by the advertisers to encourage brand preference. What other message the advertising may carry is far from clear. Certainly, it is highly attractive and subtly suggests the association of certain products with distinction and social prestige. On the other hand, its exposure to the young is presumably less than that of advertising on the broadcast media and that of various forms of outdoor advertising.

To be feasible a prohibition of such advertising would have to be introduced at the federal level. Because the periodicals which carry such advertisements are either national in scope or originate outside of Canada it is not feasible for individual provinces to consider such a prohibition.

It would be preferable if there were a total prohibition of liquor advertising but if this were not considered feasible because of the substantial amounts of advertising revenue involved, we recommend that advertisers of alcoholic beverages be required by federal law to include in their advertisements a warning of the dangers of excessive use (e.g., "Danger to your health increases with amount consumed") similar to that which is included in cigarette advertising. The text in such advertisements should also be confined to truthful, matter-of-fact description of the contents of the product and its .effects on the human body.

At the present time there is no federal regulation of the advertising of tobacco products, although there is some self-regulation by the industry. British Columbia is the only province that appears to have introduced any regulation of such advertising.

Bill C-248, for the enactment of a Cigarette Products Act, was introduced in the federal Parliament by the Minister of National Health and Welfare and given first reading in June 1971 but was later abandoned, presumably as a result of pressure from the cigarette manufacturers and their willingness to undertake a measure of self-regulation. Bill C-248 would have prohibited all advertising or "promotion" of cigarettes to the public except for identification of products at point of purchase. It would also have set limits on the amount of nicotine, tar, and other constituents which cigarette products could contain, and would have required that all cigarette packages carry a statement of the amount of such substances contained in the smoke of the cigarettes, as well as a warning in the following terms: WARNING: DANGER TO HEALTH INCREASES WITH AMOUNT SMOKED, AVOID INHALING. The Act would have come into force on January 1st, 1972.

The industry code for self-regulation, entitled "The Cigarette Advertising Code of the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council", took effect on this date. Unlike the Bill, it does not prohibit all cigarette advertising to the public, but only such advertising on radio and television. It requires that a warning in the following terms be clearly indicated on all cigarette packages: WARNING: THE DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE ADVISES THAT THE DANGER TO HEALTH INCREASES WITH THE AMOUNT SMOKED. The Code does not appear to require that such warning be carried in advertising, but in fact all cigarette ads in periodicals appear to carry it.

This may result in part from the fact that the regulations made under the Tobacco Products Act2° of British Columbia require that not only every cigarette package but every advertisement of cigarettes in the province must carry a warning in one of the following three forms:

WARNING: Cigarette smoking is harmful to you.
WARNING: The Department of National Health and Welfare advises that danger to health increases with amount smoked.
WARNING: The Surgeon General has determined that Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health.21

The third alternative is for the convenience of American advertisers.

The media in which the advertising of tobacco is permitted in British Columbia, subject to the foregoing condition concerning cigarettes, are newspapers, books, periodicals, programs, circulars, price-lists or letters, vending machines, and the premises of sellers. Any other form of outdoor advertising (such as billboard advertising) and advertising in the broadcasting media would appear to be prohibited.

In summary then, the advertising of cigarettes on radio and television in Canada is effectively prohibited in Canada, as a result of industry regulation, and all cigarette advertising must carry a warning of the dangers of smoking. The warning does not, however, as was originally contemplated by Bill C-248, caution against inhaling. The industry code contains a number of rules designed to reduce the impact of cigarette advertising on young people, including the use in such advertising of athletes, entertainers or other Personalities likely to have special appeal to children or adolescents. More generally, the Code stipulates that cigarette advertising should be of the brand preference type and should not state or imply that smoking "is essential to romance, prominence, success or personal advancement".

As with alcoholic beverages the issue is whether there should be a complete prohibition of such advertising. Once again, there would appear to be a significant reliance by periodicals (although not as great as in the case of liquor) on revenue from such advertising, and many of these periodicals originate outside the country. A total prohibition of all cigarette advertising would be preferable but if it is not considered feasible, for jurisdictional or other reasons, we would recommend, as in the case of alcoholic beverages, that the text in such advertising be confined to straight, matter-of-fact description of the contents of the product and its effects on the human body. Although we recognize that some protection is involved in the warning that is now voluntarily carried in such advertising by the tobacco industry, we recommend that it clearly convey the fact that the regular smoking of cigarettes, because of the dependence that develops, almost inevitably leads to the level of use that is dangerous. We further recommend that such warning be required as a matter of law by appropriate federal provision.

The advertising of certain hazardous products which may be used for purposes of intoxication, in particular volatile substances, is regulated by a federal statute, the Hazardous Products Act.22 The regulations made under the Act provide that certain volatile solvents shall not be advertised or sold unless the label on their container carries the required warning of the dangers involved in use. These warnings indicate that the vapour is harmful and that one should not breathe the fumes from the substance. There is little danger that such substances will be advertised or promoted for purposes of intoxication. The intervention of government is to require that labelling carry a suitable caution of the hazards incurred when they are used improperly.

At the same time, if the warnings were too explicit they could encourage such use by what the U.S. Consumers Union report Licit and Illicit Drugs has called the "lure of the warning".23

It is necessary now to consider the general effect of the media on nonmedical drug use, and in particular, the extent to which the media may have encouraged illicit drug use. It is impossible to be certain but it is reasonable to assume that the publicity given to certain aspects of illicit drug use has aroused an unhealthy interest in it. Certain of the media appear to have been involved in favourable references to illicit drug use and even overt encouragement of it. The media that have been particularly guilty of this have been FM "rock" music radio stations and the "underground" press.

Drug-oriented music may take one or both of two forms. Its lyrics may contain passages or expressions which can be taken as references to drug use, although this is at times a matter of interpretation. It may not reflect the original intent of the author of the song. The second form is not projected through the lyrics but through the music itself, which, it is claimed, often functions to enhance the effects of some forms of non-medical drug use.

The modern era of drug-oriented music began about 1963 with the appearance of two songs "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Walk Right In", which, it is said, were running allegories about marijuana intoxication. The most notable proliferation of this form of music began, however, in 1965, with the advent of "folk rock". Bob Dylan is generally regarded as the most significant pioneer of this form, with his song in that year "Mr. Tambourine Man", a song full of strange, new images which told the story of a drug user trying to buy drugs from a Greenwich Village trafficker.

As the use of psychedelic drugs increased both in North America and England over the following two years, more explicitly drug-oriented "rock" songs appeared. In "Rainy Day Woman", Dylan himself decreed unambiguously that "everybody must get stoned". The Rolling Stones portrayed one kind of drug experience in "Get Off of My Cloud", and publicized the "housewife syndrome" in a later song that dubbed the "little yellow (amphetamine) pill", "Mother's Little Helper". The Mothers of Invention satirized the growing use of drugs in middle-class America in their album Freakout. The English singer Donovan wrote "Mellow Yellow", the product of a rumour in circulation at the time that the insides of banana skins, properly prepared, would induce a drug-like 'high'.

The interrelationship of rock music with drug use was not confined to lyrics and double entendre references. A basic quality of the drug experience —distortion of time and spatial perception—was being captured in new styles of a ranging instrumentation. Increasing electronic sophistication made it possible, for example, to "twist and bend" the sounds from an electronically amplified guitar out of all recognition.

In 1966 rock music groups who produced while under the influence of psychedelic drugs became prominent. The first track of a production by Country Joe and the Fish was "Flying High", a description of the musicians' adventures during an LSD experience. On the West Coast of the United States, such groups as The Grateful Dead, who admitted to consuming large quantities of LSD before performances, The Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company produced drug-oriented music, which became known to its devotees as "acid rock". The Beatles, perhaps the most popular and widely known musical group of the 1960s, produced an album entitled Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, about the same time in which there were numerous allusions to drug use and drug-oriented images.

Throughout the period until 1969, some rock music groups proselytized for drug use, some were indifferent, and some like Steppenwolf, portrayed the `pusher' in terms of severe condemnation, while allowing for the relative harmlessness of "pills and smoke". Throughout 1970 drug themes in rock music began to lose their prominence, and a change became evident by late 1970 after Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, two of the most prominent artists of the 1960s, died suddenly. Shortly after their deaths there began to appear a number of rock productions warning the young of the dangers of nonmedical drug use. Some productions painted frightening images of the addict and his needle. Others expressed a disillusionment with the creative value of hallucinogenic drugs—for example, the following lines by John Lennon of the Beatles:

I seen through junkies I been through it all,

I seen religion from Jesus to Paul,

Don't let them fool you with dope and cocaine,

Can't do you no harm to feel your own pain

I found out !

The Canadian Radio-Television Commission does not specifically provide for the control of music associated with drug use. Nor are there indications that the broadcast industry itself would welcome such an intervention. A number of FM rock radio program directors that were interviewed said they drew the line at outright endorsement of drug use from any quarter and said they would be prepared to change their attitudes if it could be proven to them that drug-oriented music did in fact lead young people to drug use.24

The "underground" or "alternate" press now publishes in a number of cities across Canada. Editorially speaking, most "underground" papers are positively oriented to the recreational use of drugs. There has always been a basic consensus in the "underground" press that certain drugs have valuable properties and that the existence and enforcement of federal laws concerning drug use are unethical and unacceptable. References to the drug experience find their way, without apology, into reporting, features and entertainment of every kind appearing in these publications. The degree to which this editorial policy may influence the non-medical use of drugs by the readership of the "underground" press is difficult to ascertain. No readership surveys have been carried out in Canada but in the late 1960s such a survey was carried out by the East Village Other, a major "underground" publication in the United States. This survey showed that 98 per cent of the readership of this publication had tried marijuana at least once and 77 per cent had tried LSD. Interpretation of these findings is difficult, since it cannot be ascertained whether this drug use was encouraged by the editorial posture of the publication, or whether the publication had a special appeal for readers who had already used these drugs. Although the editors of these publications assert that their readership expects to find in the "underground" press the ultimate confirmation of ideas to which they already cling, it must be recognized that as early as 1968 in Canada the "underground" press was proselytizing indiscriminately on behalf of hallucinogenic drug use. The early history of these publications in North America is marked by a high degree of defiance of the present drug laws, and of curiosity and uncritical acceptance in relation to many types of drug use.

By the spring of 1971 the preoccupation with non-medical drug use appeared to have diminished. Analysis of successive issues of American "underground" publications showed a progressive diminution in the space being devoted to this subject. There also appeared to have been a qualitative change. Stories on the morality of drug use were giving way in Canadian "underground" publications to advice and discussion intended to provide practical information to young drug-using readers. One widely syndicated column, written by a California physician, provided information about the side effects and dangers of well-known and more obscure drugs. More space was being devoted to the dangers of heroin and amphetamine use, and wide discussion was given to those rock artists who had recently expressed their disillusionment with the value of LSD. In Canada, one West Coast "underground" publication ran a highly revealing feature by Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver during 1970. In the article, Cleaver delivered a scathing denunciation of LSD and of Dr. Timothy Leary, the so-called high priest of psychedelics, for being what he described as death-inspired and counter-revolutionary. The trend of "underground" publications in Canada in 1971 was described by one Commission researcher as follows:

Drugs have not ceased to provide an orientation or a rallying point, but the realization has developed that an alternative social order cannot be founded on their use alone.'

The question arises as to whether the law should specifically prohibit acts which encourage illicit drug use or exploit it as a dominant theme. French law makes it a criminal offence to incite a person to commit drug offences or to portray them in a favourable light." Counselling or aiding and abetting a criminal offence, such as trafficking or simple possession, is presently covered by the Criminal Code of Canada. (See Appendix F.4 Applicable Provisions of the Criminal Code.) There is no necessity to create a special offence applicable to drug use to cover such conduct. The question arises as to whether there should be an offence, similar to that of obscenity, consisting in the undue exploitation of illicit drug use. Our experience with the law of obscenity, which has given rise to critical re-examination, suggests that it would be unwise to create a new offence of this character. Direct, overt encouragement of conduct which is presently an offence under the drug laws is the matter of principal concern in this general area and is adequately covered by the offence of counselling.27

1. C. M. Lanphier & S. B. Phillips, "The Non-Medical Use of Drugs and Associated Attitudes: A National Household Survey," "Secondary School Students and Non-Medical Drug Use: A National Survey of Students Enrolled in Grades Seven through Thirteen," and "University Students and Non-Medical Drug Use: A National Survey," Unpublished Commission Research Projects, 1971.
2. Studies conducted for the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario support our own findings that users and non-users differ in the sources of information about drugs that are regarded by them as most important. The media were an important source of information for both groups, but whereas it was the most important for non-users, it was outranked, in the case of users, by reliance on friends and their own experience. See R. G. Smart & D. Fejer, "Most Influential Source of Drug Information and Extent of Drug Use," Unpublished manuscript, Project H-130, Substudy 44-7-71, Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto, 1971; R. G. Smart, "Age and Sex Differences in the Most Influential Source of Drug Information," Unpublished manuscript, Project H-217, Substudy 43-7-71, Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto, 1971; and R. G. Smart & D. Fejer, "Credibility of Sources of Drug Information for High School Students," Unpublished manuscript, Project H-130, Substudy 7-7 & Jo-71, Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto, 1971.
3. D. L. Kanter, "Pharmaceutical Advertising and Youth," Coronado, California: Coronado Unified School District, 1970.
4. Elliott Research Corporation Limited, "National Expenditures," in Marketing, March 22, 1971, p. 41 and "Radio T.V. Expenditure," in Marketing, March 1, 1971, p. 12.
5. Ibid.
6. Benson and Hedges (Canada) et al v. Attorney General of British Columbia.
[1972] 5 W.W.R. 3 (B.C. Sup. Ct. Hinkson J.), which upheld the validity of a provision in the Government Liquor Act of British Columbia prohibiting certain forms of liquor advertising and the Tobacco Advertising Restraint Act of British Columbia, which prohibited certain forms of tobacco advertising in the province. Both of these legislative provisions have since been replaced by less restrictive measures, and the decision of the Supreme Court was not appealed, but it contains a useful review of the issues and the authorities.
7. Narcotic Control Regulations, section 50.
8. Food and Drug Regulations, G.01.007.
9. Food and Drug Regulations, C.01.044. Such a drug may be advertised to the general public if it is in a form not suitable for human consumption and is clearly indicated as such.
10. Section 3.
11. Section 9.
12. Section 25.
13. R.S.C. 1970, c. P-25.
14. Section 8.
15. Section 11 of the AM Radio, FM Radio and Television Broadcasting Regulations of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission. The Canada Gazette P II, Vol. 98, pp. 163, 649 and Vol. 93, p. 1198.
16. In May 1973 the Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children, which is an industry code for self-regulation, was amended to include the following provision: "Drugs, proprietary medicines, and vitamins in liquid, powdered or tablet form must not be advertised to children." This Code, which supplements the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, also developed by the Association for self-regulation, applies to "commercial messages broadcast specifically to children under 13, whether on children's or adult programmes".
17. Dr. A. B. Morrison, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of National Health and Welfare, Health Protection Branch, Personal communication to the Commission, May 2, 1973.
18. Section 10 of the AM Radio, FM Radio and Television Broadcasting Regulations of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission. The Canada Gazette P II, Vol. 98, pp. 162 and 648; Vol. 93, p. 1198 as amended by S.O.R. 71-558, 24 September 1971.
19. Pre-broadcast approval is given by a Committee of three (called "The Beer and Wine Committee"), composed of one representative from the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC), one from the Ontario Liquor Control Board and one from the Quebec Liquor Permit Control Commission. The Committee decides in accordance with published guidelines established by the CRTC. These guidelines provide in part as follows:
1. The main criterion in the approval of scripts is adherence to standards of good taste.
2. Advertising shall not
(a) encourage the general consumption of the product, nor should it attempt to influence non-drinkers to drink;
(b) be associated with youth or youth symbols;
(c) attempt to establish a certain product as a status symbol, a necessity for the enjoyment of life, or an escape from life's problems;
(d) show persons engaged in any activity in which the consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
20. Stat. B.C. 1972 (2nd Session), c. 13.
21. Tobacco Products Regulations, adopted November 2, 1972. Order in Council No. 3941 dated 2 Nov. 1972.
22. R.S.C. 1970, c. H-3.
23. E. M. Brecher & the Editors of Consumer Reports, Licit and Illicit Drugs: The Consumers Union Report on Narcotics, Stimulants, Depressants, Inhalants, Hallucinogens and Marijuana—Including Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol, (Boston: Little, Brown, 1972), p. 323.
24. J. David, "The Role of Rock Music and the Underground Press in Relation to the Non-Medical Use of Drugs," Unpublished Commission research paper, 1971.
25. Ibid.
26. Loi n° 70-1320 du 31 decembre 1970, art. 630.
27. See R. v. McLeod and Georgia Straight Publishing Ltd., 12 C.R.N.S. 193 (B.C.C.A.) in which the offence of counselling was applied against an "underground" paper for encouraging the cultivation of marijuana.

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