The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently launched a new website called “Get Smart About Drugs,” the goal of which is to increase awareness of drug use amongst kids. Among the statistics and resources on the site is a list of potential “hiding places” where kids might be stashing their drugs, including inside teddy bears, highlighters, graphing calculators, video game consoles, and alarm clocks. It’s a bizarre, tone-deaf list. And it didn’t take long for Twitter users to swoop in and start roasting the DEA for it.
Most went after the teddy bear because it sounds like a place where someone might store drugs in a very special (and poorly written) episode of Degrassi. But many also noted that the DEA seemed to have just picked a random series of items that might be found in a teenager’s room. There’s no real reasoning behind it.
In addition to making us think that the DEA takes all its leads from ’90s sitcom cliches, the list does bring up some questions about how the government will approach the “War on Drugs” under Trump. Chuck Rosenberg, who was appointed by Obama in 2015, was kept on as the acting head of the DEA, but Rosenberg also claimed that marijuana cannot be considered a “safe and effective medicine.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Trump appointee, is extremely outspoken in his support for the War on Drugs and is reportedly hoping to reverse the Obama-era policy to not charge low-level drug offenders with crimes that would trigger a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Is this new website a sign of Trump’s plans to re-escalate the War on Drugs to Reagan-era heights or just a misguided attempt by the DEA to help parents keep their kids off drugs? It’s too early to say anything definitively, but maybe cracking down on teddy bears isn’t the first step to ending our nation’s drug problem.