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Morgan Freeman, Richard Branson take to YouTube to oppose the war on drugs

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Next week, the U.K.’s Sundog Pictures will release its documentary film Breaking The Taboo on YouTube (s GOOG), months before the film is scheduled to air on traditional TV. Breaking the Taboo is a film with a message, opposing the war on drugs, and it features a powerful lineup: The movie is being narrated by Morgan Freeman and features testimony by Bill Clinton as well as Jimmy Carter.

Sundog has been using short clips featuring billionaire Richard Branson, actress Kate Winslet, actor Gael Garcia Bernal and rapper Dizzie Rascal to draw attention to it ahead of its online release.

The strategy seems to be working: The official Breaking The Taboo YouTube channel has clocked more than 300,000 views since its launch on November 16. But why would Sundog release the entire film for free on YouTube ahead of its TV broadcast? I got in touch with the company to find out, and a spokesperson sent me the following response:

“We have decided to go with a YouTube release as the important thing for us as a company is not monetary gain but raising awareness and spreading the word on global issues — we aim to educate and inspire people and we can do that best through a free, social medium like YouTube where so many more people will be able to access it.”

The movie will be available for free for one month starting December 7. It is part of a larger campaign to change drug policy that has attracted support from a variety of people including Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox, Napster co-founder Sean Parker and Sting.

10 Responses to “Morgan Freeman, Richard Branson take to YouTube to oppose the war on drugs”

  1. DrugWardefender

    look, the drug war is good. drugs are bad! why are you all doing drugs and for drug dealers? I don’t like bad things. Let’s fight criminals! More money to drug war and we’ll win it, just a little more. I’m so close to winning it, I know I didn’t win it last time and the time before that and all, but just give us a chance, you’ll see! with more money, we can fight the drug war! It’s not addicted to money at all, it just needs a lot of money. Come on, I’m desperate for drug war money! Help me! (cries).

    • You really don’t need our money, do you? It’s so easy to raise! Just buy and sell drugs,use the money to buy and sell arms. then you’ll have plenty to fight these criminals.

  2. Eventually, we will all look back on this drug war like we now look back at that other drug war on alcohol called prohibition. When it comes to that other addictive and destructive drug, alcohol, we now realize that the problems caused by making it illegal far outweigh the problems associated solely with its use. Indeed, there are few problems associated with alcohol’s use. It is the misuse of alcohol, or more specifically, the misuse of alcohol coupled with a risk of harm to others, that now stands as the lone major problem with alcohol. Many people peacefully and responsibly use alcohol with no risk of harm to others. There are no alcohol cartels, no violence associated with the manufacture, transportation or sale of alcohol, and nobody goes to prison for its mere possession. Society was much improved when the war on alcohol was ended. The war on drugs will also end. Politicians who show real leadership by supporting its end now will benefit. This is all good. However, until we realize that the best reason to end the drug war is because competent adults are entitled to be in charge of their own bodies and lives, we will never truly achieve a free society.

  3. @Tim: there are heroin addicts in the UK who get their drugs free from the govt, and in fact lead otherwise normal lives, holding jobs, paying taxes, and raising families. Think about it: which would you rather pay for: $40K+/year per prisoner to imprison them, or maybe $400/yr for their drugs. And imprisoning cannabis users is just absurd.

    • I question your comment about “…leading otherwise normal lives”. I think that is in the vast minority. If you have been around addicts you know that an addicted person often prioritizes their “high” above all other responsibilities and many drugs incapacitate their users during this high. This is statistically and medically proven. It’s hard enough to be a good parent sober much less when incapacitated.

  4. I do agree that the war on drugs is on some levels a waste of resources. I personally don’t care if people want to consume drugs, BUT I believe that if they do, society has no obligation to pay for their rehabilitation and/or treatment. They brought it on themselves so that’s their responsibility.

    • I agree with you Tim with the exception that children of parents who may have to be afforded special care. The probelm with drugs isn’t that it only affects the users…but the kids of those users. Perhaps if we pour all our resources into providing shelter, care, and safety to those affected most by the use of drugs (legal or othewise) the problem won’t span generations like it does today. In the end we may have to forcibly take these children from their drug addicted/negligent parents.

  5. Steve Ardire

    And you can thank the voters of Washington State and Colorado for saying war on drugs is a failure and showing the way on recreational use of marijuana. Hope other states wake up !

    After 40 years, ‘drug war’ still a failure – The Hill’s Congress Blog Norm Stamper 34-year veteran police officer who retired as Seattle’s chief of police in 2000