‘The Drug Avengers’ Are Here To Save The Future From The Past’s Pot-Smoking Ways
If you went to school in the late '80s and early '90s, chances are pretty high that you saw a lot of anti-drug propaganda. I know I did, but one of the ones that I somehow managed to dodge during D.A.R.E. sessions was 1988's The Drug Avengers.
Fortunately, the good people over at Everything Is Terrible, a site dedicated to plundering and preserving the weirdest offerings of the VHS era, has rescued the show from obscurity. And it's a good thing, too, because without the knowledge that drug use on Earth was keeping humanity from being allowed to join an intergalactic federation of planets, I might not have had the resolve to just say no.
Produced in 1988 under a grant from the Department of Education, Drug Avengers actually won a contest for its creativity. That might seem a little surprising, considering that it hits the same notes that a lot of similar PSAs did, with advice on how to stand up to peer pressure and a stern reminder for the frustratingly stupid children of the '80s that told them not to shove pills into their mouths if they find them laying around on the street.
But that creativity definitely comes through in the premise, which finds the entire planet Earth being banned from acceptance by aliens because humanity has become a bunch of potheads, which essentially makes this thing the Anti-Dune. In order to sort things out and keep Earth from being wiped out, Madame Space President apparently decides to send a bunch of random pre-teens back to solve the entire planet's drug problem by themselves. And for some reason she sends them back to do this in 1988.
It might sound weird, but when you get right down to it, it's basically the anti-drug version of Mass Effect.
I can't speak to how effective this was in keeping kids off drugs -- which, now that I think of it, isn't really "Avenging" -- but I will say that the part where the kid gets a six-pack of beer, a pack of cigarettes and a back of chocolate chip cookies so that he can make himself feel better the way
freelance writers adults do is pretty genius.