Dear Dr. Regina Benjamin: OPEN LETTER TO SURGEON GENERAL
We have heard you speak at the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) and you are impressive. Here is something you can do right now, for global and American Public Health. Something you MUST do right now (along with whatever else is being done).
Summary: Blitz campaign: COUNTRIES COLLAPSE FROM CARTEL CONTROL — Americans can save Central America: Just STOP BUYING COCAINE — NOW
Rationale: We just heard the story on NPR this am (you can go online and listen: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/30/136690257/mexican-cartels-spread-violence-to-central-america) about the violent, horrible situation in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and all over Central America, due to the powerful drug cartels who are so rich (from Americans buying cocaine) that they are taking over whole countries with fleets of planes, guns, helicopter and submarines They are destabilizing whole regions, which are in danger of collapse. This is not new, but is worsening fast. The segment ended with this: what Americans need to do is: STOP BUYING COCAINE.
With the ingenuity of today’s advertising and film companies, you can script 20 – 30 second powerful ad(s), with mandatory TV and radio time for airing countrywide, showing innocent children, ranchers, government workers, police, politicians and traveling Americans being kidnapped, terrorized, decapitated (yes, that was in the story), brutally, violently beaten or killed into submission and slavery.
Have a competition for the most convincing ones – not a plea to stop hurting ourselves by buying cocaine, but to save these countries and regions (indeed the world) from total chaos – to make the ignored connection that this is not just a personal decision to use or not use drugs, but a serious, worldwide unjust evil that is ruining the citizenry of whole countries and putting innocents to torture and death. These mini-dramas must be graphic and emotional.
During the planning phase, the intent should be publicized by the airwaves the ad will eventually run on, so that there is building anticipation. There should be versions for Spanish TV and radio.
Once the ads are scripted and filmed, they should be shown in a blitz all over the country, utilizing the airwaves (which BELONG to us CITIZENS), and which legitimately can be conscripted for such an undertaking. Then shown again and again, until we see the statistics go down – which we will, because advertising works. It needs to be a long-term, unending campaign, since the cartels’ resources are so much greater than ours. After it is ensconced here, it should spread, in Spanish, to the very countries involved. This is really a cultural issue, and must be addressed as such; so that it’s no longer “cool”, but evil and blatantly destructive.
This is one way to save these regions, and ourselves, short of waging all-out war with American armed forces, which doesn’t seem likely or successful. We realize there are many counter-drug forces presently at work – but whatever we’re doing, it’s not working.
Please implement this. It’s eminently logical, and will be effective. You’ll have celebrities falling all over themselves to be involved in the project. If it doesn’t work, at least we will have tried.
Pepi Granat, MD
Raul R. Cuadrado, DrPH
Office of the Surgeon General
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857