The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a message for young people: Instead of doing drugs, you should focus on becoming an Instagram influencer.
The federal agency is promoting tips on how to get a “natural high” as an alternative to drugs, sharing what it says are “7 Better Highs” such as becoming famous on Instagram, playing video games and going to a pet store to look at animals.
Explore 7 activities to get a natural high that doesn't involve drugs. From creative expression to outdoor adventures, these activities can give you a natural high that lasts. #TipTuesday
Learn more: https://t.co/7Un7WD0N0K pic.twitter.com/VoIimvaWfl
— DEA HQ (@DEAHQ) July 11, 2023
Some of the suggestions are fairly standard like hiking, playing sports and visiting an amusement park. But DEA—which is also known for its attempts to decode emojis that it claims are used to buy drugs—has a few recommendations that are off the beaten path.
“It’s fun to post pics on Instagram and also see what your friends are doing on the app. But if you took it a little bit more seriously, you could take over the world and become a young trendsetter,” the post on DEA’s teen-focused Just Think Twice site says.
“OK, so even if you can’t become rich and famous from the app, if you take really awesome pictures you can gain a decent following while showing off your skills,” it says.
The irony of DEA’s blog post is that most of the activities the agency lists as alternatives to getting high are exactly the same types of endeavors that many people use cannabis to enhance the experience of, including going to amusement parks, playing video games and creating music.
“Don’t let boredom be one of the reasons you try drugs,” the agency says, as it recommends video games—an activity that a 2021 survey found 54 percent of gamers perform while using cannabis.
“Do you want to take a little escape from reality altogether?” it asks, without a hint of irony. “Playing video games is an awesome way to do so.”
DEA also said that learning to sing could be a natural high.
“Be honest. Does your family cringe whenever you (try to) sing along with your favorite songs on the radio?” it asked. “You know what you can do? Learn how to sing by taking voice lessons on YouTube! After a while, you may surprise yourself, and others, by getting really good. Either way, the challenge is a fun way to occupy a lot of your time.”
“Who needs to do drugs? All of these activities can give you a natural high,” it concludes.
Meanwhile, DEA celebrated its 50th anniversary last week—marking a half century of enforcing criminalization laws that have failed to fulfill the mission to eradicate drugs at the same time that nearly half of the country has legalized marijuana and psychedelics reform is also booming.
DEA is also being actively tasked with looking at the science of cannabis and reaching a decision about whether to remove it from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) under a directive issued by President Joe Biden last year.
Last year, DEA’s own museum publicly recognized the fact that racially discriminatory drug laws are partly responsible for the agency’s own founding.