L.A. Health Department Taps Will.i.am for Anti-Drug PSAs
Last June, Los Angeles county funded an event known as the Electric Daisy Carnival — essentially a big rave that turned disastrous when Sasha Rodriguez, a 15-year old girl, died of an ecstasy overdose in the party’s aftermath. Now, the city’s Department of Health, which is already very low on funds, has tapped pop star will.i.am and dance artist Kaskade for a series of PSAs against ecstasy and drug use in general.
“The PSA will include harm reduction messages by major electronic music talents, including Kaskade, and will.i.am,” director Jonathan Fielding wrote to LA Weekly. “DPH will encourage promoters to broadcast the PSA at the event and online through their websites and other relevant social networking sites, and will work to get online ticket outlets to show the PSA at the point of purchase.”
According to reports, the Daisy Carnival brought on over 200 medical emergencies and yielded nearly 60 drug arrests. The Department of Health hopes to target users at raves while they occur and is banking that the star power of the ads will create a cheap, widespread form of viral marketing that reaches partygoers throughout the state.
While ecstasy and rave culture were certainly more widespread in the late 1980s and ’90s, the drug is even more dangerously impure than it once was. T.I.’s recent arrest that culminated with his return to prison partially stemmed from ecstasy usage and possession during a bust that occurred in Los Angeles.