A Collection of '80s "Rock Against Drugs" PSAs, Featuring Lou Reed


Lou Reed may have written what is arguably the best drug song of all time with “Heroin,” but by the 1980s he’d gotten clean. This much we knew. We were not, however, aware that Reed had made an anti-drug PSA until Dangerous Minds pointed us to a brief, odd clip he did for a late-’80s campaign called Rock Against Drugs (RAD). The spots, which also included everyone from Belinda Carlisle and Sex Pistol Steve Jones to Bon Jovi and Phil Collins, aired largely on MTV and pushed the message that you could still be a bad-ass without taking illegal substances. Watch Reed’s ad and a slew of other entertaining/vaguely educational RAD clips after the jump.

Lou Reed

Who needs chemicals when you can get high on the pixellated face of Lou Reed repeating, “Drugs. I stopped. You shouldn’t start,” against a driving, electronic beat?

Belinda Carlisle

The erstwhile Go-Go got sick of drugs, so she quit. And now, life’s a beach where oversize menswear is de rigeur. It’s that simple!

Steve Jones

“Drugs suck” because they killed Steve Jones’s Sex Pistols band mate, Sid Vicious. Okay. We don’t have anything snarky to say about that. But what’s with the gratuitous motorcycle porn?

Sheena Easton

Easton, apparently, didn’t have any personal experience to draw on, but she would like to remind you to “be yourself” — because doing drugs is just like wearing bad hair extensions…

Bon Jovi

You can tell he’s serious because he goes “off-script” and slurs it to you straight — and is wearing a giant, fearsome tooth around his neck!

Vince Neil

“I still party with the best of ’em, but now I do it clean,” a motorcycle-riding Vince Neil tells us. Update: The Mötley Crüe frontman has since been to rehab enough times to conclude that it doesn’t work. He plead guilty to DUI charges earlier this year, but still maintains that he hasn’t done illegal drugs in over two decades. See, kids? “Clean” living can be fun!


Stay off drugs and you can be cool like Phil Collins!

Gene Simmons

The KISS frontman goes the conspiracy theory route.

Siedah Garrett

Some rap against crack from a one-time Plush and Brand New Heavies member best known for her duet with Michael Jackson on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and co-writing some songs for the film version of Dreamgirls.

And finally, here’s the inevitable MacGyver tie-in episode.