Film: 5841

Medicine | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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Public information film about the dangers of drugs and narcotics set in a USA classroom 1970's

Sanford J. Feinglass PhD. Director, the centre for Drug information, research and education, California State College, Hayward.

Feinglass (a stocky man who speaks in a constant monotone) sits at a desk at the front of the class. The above titles can be seen at the top and bottom of the screen. Camera pans in for medium close up. Pan around the class. There is a mix of races and ages. Most of the men wear suits. The women are dressed in brightly coloured clothing in 60's/early 70's styles. Close up on Feinglass. Writing on the blackboard can be seen behind him. He stands and gestures to the blackboard. Column of writing headed "DEPRESSANTS". There is a list: 1. Alcohol, 2.Barbiturates, 3.Narcotics, 4.Minor Tranquillisers. He writes examples of each type of drug next to the subheadings in different coloured chalk. The class takes notes. Feinglass talks about the effects of each and writes them on the board in different chalk. He talks about tolerance and addiction. Man in brown suit and Ronnie Barker spectacles asks a question. Feinglass talks about the relative seriousness of alcohol addiction as compared to the other drugs in this group. He discusses withdrawal from each type of drug. Woman with large grey hair and an orange jacket asks if alcohol is really a stimulant (errrm good question?). Feinglass answers in the negative.

Feinglass walks across to a second column of chalk writing headed "STIMULANTS". The list consists of 1.Puriries, 2.Amphetamines, 3.Cocaine, 4.Others. Again, he writes examples where appropriate. He talks about the effects of each. Class takes notes. Young woman with almost-bouffant hair asks a question about the degree of cocaine use in the USA. Feinglass replies that the problem is more serious in the UK, where cocaine abuse is a tradition (?). Black man with a Tom Selleck moustache asks if amphetamines are addictive. Feinglass doesn't know.

Feinglass moves across to where a third set of drugs are listed, under the heading "PSYCHOTOMIMETIC": 1.LSD, 2.Mescaline, STP, MDA,
3.Psilocybin, 4.DMT, DET, DPT, 5.Bufotenine.
This classification means that the drugs mimic psychoses. They have previously been known as psychedelic (mind manifesting) drugs. This group is now more commonly known as hallucinogenic. He writes the origin of each drug in green chalk (eg. From mushrooms, fungus, artificially produced etc). Audience watch. He warns that the drugs may induce psychotic episodes. He talks about the possible effects on unborn children and offspring: TERATOGENESIS and MUTOGENESIS. Drug could adversely affect chromosomes, or could enter the foetus' blood supply and cause damage to development. Woman in red asks about the suicide rate in users of this group. Feinglass is vague. Black man asks about LSD flashbacks. Close up on Feinglass as he answers.

Feinglass turns to blackboard and writes a sub-category of drugs. These do not have their primary effect on the brain, but can have some effect if taken in large enough quantities. These are: tobacco, atropine and scopolamine. Close up on the words on the board. Feinglass goes back to the "STIMULANTS" and "DEPRESSANTS" section of the board. He writes "marijuana" in between these categories as this drug has features in common with both. Feinglass discusses these features. Audience takes notes.

He talks about dosage in relation to the effects of each drug. He writes DOSE and SET on the board. By the latter he means the mind set, expectations and mood of the user in relation to the effect of the drug taken. He writes SETTING (similar point to previous). He writes INTEGRITY by which he means the quality and purity of drugs purchased on the illegal market. Close up on man in audience asking if marijuana is a narcotic. Feinglass insists that it isn't (although his arguments seem quite out-dated ?). Feinglass talks about cross-tolerance among narcotics. Young black woman asks which drugs cause psychological dependence. Man with spectacles asks why alcohol should not be mixed with barbiturates. Feinglass explains "Additive effect". Class look thoughtful.

Feinglass steps away from the board to offer a review of the things he has covered so far. Feinglass steps out of shot. Camera pans across the board. Feinglass steps back in to shot and asks rhetorical questions about the nature of addiction, and drug addicts. Close up on Feinglass. End Credits.

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