Fight the New Drug
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|Founders||Clay Olsen, Ryan Werner, Cameron Lee, Beau Lewis|
|Slogan||Porn Kills Love.|
|Mission||Raising awareness of the potential harmful effects of pornography|
Fight the New Drug (FTND) is an American anti-pornography 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 2009. It focuses on raising awareness on what they consider the harmful effects of pornography. They are primarily known for billboard campaigns saying that "porn kills love" and selective citation of research studies, which are contested by mainstream scientists. The group was founded and is headed by Mormons but claims a non-religious identity and motivation.
Fight the New Drug defines itself as "pro healthy sex and anti-pornography." Its mission is to raise awareness on its findings, as well as to share the anecdotes of those who have been negatively affected by pornography, especially within their (romantic) relationships.
The organization uses personal accounts, summaries of scientific research and social commentary to inform its target audience of youth, particularly millennials. It does not seek to ban pornography or make it illegal, or argue against its use through moral or theological arguments, but to influence youth to cease consuming pornography through education and awareness. The organization promotes the results of peer-reviewed scientific studies which show changes in the brain of an individual when viewing pornographic material, though the selected studies have been contested.
In May 2015, actor Terry Crews posted a picture on his social media channels promoting Fight the New Drug and wearing the organization's popular "Porn Kills Love" T-shirt. Crews has publicly supported Fight the New Drug in other social media posts since.
On August 19, 2016, Fight the New Drug released a world exclusive interview with Elizabeth Smart. Smart spoke in-depth for the first time about the role pornography played in her abduction and abuse, which is largely held as one of the most widely covered child abduction cases of the century. Speaking about pornography's role in her abuse, she said in the interview: "It just led to him raping me more, more than he already did — which was a lot. ... I can't say that he would not have gone out and kidnapped me had he not looked at pornography. All I know is that pornography made my living hell worse." The video, originally released on Fight the New Drug's YouTube channel, quickly went viral and became a trending topic on Facebook. The video was picked up by NBC News, Daily Mail, Us Weekly, Deseret News, and several other local news outlets.
A series of three oped's was publish in the Salt Lake Tribune in October 2016 which exposed controversy about Fight the New Drug.
The series started when Salt Lake Tribune published, "Op-ed: Utah students need real sex ed, not ‘Fight the New Drug" written by four certified sex therapists; Natasha Helfer Parker, Kristin Hodson, Kristin Marie Bennion and Shannon Hickman on October 1, 2016. The authors expressed concern over Fight the New Drug presenting material in public school districts in the state of Utah without soliciting approval of the school board or parents, and over the material presented claiming that it was neither comprehensive or accurate. Parker, Hodson, Bennion and Hickman wrote that their objections were due to Fight the New Drug's leaders and presenters not being mental health nor sexuality professionals, and accused Fight the New Drug of not having sufficient training in sexuality or human development to be addressing the subjects they were presenting. The authors wrote that, "Claiming that pornography affects the brain 'like a drug' and that 'cutting back can lead to withdrawal symptoms' is false." The authors argued that a "sex/porn addiction" diagnosis does not exist in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) because such a diagnosis was specifically rejected for lack of scientific evidence. The authors also disagreed with Fight the New Drug not having been put through "a rigorous process to get approved" as sex educators and sex-ed curriculums in Utah usually are.
Fight the New Drug leaders; Clay Olsen, Gary Wilson, Jill Manning, Candice Christiansen and Donald Hilton responded to these criticisms with, "Op-ed: Utah students need real sex ed and ‘Fight the New Drug" which was published in Salt Lake Tribune on October 11, 2016. Fight the New Drug wrote that Parker, Hodson, Bennion and Hickman had misrepresented their work. In their rebuttal Fight the New Drug stated that they have, "...never attempted to provide, substitute or circumvent sex education curricula in schools." Fight the New Drug also stated that, "In addition to being grounded in hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, the content of various FTND school and community presentations gets regularly reviewed, updated and approved by a team of therapists and researchers to ensure it is age-appropriate for different audiences." Fight the New Drug also described several studies which they claimed "confirm the addictive potential of pornography".
Salt Lake Tribune published "Op-ed: Anti-porn school program misrepresents science" on December 12, 2016 written by; Nicole Prause, Ph.D., James Pfaus, Ph.D., Sara Blaine, Ph.D., Janniko Georgiadis, Ph.D., Paul Kieffaber, Ph.D., Erick Janssen, Ph.D., James Cantor, Ph.D., and Heather Hoffmann, Ph.D. The authors stated that they were writing to express concern to, "... the supposed neuroscientific backing of a sex education program from Fight The New Drug (FTND). Based on our expertise in neuroscience and clinical psychology, we find that FTND is systematically misrepresenting science." The authors also wrote that Fight the New Drug had disregarded the scientific method, and that the studies described by Fight the New Drug were not only not rigorous, but also biased. The authors stated that, "There is extensive evidence showing that the hypothesis that pornography use is universally harmful is false."
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- Cauterucci, Christina (2016-04-20). "Utah Declares Porn a "Public Health Crisis," Furthering a Mormon Myth About Porn Addiction". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
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- "Instagram photo by Elaine Bradley • Jul 23, 2015 at 4:16pm UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
- Petersen, Sarah. "Neon Trees represent BYU, Fight the New Drug on 'Late Night with Seth Meyers'". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
- Hickman, Natasha Helfer Parker, Kristin Hodson, Kristin Marie Bennion And Shannon. "Op-ed: Utah students need real sex ed, not 'Fight the New Drug'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
- Hilton, Clay Olsen, Gary Wilson, Jill Manning, Candice Christiansen And Donald. "Op-ed: Utah students need real sex ed and 'Fight the New Drug'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Hoffmann, Nicole Prause, James Pfaus, Sara Blaine, Janniko Georgiadis, Paul Kieffaber, Erick Janssen, James Cantor And Heather. "Op-ed: Anti-porn school program misrepresents science". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2017-04-03.