A retailer in California is selling shirts which appear to promote, celebrate or at least trivialize the problem of prescription drug abuse. Kitson stores are marketing t-shirts that resemble football jerseys, but instead of a player’s name on the back they bear the names of the prescription drugs most often abused by American teens.
Xanax, Adderall and Vicodin are among the drugs features on these high-priced fashions, which may be crossing the line of responsible advertising say experts.
Kitson had pledged to donate a portion of the profits from shirt sales to the Medicine Abuse Project which is part of Drugfree.org. However, a statement from Drugfree.org said that not only have they not received any money, they “would not entertain any direct donation from Kitson while they flagrantly, and without remorse, continue to sell these products.”
Style’s Poor Taste
The shirts are marketed on their website with the gimmick line, “Pop one on and you’ll feel better. Doctors orders.” The clothing’s designer has stated that his intent is to start an important dialog between people on the subject of prescription drug abuse. Drugfree.org isn’t buying it and encouraged readers to share their opinions with Kitson on that company’s Facebook page.
It didn’t take long for the Kitson page to fill with negative comments pillorying the company for mocking such a serious problem and hoping to profit from it as well. But it wasn’t only a concerned citizenry who is crying foul here. The makers of these drugs are also taking the company to task.
Prescription Drug Maker’s Disapproval
Representatives from the makers of Xanax (Pfizer) and Adderall (Reps Shire) made public statements challenging Kitson’s right to make use of drug trademarks. Both companies denounced glorifying prescription drug abuse and separated themselves from marketing such apparel to youth. In addition, both companies threatened legal action if the clothing line is not shut down. Makers of Vicodin have not made public statements, but it is rumored that they too will pursue legal action against Kitson.
Whether or not Kitson ever donates a penny to Drugfree.org remains to be seen, but it is actually besides the point. The real question is whether there are any safe boundaries when it comes to fashionable drug promotion. We already know there are none in terms of drug abuse.