The cartoons we grew up on were about men in fur underwear wielding magic swords. We didn't expect them to teach us a lot about real-world problems. But either because of political pressures during the Reagan administration, or as a way to cover the fact that they were aggressively high while making it, many of them felt the need to include at least one anti-drug episode. These were exactly as informative as you'd expect.
He-Man -- "Hypocrisy and Violence Are Fine (As Long As You Win)!"
Cartoons had two choices when portraying drug addicts: turn one of the main characters into an idiot or import one specifically to hook them on drugs. The creators of He-Man chose the second option harder than they get when they see shirtless men. Enter Teela's friend Illeena, who is weaker than natural selection in John and Kate's house and even more annoying to watch. Illena is visiting, and while everyone on Eternia has a stupid superpower, Illeena skips the middle man and sets about proving that stupidity can be its own superpower. Her first words are, "Are we there yet?" after the ship has already landed. We soon learn that her defense against minefields, magic spells and meeting friends is to sit down and whine.
She's also the noble for whom a boob tube would be formal wear.
You'd cheer anything which changed her personality, up to and including decapitation. An evil wizard agrees and gets her hooked on a magic potion. He-Man, who secretly hides from his friends to inject magic strength-boosting power into his body with a pointy metal implement at least once every 27 minutes, disapproves. He also forcibly injects a friend against their will so that they can have a better time together, making him the Titanic Team-Up version of date rape.
Not pictured: consent.
He couldn't have been more hypocritical if he'd started campaigning against fur and public nudity, and his brilliant plan is to call the dealer and start a fight. WARNING: THIS ONLY WORKS IF YOU'RE ACTUALLY HE-MAN. Having defeated evil magic and common sense, He-Man then dares logic to kill him by staring directly at the camera and saying there's no such thing as a magic solution to all your problems.
Fortunately, irony bounces off He-Man like lasers and homoerotic subtext.
Galaxy High -- "Winners TOTALLY Do Drugs!"
In Galaxy High, aliens sent people to high school instead of anally probing them. Of course, if you're the sort of person who fondly remembers Galaxy High, high school probably seems like the worse fate. This episode mocks both jocks and drugs, which is bad news for Doyle, a jock who takes drugs. The alien "Brain Blaster" drugstitute can make you brilliant at any one thing but criminally retarded at everything else.
What drugs looked like in 80s cartoons.
The Brain Blaster is dealt by Punk McThrust, the best porno name ever accidentally given to a cartoon character. It reduces Doyle from idiot to criminal bum in about 15 minutes. Doyle then becomes convinced he needs one last hit to play in the Psyche Hockey Championship. Fortunately, his friends rescue him, throw away the Blaster, tell him to believe in himself and he finds that inside him all along was the power to have his ass handed to him in public. He is absolutely destroyed. No one has lost a public sporting event so humiliatingly since Spain entered healthy basketballers in the 2000 Paralympics.
But it magically works out when his opponent is revealed to be using a Brain Blaster, just like Doyle wanted to. Everyone in the championship was either on drugs or sucked. There is absolutely no middle ground. Winners DO Take Drugs -- it's just that they get caught and punished.
At no point is being on drugs anything less than fantastic -- it's only not being able to afford the drugs or being caught that suck. When addicts would agree with your anti-drug episode it may have a few problems. Fortunately, kids were quickly cued into the fact that this space cartoon doesn't cohere to real life since athletes actually surrender their awards and go to jail when caught.
Via 80s Cartoons.net
Anything to get them away from that audience.