Organization seeks to educate about porn

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A new drug is taking over: porn. Clay Olsen, chief executive officer and co-founder of the non-profit organization Fight the New Drug, spoke about what some call a very taboo subject.

“If you forget everything that we talked about tonight, I hope that [you] can at least leave this room…[understanding] that pornography is harmful and that research can prove it,” Olsen said.

Olsen helped created Fight the New Drug because he believes that porn harms in three ways. It impacts the brain, the heart and society.

“Pornography can not only be addictive, it can really mess up our relationships, kill love and it can harm our society,” Olsen said.

According to fightthenewdrug.org, pornography affects the brain exactly like tobacco and other drugs. Porn and drugs interact with the “reward pathway” that makes you feel good. This can actually alter the way the brain works and affect an individual’s behavior.

The “heart” side of the talk was about relationships. Olsen said “porn kills love” during his presentation. In fact, Fight the New Drug believes that this point is so important, they started a whole social media campaign around it. Many men and women are tweeting pictures of themselves in their “Porn Kills Love” merchandise to help spread awareness.

“Porn alters a lot of people’s opinions about love, intimacy and healthy sexuality. It’s really impacting families and relationships across the border,” Olsen said.

The last harmful effect Olsen talked about was how porn impacts society. Olsen made a connection between the sex trafficking industry and the porn industry.

“What we don’t realize in our culture and in our society is that [the sex trafficking industry and the porn industry] are one in the same,” Olsen said. “We get e-mail after e-mail from individuals that used to be in the industry, people who produced the material, telling us what’s really going on.”

Olsen then showed a video about a woman who found herself in the porn industry. She talked about how she used to be drugged by her pornographer then forced to make it look consensual. When Olsen asked the audience how the video made them feel, one man in the audience responded, “speechless.”

Throughout the night, Olsen referred to history. He often brought up the tobacco industry. In the past, people thought smoking was harmless. However, in this day and age, we know that cigarettes cause a multitude of health problems. Olsen brought this up to illustrate that it’s not insane to think Fight the New Drug could have the same effect on society for the porn industry.

“We have a unique approach,” Olsen said. “We’re not trying to limit the supply [of porn.] We’re not trying to take down the industry. That’s not our game. We’re just trying to get the facts, and let people choose for themselves.”

Educating people is very important because of the abundance of pornography found in modern day media.

“[Our generation is] dealing with this [issue] to an intensity and scale that no other generation has had to deal with,” Olsen said. “That’s why we’re talking about this today and we weren’t talking about this twenty years ago.”

Logan Van Iperen, freshman computer science major, thinks that informing people about pornography is very important.

“In all honesty, it’s a topic that needs to be brought up more in common society,” Van Iperen said. “The speaker made it very clear that it’s a common problem. It’s something that everyone has experienced in one way, shape, or form.”

Erin Gullickson, a junior Pharmacy major, got a lot out of the presentation.  “I thought [Olsen] was a really good speaker. I think that he represents a really good organization. I liked what he had to say,” Gullickson said. “I thought [the presentation] was really interesting. They had a lot of good research and facts. There was a lot of stuff I didn’t know.”