smodVisitors to the ochlophobia-inducing chain store tourist trap otherwise known as Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade were treated to an unexpected shock this past weekend: cordoned off behind police tape, amongst the panhandlers, breakdancers, pitch-challenged buskers, overly agressive Greenpeace petitioners and (our personal favorite) the silver-painted robot dude, lay the body of a seemingly o.d.’d dead kid, clutching a spilled-open bottle of prescription pills.

Was it a crime scene? A hoax? A piece of performance art? According to the SM Mirror, it was an “educational demonstration” meant to highlight the growing scourge of teen drug abuse:

Though many were disturbed, the demonstration was not meant to offend, but to create buzz around adolescent prescription medication abuse — a rising epidemic that has been overlooked by the general public.

According to educational packets handed out at the event, three million American teenagers will become new prescription drug abusers this year alone.

Noble as that may sound, the truth is a little less high-minded. The gruesome spectacle was actually a brazenly blatant bit of product promotion:

The prescription drug abuse reenactment was presented by The Locking Cap, which is a combination-locking lid for Rx bottles.

(Kinda like a miniature version of those Ben & Jerry pint lid carton locks, except, you know, for pills).

Is it worth exploiting kids in manipulative fashion and giving unwitting Santa Monica visitors heart attacks merely to sell a product? You be the judge: video of the event is up on YouTube. And poor taste aside, The Locking Cap does seem pretty nifty: even if you don’t have kids, you can use it to protect the sanctity of your medicine cabinet Vicodin stash the next time you have a dinner party.

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