Pubdate: Sun, 26 Mar 2000
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2000, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Contact:  #250, 4990-92 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T6B 3A1 Canada
Fax: (780) 468-0139
Author: D. L. Herchek
Note: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor


RECENT ARTICLES alleging an epidemic of crack cocaine use in our schools
were indeed alarming. I almost choked on my cornflakes and milk. I suspect
that many others were also alarmed. Perhaps they need not be, given the
source. Although we need to recognize and be concerned that drugs (including
crack) are readily available in our schools and that some students do (and
will) use and/or experiment with them, I suggest that the only real epidemic
is the one concerning Dr. Pagliaro's ego. Apparently, despite having earned
all sorts of important university degrees, Dr. Pagliaro continues to make
alarming and absurd claims.

Why do I say this?  In the mid-1990s, while attending the University of
Alberta, I had the luck (good or bad) to sit in on one of Pagliaro's
lectures on drug abuse. After spending the first half of his lecture
explaining how accomplished and important he was, Pagliaro stated that a
full tractor-trailer load of cocaine was being consumed in Edmonton every
month. This equated to many tonnes of cocaine. His claim seemed absurd.

I challenged him on this point and was quickly chastised in front of my
peers for having the audacity to even question his expertise. So much for
intellectual debate or scientific proof. Dr. Pagliaro's "tonnes of cocaine
per month" claim also seemed absurd to the RCMP drug squad head who I spoke
to concerning the issue.

It seems that every man, woman and child in the Edmonton metro area would
have to be hooked on cocaine in order to market a tractor-trailer load of
cocaine every month. Maybe "a few hundred pounds per month," stated the RCMP
drug expert. Oh well, what do I know, I'm only a lowly teacher.

D.L. Herchek

(We stand by the stories but you raise an interesting point about Dr.
Pagliaro, which we encourage him to respond to.)
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