Pubdate: Tue, 30 Apr 2002
Source: Daily Star, The (NY)
Copyright: 2002 The Daily Star
Author: Alexandra Meyerson


While I appreciate the concerns of Ms. Longtin as expressed in her 
April 26 letter, I strongly disagree that information about 
potentially harmful drugs should be kept from young people.

Teen-agers are almost never fooled or dissuaded when adults try to 
shield them from things, and many if not most already have Internet 
access to a wealth of information that may be true, misleading or 
outright lies.

Those young people who are tempted to experiment with drugs and have 
not been given truthful information are likely to be afraid to ask 
and are extremely vulnerable to accidental overdoses or contagious 

The only way to avoid more tragedies like the overdose death of 
Phillip Conklin is to be thoroughly open and honest with the young 
people in our communities and our lives. This discussion must include 
facts on the potential harm of all dangerous drugs including alcohol 
and tobacco, acknowledgment of the difference between use and abuse, 
strategies for drug abstinence and increasing the safety of drug 
experimentation. Teen-agers who are told half-truths or given blanket 
"just say no" messages quickly grow distrustful and do not learn to 
make safe, informed decisions.

Truthful education is working to reduce tobacco smoking by young 
people. Please don't let ingrained fear of other substances keep it 
from working to reduce abuse and overdoses of other potentially 
dangerous substances.

Alexandra Meyerson, Bayside
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