Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 2004
Source: Free Lance-Star, The (VA)
Copyright: 2004 The Free Lance-Star
Author: Stephen Heath


Regarding the Jan. 7 letter, "Keep yourself drug-free; don't try

The letter-writer's intention to demonize marijuana rests on a couple
of very shaky presumptions, but leads to good advice regardless.

First, kids shouldn't spend time "walking down dark alleys." And if
you ignore this first counsel, and a "hooded man" attempts to sell you
something, just say no.

It's urgent that we provide our young people with accurate and good
information about the very real dangers of drug abuse. Silly scare
stories like this are why so many young people ignore truly good
advice from adults and other authority figures.

Imagine a young person who is told that a "single whiff" of marijuana
will "get you hooked." They then compare this with the reality of pot
use by other teens or by observing the millions of adults who use
marijuana responsibly.

When they realize the first advice was such a bogus lie, they are then
inclined to reject all advice on drugs, even the truthful kind. The
results can be disastrous.

Perhaps a more honest and productive approach would be to teach
responsible use of drugs and abstaining from those drugs that might be
easily abused, such as alcohol and tobacco. But that takes more honest
communication than a simple scare story.

Stephen Heath

Clearwater, Fla.
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