Drug abuse prevention starts with the youth, and the current approach to drug education is ineffective for many reasons which I will outline.
Kids aren’t stupid…
One of the biggest problems with drug education in schools is that it speaks to kids as if they’re stupid. Making bold statements like, “a guy took LSD and turned to a cup of orange juice that was afraid he would spill if he moved,” or showing horrific images with the caption “this is your brain on ecstasy.” This is garden variety propaganda, while this may have worked in the 80’s. However, the internet has evolved. Kids now have access to the facts about these substances through various websites.
Furthermore, when a friend of theirs takes ecstasy and is still functioning normally, even though he supposedly has massive holes in his brain, it makes kids wonder. Making a single claim that can’t be backed up with facts can discredit an entire message. Effective education for drug abuse prevention starts with showing kids respect by giving them the facts regarding each substance.
Kids are going to get high…
Drug abuse prevention is never going to effectively prevent kids from using drugs. However, it can prevent kids between abusing drugs. What’s the difference? It’s simple. Alcohol is a drug which can either be used responsibly or it can be abused. Responsible use of alcohol comes from knowing the dangers of alcohol consumption. Things like lowered inhibition, reduced physical coordination, organ toxicity, etc. lead to a list of general safe practices.
In sex education, promiscuous behavior was demonized with pictures of various STD’s. At the same time, we were taught safe practices because teachers were under the assumption we all would have sex at some point. With so many kids trying some type of drug at some point, why should drug education be any different?
Drug education is focused on demonizing every substance rather than truly educating kids how to use substances responsibly. For example, LSD is commonly laced with research chemicals and it’s impossible to truly know your dose which can cause negative repercussions. However, if you still choose to take LSD you should obtain it from a trusted source, be in a safe setting, and be in a good mindset for harm prevention.
When you’re honest with kids by teaching them harm reduction rather than focusing on demonizing every drug out there you will build trust. This trust will be valuable when you speak on more harmful substances. If you’re thorough about the effects, consequences, and safe practices in using less harmful substances like marijuana, shrooms, ecstasy, etc. then when you bring up more dangerous compounds like meth, heroin, GHB, etc. they’ll be more likely to listen.
Why is there only a emphasis on the extremely improbable prevention of drug use with little to no emphasis on harm reduction?
Teachers don’t know what they’re talking about…
One of the biggest problems with drug education is it’s taught by teachers that don’t have or can’t share personal experiences with drugs. Sure many of them smoked pot at some point in their life, but they can’t openly disclose that with the classroom. Many teachers haven’t experienced drugs like methamphetamine or heroin, and again, they couldn’t disclose that even if they had. Because of this, teachers are like puppets that can’t be real with a classroom regarding substance abuse. This cause a major lack in the depth and realness to their message. Effective drug education would include inviting former addicts to openly share their story with the classroom and answer any questions students may have honestly and thoroughly.
If you or a loved one’s struggling with drug addiction feel free to reach out to me for support:
Philip – 9723724046
Feel free to checkout our YouTube channel for objective drug education information from a former addict!
Philip Markoff (Associate of Science) is an online influencer and thought leader on addiction education; he is known as his alias “CG Kid” who’s obtained a large audience primarily on YouTube as a vlogger and journalist. His current sobriety date from polysubstance chemical dependency is June 9th, 2013.