Roundtables are where we basically just sit and chat. Today the HVNGRY writers talk about their thoughts on drugs, and drug education.
Pepper: We’re not open enough about the reality of drugs with teenagers. It’s very easy to say “Drugs are bad, don’t do them, this is what can happen to you”, but we need to acknowledge that many teens are going to use drugs in their life time. Sharing the effects, proper dosages, and likelihood of serious consequences with teens is likely to be a more effective way of promoting a healthy life, than trying to scare them away with horror stories. Most teens are aware that marijuana’s actual effects/consequences are much lower than the picture adults tend to paint for them, so they will assume that what they hear about other drugs may not be accurate as well. By being honest and open about the truth of these substances, we can prevent serious damage from occurring due to plain ignorance or doubt.
Kathy: Harm minimisation education is, imo, better than abstinence education. For pretty much everything, including drugs. So using harm minimisation philosophy for education means giving real, honest information about drugs, and saying “if you do happen to do drugs (which we aren’t advocating, just acknowledging it’s a possibility), here’s how to take care of yourself/ your friends to make sure any potential harm from the drugs is minimised as much as possible”. I think this especially means kids should know how to get help, and that it’s safe to get help and a way better idea than waiting for things to go bad. I guess what I’m trying to say is drug education = yay good! But we need more for teens, and it needs to be more honest.
Natasha: We need drug education, but it needs to be factual and not propaganda. Does anyone remember methcon? A guy came to my high school and just scaremongered! I was not impressed. I was thinking of writing an article about drugs but its hard to do it without looking like you’re advocating them…
Pepper: I don’t discourage drug usage because I philosophically believe the certain drugs can be beneficial to some people in the right mindset and setting. However, I am not going to suggest that people try these drugs. I think the best way to communicate about them is to point out the positive and negatives in your perspective, the scientific facts, and also speak from your experience. Non-scientific people who talk about drug usage (but have never tried them), I find to be a bit hard to believe.
ALSO: It is hard to make blanket statements about drugs because each one and each person is different.
Natasha: Yeah. I mean I am of the standpoint that certain drugs are fine in moderation. I like some drugs a whole lot. But I don’t want to take the flack for being the one encouraging someone’s teenage kid to try acid you know? I cannot stand nonscientific people trying to lecture others on drugs they’ve never tried.
Unless it’s meth… Then… You know…