Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

`Just Say No' Falls Short of Curbing Drug Use

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

`Just Say No' Falls Short of Curbing Drug Use

Article excerpt

The article "After Years of Decline, Drug Use by Youth Again on the Rise," Feb. 3, underscores the failure of drug education.

In a laudable effort to stop kids from taking drugs, drug-education programs are not being forthright about what drugs actually do. There is much emphasis on "just saying no," and while peer pressure is certainly a factor in why young people might turn to drugs, drug-education programs do not fully address the substantive appeal of drugs.

Drug-education programs need to inform kids that drugs mask and seem to take away emotional pain, and that is what makes drugs so appealing to users, rather than increased status among peers. To a kid who perceives such benefits, the message that drugs are harmful will not ring true. The fundamental lack of honesty about the stress-relieving, pleasure-inducing effects of drugs is the main reason that drug education is not accomplishing its goals. I'd like the message to say: Yes, drugs feel good and take away pain ... for a while. But you don't need to be dependent on an external, harmful substance to relieve stress. There are other ways to bring joy back into your lives. Nicky Hardenbergh, Manchester, Mass. Should Congress play TV cop?

In the opinion-page article "Will `Indecency' Cops Retire?" Jan. 20, the author - who deplores Congress's attempt to purge indecency from radio and television - seems unable to grasp the need for high standards and principles by which to pattern our lives and set goals for ourselves.

She writes: "In a free society, the people, not the government, make choices and set standards." But members of Congress are responding favorably to the people, polls, hearings, and to their constituents - this is the American government in action. I fail to see how the American Civil Liberties Union's stand is helpful to our country and our citizens. …

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