Choose to use causes outrage

Parents and newspapers are going bonkers over an educational drug pamphlet (pictured here) put out by the Sydney West Area Health Service (SWAHS). A pamphlet they say encourages drug use because it advises readers of some precautions to take should they choose to experiment with drugs.

It’s wrong. It shouldn’t be encouraging the kids to do drugs. I’m shocked that it doesn’t tell them not to be doing drugs. Instead it sends kids a message saying, ‘Here’s how to do it’.‘ – Parent

Ummmmm. We could pretend for a second that teaching teenagers to say No to drugs is working wonders, but anyone who doesn’t mind a cold dose of reality will know that just isn’t the case. Take a look at this survey of Victorian school students from 2005 (PDF) for example.

Meanwhile, SWAHS had this to say:

The resources emphasise that ideally no young person will turn to drug use and one key message is the best way to keep your head together is not to use drugs at all.

But studies consistently demonstrate the majority of young people will experiment with and use alcohol or other drugs at some time.

Many of them do so without adequate awareness of the impact on their mental and physical health.

Luckily, NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher doesn’t listen to reason. She’s now pulled the leaflet from distribution and says all other drug education material for young people will be reviewed.

…the reference to what young people should choose to do if they ignore anti-drug advice or information is simply not acceptable.

Smart, Reba.

Read it for yourself here.