I had the most interesting guest speaker yesterday. I was, quite frankly, shocked. In CALM (Career and Life Management [10 wk course required to graduate]), they have different public educators come to speak to us from charitable organizations and agencies. Yesterday was someone from AADAC- Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. I was figuring the DARE routine- and for the most part it was. We went through the steps of addiction: No use, Experimental use, Social use, Misuse, Abuse, and Dependancy.
Think about where you are from- where do you think the majority of teenagers fall? In Texas, I would say those who were "druggies" fell under abuse, and those who weren't were no use, or rare experimental. In Calgary, most are experimental or social. There are extremes both ways of course, but most lie in the middle ground. It's not just the druggies that do drugs here, it's a large part of the student population.
The counselor supported this, saying most of the community estimated misuse, but stats show it's really experimental or social. What blew me away is she said this was good news, because it meant most of our generation was using drugs "responsibly."
I was like, "WHAT?" Since when is ANY use of drugs responsible??? Honestly, I am amazed that someone who works for a government agency would have that mentality towards something that is illegal for most (alcohol) or all (drugs) of the student population. Throughout the presentation, it was implied that if you are familiar with the drug so as to not overdose, and keep a healthy balance between drugs/alcohol and your previous interests (family, school, friends, music, sports, etc) it's acting responsibly.
What she fails to take into account is that when you are high or drunk, your senses are dulled. You could drive drunk once, and end your life or the life of another. You could get hooked: 90% of first time meth users get addicted, and only 3% of those 90% recover. After that, you will eventually come into financial issues, drug trafficking/other illegal activity, or hurt those who love you. People overdose. People get raped. People loose their futures. Today a speaker who dealt with sexually exploited youth made a point that the highest-risk areas for abusers to locate victims were areas where drugs and alcohol are usually found- parties, raves, clubs, even pool halls were mentioned. She said that they looked for youth with a low self-esteem. The AADAC lady said that people who "abuse" substances lower their self-esteem. How can a government-run agency teach people who the other agency ends up helping?
Not to mention, illegal is illegal. Who cares if you're drinking responsibly if you're 17? The government doesn't. There are laws for a reason, and though you may not see the benefit of them yourself or blatantly disagree with them, as citizens we must respect them. Imagine if people each followed their own laws. If a psychopath murdered someone, all he would have to do is say he doesn't believe murder is wrong, and he would get off.
My point is, the level of addiction for high school students will not reduce to no use until they are taught it is wrong. Although the speaker never went as far as to commend casual use over no use, little attention was paid to the fact that it was possible to resist the temptation and practice self-control. When parents allow their children to drink under their supervision and educators allow "responsible" use, they are creating a future who holds no respect for the law, others around them, and furthermore, no respect for their own bodies.