Marijuana Education.

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by sammysamurai, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. sammysamurai

    sammysamurai New Member

    Why does it seem like all the people that 'legally' educated us about marijuana or other drugs never seemed to have ever experienced the effects first hand. All our teachers are 'grown-ups' and the dare officers are 'cops.' Those are the good guys and know the truth, right?

    Well in reality the children and new users of our nation are being educated about the real truth about drugs by the people that they buy them from. Most people buy their drugs from a friend or relative; the drug game does not feel sketchy like the movies make it seem. You are out there talkin to kids your age and people years apart, it doesn't matter.

    What if we could remedy this by educating our youth early on about the real truth about drugs from a trustworthy 'official' source.

    So what I'm asking, is will this idea be more effective in all positive directions leading to the eventual leng-term legalization of marijuana?
  2. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    Because it would be illegal for them to have done so? You can't hope to get unbiased "official" drug education as long as the drugs are illegal. What are they going to say, "Marijuana is great stuff, but don't use it because it's against the law"? That would be pretty ineffective.

    Unfortunately, the dealers are probably pretty ignorant and have a bias towards making drugs sound completely innocuous. What are they going to say, "This stuff is a lot of fun but it kills off millions of brain cells every time you use it"?

    There are excellent sources of information about drugs that have much more credibility than the people who are profiting by selling them. This web site is one, but it's only about marijuana. I think that the best source of straight information about drugs is the book From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs by Winifred Rosen and Andrew Weill.
  3. sammysamurai

    sammysamurai New Member


    According to friend (winthrope the French exchange student): Alcohol is legal here and we don't abuse it. You only hear about binge drinking in america, it's unheard of back home.

    I believe I made the observation that truthful education about drugs (in all their forms) at earlier ages and from a trusted individual leads to safer and therefore more responsible use.

    So I'm asking, could this be good for the legalization effort of mj (if we could hypothetically legally educate our nation's youth in a fashion similar to europe)?
  4. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    You'd have a hard time with that on any kind of organized basis. This would be the obvious thing after legalization, but before legalization you'd run into the problem of the perception of people advocating the use of illegal substances, simply by telling the truth about them. Schools couldn't do it - parents wouldn't allow it.

    Parents do it at their own risk. When the cop who teaches D.A.R.E. tells little Johnny how dangerous pot is and Johnny comes back and tells him that Mommy and Daddy say pot is OK, it might well have unwanted consequences.
  5. nacrypt

    nacrypt New Member

    This has an interesting connection to something we've been discussion on another thread.

    Most of what is taught in school is factual, think mathematics, physical science, biology, history, geography, etc... But when it comes to drugs, teaching the actual facts is impossible, for reasons Buzzby correctly mentioned. In an environment like school, where information is presented in as fact, students are supposed to accept it as truth. This works pretty well for many subjects but with drugs it fall flat. The problem is that the prohibition of drugs is a political phenomenon and has nothing to do with scientifically decernable facts.

    The DARE program seeks to instill in people the notion that drugs are bad. When people try marijuana and discover it is not nearly as bad as DARE propaganda protrays it, it undermines the credibility of the entire education system. Basically, if they lie about drugs, what else are they lying about?

    The worst part about DARE is at the core of its strategy is fear. It tries to make people afraid of drugs. Some drugs are pretty scary if you are an addict (herion and cocaine for example) but some drugs, like marijuana are rather benign. In order to instill fear more effectively, anti-drug propaganda (like DARE) regularly overstates the dangers of certain drugs and group all drugs together as equally bad. Since using the drugs themselves is illegal it is impossible to challenge any of the information within the context of the school (like you could with in physics with an experiment for example).
  6. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    Unless, of course, you live in Kansas...

    History is problematic, too, the way it's taught in public schools, because they don't bother to tell you that there are differences of opinion and the winners always get to write the history.

    One of my biggest revelations in college was a seminar in which we studied all the original sources about an historical event (The Persian Wars) and each person in the seminar had to write a mini-thesis about the dynamics of that event. Each paper had to take a different approach, each paper had to fully support its position, and each paper had to refute the positions of all the other papers.

    It was truly a mind-blower about the nature of academia. Our schools should teach us never to accept the truth of a single source, but most people have a hard time coping with all the ambiguity that the world presents if you're really paying attention.
  7. sammysamurai

    sammysamurai New Member

    Everyone learns about drugs at some point in their life. Let this person be a newcomer to the 'drug underworld' defined as someone who first encounters a recreational drug in it's authentic physical form, is going to think back and remember their previous education on that drug. Therefore, the best thing for a newcomer is to have learned as much honest education in the past as possible. There are two ways to educate someone about something, on a personal level (talking to them) and on a public level (such as advertising). I brainstormed a list of places/situations in which people currently learn about drugs:

    Personal: parents/relatives, friends (peers), school (in a classroom), and 'dealers'
    Public: the media, religious affiliation, government policy

    It's being shown that truth campaigns (as with tobacco) are effective in making long term changes to public and government policy. Why is this? Because it's important everyone to know the absolute truth the moment they make the choice to try a drug. That is the one moment in every living person's lives that tests their level of responsibility with respect to drug education. Shouldn't it be logical then that as a nation we should focus realistic efforts towards educating that someone out there before they become a user? The solution seems like it should be a combination of public education (like DARE, but not propaganda) and controlled availability in the form of proof of one's level of responsibility (such as a drivers licence or being 21).

    Our current system allows for the existance of a 'dealer':simply someone giving another access to drugs. This 'dealer' can be regulated by government policy (as in an id check for someone buying alcohol or tobacco) if the availability of a drug is controlled. Prohibition on a national level causes the availability of a given drug to be uncontrolled which allows for an unregulated market that cares nothing about one's education or level of responsibility. This market exists because of supply and demand, despite government policy.

    Here is how I would describe a possible 'education schedule' for an average current american:

    Years old
    0-4: under the care of parents, possibly in preschool or church.
    5-13: Enters public school, drugs are at some time introduced in a classroom setting and described as 'bad'
    14-18: Highschool, a more intesive classroom education. Many are also learning about drugs from other sources by now.
    18-20: Perhaps in college, smoking is now legal. Drug education is now almost gone in the classroom and people are left to do as they please.
    21: Alcohol now available. I see this as a good point to set on alcohol, as it is a dangerous at younger ages. Having alcohol legally available only to people outside of public schooling has been effective in keeping it's availablity low to minors.

    The important point from this chart is that legal/public drug education one a personal level ceases after age 17.

    And here's a legalality schedule for drug availability:
    1-17: Tobacco and alcohol are legally unavailable.
    18: Tobacco is now legally available from regulated 'dealers'.
    21: Alcohol is now legally available from regulated 'dealers'.
    *other drugs such as marijuana are never legally available.

    The important point from this chart is that 'dealers' of other drugs are not legally regulated for selling drugs to people of age 1-17.

    I am thankful to have been educated truthfully about drugs before ever trying one. Before I tried any drugs, I educated myself about the raw consequences of that drug's use, and made an educated decision as to whether to try it or not. By 18, tobacco was available to me but i choose to not use it as i knew it's true effects. Alcohol had never been available to me as a minor, and to my peers it was much less common than illegal drugs. Our current drug problem as a nation stems from the fact that not enough people are exposed to drugs in a way similar to me.

    We claim that as responsible educated Americans we have the right to liberty. But isnt liberty the right and power to act, believe, and express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing? My point is that everyone is a newcomer to drugs at some time in their lives, shouldnt it be our responsibility as not just Americans, but as fellow humans to give everyone a proper education about drugs before they succomb to a personal drug problem.

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