Pubdate: Sat, 29 Apr 2000
Source: Blade, The (OH)
Copyright: 2000 The Blade.
Contact:  541 North Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660
Author: Jim White


If honesty is the best policy, then I can't in good conscience lie to
my children about drugs. The Office of National Drug Control policy
and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America encourage parents to talk
to their children about drugs. However, when I visited their
respective sites on the Internet, I found some of the information was
less than accurate. Some of it is based on what I call the "reefer
madness'' mindset.

While I used marijuana as a teenager and young adult, I don't consider
those times a "waste'' or a "mistake.'' While it could be called
"youthful indiscretion,'' I certainly wouldn't call it the worst time
of my life. Nor would I say that it destroyed my friendships or family

So when I talk to my children about marijuana and other drugs, I will
attempt to give them the best available scientific information that I
can. I will tell them about my experiences with some of those drugs
and the possibilities of the dangers presented by them.

The truth is that all drugs, whether or not they are legal, present
dangers, but they also present benefits. I cannot ignore the benefits,
nor the dangers, because my decision must take into account all
available information, not just that of one side. If my children are
to make the decision to experiment with drugs, then they should be
given a full complement of the pros and cons, so any decision they
make can be the best one, based on the information they are given.

Unless every person that ever experienced youthful indiscretion became
a useless member of society or died a terrible death, the "message''
I'm expected to send as a parent is slightly less than honest, and
I'll have no part of that. The majority of teenagers are very
intelligent and armed with truthful, honest knowledge; they can and
will make the choices that are right for them.

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