Pubdate: Mon, 27 May 2002
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Address: 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Contact:  2002 Los Angeles Times
Fax: (213) 237-7679
Authors: W. Lee Truman, Jim White, Cathy Yeager


Re "Prom-Night High Ends in Death," May 22: It was with tears and anger 
that I read of the death of Cathy Isford. During my 50 years of being a 
pastor, too often have I stood with my hand on the casket of an 
outstanding, talented and very gifted teen and said the words of committal. 
Each was lawfully and jealously protected from such judgmental words as: 
"Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie about others. Thou shalt not 
cheapen the holy gift of being co-creators with God."

May teens look at the beautiful picture of Isford and have the intelligence 
to determine that they do not want to do as she did, throw their lives 
away; the intelligence to reject a culture that says you have to find 
happiness in a bottle or a pill. May her memory, painful in the loss to her 
family, be also in the minds of those intelligent enough to be tomorrow's 
parents, leaders and heroes, so that they choose a different path and have 
the courage to walk that path, as unpopular as it seems to be.

W. Lee Truman


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Another teenage tragedy, but will anyone recognize the real cause of death, 
or will it just be marked as another drug overdose? Would it have happened 
if she knew that alcohol and Ecstasy don't mix? Did she ask someone and get 
"just say no" for an answer? Was she afraid to seek treatment at the first 
sign of trouble for fear of getting caught?

Would Isford be here today if drug education included factual, honest 
information rather than zero tolerance, zero intelligence, zero 
responsibility and do-nothing, feel-good propaganda? If we had a second 
chance, would we tell her something else, something that might have saved 
her life, even if she didn't "just say no"?

Jim White

Oregon, Ohio

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My heart goes out to Isford's family and friends. It is a horrible tragedy 
to lose a young woman like her. But the acceptance of using Ecstasy by some 
among her family and friends, in order to "have the best possible time she 
could have," and the general acceptance of the attitude that you need some 
form of mood-altering drug or alcohol in order to have a good time, 
contributed to her death.

I propose a different outcome: Sister confides in sister that she will be 
using Ecstasy on prom night. Sister tells mother what is planned. Mother 
says no, you are not going to the prom. Everyone involved has a really bad 
night that probably continues for several weeks. Unpleasant? Yes, but where 
does it say in the parent manual that came with your child that there would 
not be some unpleasant and hated things you would have to do? Isford would 
be sitting in class today.

Cathy Yeager

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