Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jan 2002
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Merkin


Re: "Group to provide parents with free drug-testing kits" (North, Jan. 3):

I nominate the plan to give free kits to parents to test their kids
for drugs as the worst and most toxic idea of 2002. And if North
County Solutions for Change goes ahead with this loopy scheme, I
recommend it change its name to North County Solutions for Destroying
the Family.

In the real world, parents need to be somewhat suspicious of their
children's activities, and children inevitably experiment with
privacy, secrecy and rule-breaking. But parents who strive for a
healthy and successful family must balance suspicion with trust, and
children must be authentically convinced that they are trusted and
taken at their word most of the time.

Subjecting children to in-home drug tests changes the family into a
model prison. Children are not prisoners and parents are not prison
guards and wardens.

A quickie junk-science chemical test is no substitute for trust and
communication between parent and child, and in fact is the fast track
to the destruction of trust and communication. After trust is
destroyed, it is also the fast track to more teen-age drug use.

North County Solutions has surplus drug kits for parents because it
uses the kits to test their homeless shelter residents. Clearly, it is
not running a homeless shelter that requires trust, dignity and
respect for rights and privacy, but some sort of amateur community
jail. When a guest tests positive, do they heave him into the alley,
or just call the police?

And what does North County Solutions advise parents to do after a
positive test? Call the cops to take their child away in handcuffs?

The destruction of the community begins with ambitious,
institutionalized plans of distrust, suspicion and informers. It is
not "tough love." It's a Communist or Nazi-style police-state program.

Northampton, Mass.
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