Pubdate: Fri, 24 Oct 2003
Source: Sun Herald (MS)
Copyright: 2003, The Sun Herald
Author: Brittany Cooper


I am a student at Long Beach High School and I feel persecuted by the
recent publicity given to the drug problem in our community. When
people ask me where I go to school, their first response is, "Where
all the drugs are?"

Drugs are a worldwide problem, not just a Long Beach problem. I feel
compassion for the people who lost children to drugs. However, your
recent series of front-page articles showing Long Beach as "Drug
Central" are misguiding.

First, I would like someone to define "popular" and "affluent." They
have been used throughout the articles this week. When the word
"popular" is used, does that mean they were popular among the other
students who use drugs? Because while I personally know people who use
drugs, they do not "hang out" with me, they hang out with other people
who use drugs. "Affluent" is being used quite liberally, in my
opinion, because I know many affluent people in Long Beach and none of
them use drugs either. So does "affluent" mean that their parents have
jobs? And by stating they were popular and affluent, does that mean
that drugs are only a problem for the poor and downtrodden?

Drugs have been prevalent in our society ever since the '70s and,
although a disproportionate number of young adults have died recently
in Long Beach, the number of students caught with drugs is lower than
reported at some other schools.

With the recent media attention, I feel scrutinized and stereotyped.
Please do not forget that there are a large number of hard-working,
goal-oriented students in the Long Beach School System that have no
desire to use drugs.

Brittany Cooper

Long Beach
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