Pubdate: Tue, 20 Dec 2005
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Vince Battistelli


The Editor,

Re: "Calgary MP wants your thoughts on 'homosexual sex marriage,'" the
News, Dec. 9.

Crystal meth is an issue in every community, and Richmond is no
different. But creating and capitalizing on fear within the community
is not the way to tackle the problem. If anything, this approach to
crystal meth may pique kids' curiosity, drawing them to try the drug,
like moths to a flame.

If we as a community are going to address the issue of crystal meth
use, and for that matter, the misuse of all other drugs, we must
examine the roots of substance use. We can start by asking why a
person is misusing drugs to the extent that they need treatment.

Drug misuse is often a symptom of other problems, including family
conflict, a lack of coping skills and external stressors like school
and work pressures. A lack of knowledge and communication around
substance issues can compound pre-existing problems. What we need to
do is ensure that resources are in place so that Richmond residents
can learn to identify warning signs of substance misuse and address it
in a rational way.

Efforts are underway to mobilize and educate Richmond parents and
educators about substance misuse prevention. Parents are learning to
communicate with their children about drug use, while high school
teachers are incorporating best practices into their classrooms and
schools. A recent teacher training session on methamphetamine
prevention was so popular - more than 55 Richmond high school teachers
attended - that another session is being planned for January.

Instead of creating fear, politicians, educators and community leaders
should support efforts to educate community members about substance
misuse, like the parent education series and teacher training on
methamphetamine prevention - programs offered by Richmond Addiction
Services in partnership with other Richmond community agencies.

Vince Battistelli

Executive director, Richmond Addiction Services
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake