Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jun 2005
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Eve Edmonds
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Nothing titillates students, panics parents and galvanizes staff like
word of illicit drugs in schools.

But drugs are not the issue, Rob Inrig told the Richmond school board
Monday night; resiliency is.

Inrig, curriculum co-ordinator for the district's counselling
programs, presented a report on addictions prevention and intervention
to trustees.

The report outlined the current state of affairs regarding illegal
drugs and what schools are doing about them.

"The 'just say no' approach has not gotten a receptive audience," said
Inrig. Instead, the district has worked on building "assets," life
skills that enable young people to make smart choices in all aspects
of their lives.

It's important to be informed about what drugs are out there, what
they look like and what they do, he said.

It's also important to know that most drugs are trafficked through
what's referred to as the "dial-a-dope" system - calls are made via
cellphones, meetings are arranged, and drugs are sold.

However, "having drug knowledge is not sufficient to curb illicit
use," said Inrig.

With the proliferation of designer drugs, "today's methamphetamine
will be replaced by the next 'latest and greatest' just around the
corner," Inrig writes in his report.

The focus, instead, has been on social emotional learning.

"The district has stated that this is a prime requisite. Career
success is based on social skill. In the past, it has been seen as a
soft curriculum, but recently we've realized that this is essential,"
said Inrig.

Along with building individual resiliency through programs such as
D.A.R.E. and Friends, which helps kids cope with anxiety, a society
has to build collective resiliency, which means creating a particular
environment within a school and throughout the city.

Superintendent Bruce Beairsto applauded Richmond RCMP Supt. Ward
Clapham for taking the lead in bringing together the school district,
RCMP, Addiction Services and the Ministry of Children and Family
Development to build a network of collective resiliency.

It is this kind of co-ordinated thinking that has resulted in
MethWatch, for example.

"We have relatively few drug houses (places where people go to buy and
do drugs) in Richmond," said Inrig.

However, there is the threat of drug labs which is why the city has
initiated the MethWatch program."

The initiative educates businesses about the equipment that would be
necessary to set up a drug lab.

But while there is a lot of good intention and clear thinking around
drug prevention, we all know there are not enough funds for treatment,
said trustee Sandra Bourque.

Bourque moved that a follow-up report be submitted in two years so
that progress can be monitored.
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