Pubdate: Tue, 30 May 2006
Source: Ladysmith-Chemanius Chronicle (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 BC Newspaper Group & New Media
Author: John Anderson



By doing a little research, Ron Waller would do well to answer his own
question: "Haven't we learned anything from the '60s drug culture?"
(May 23 Chronicle).

According to regular surveys with youth on the topic, fewer young
people are using illicit drugs, smoking cigarettes and, for that
matter, having children out of wedlock than did their parents in the
1960s. Ron can write me for a list of educational materials.

And if youth are to learn anything about drugs, please don't look to
Mr. Waller for answers. He claims that someone can be addicted to
methamphetamine after using it once. Yeah, yeah we heard that one
before, but it was LSD and cocaine when we got it from adults in the
'60s. The instant addiction claim is part of the growing moral panic
developing around meth.

Hey Ron, I too lived through the 1960's and was deeply immersed in the
drug subculture that you complain about.

Here's what I learned.

LSD was the horror drug of the day. We tried it and found it too
frightening to have fun except in the most controlled situations. It
did not make us jump out of windows or slit our wrists like the
televangelists and anti-drug crusaders were predicting. Most of us
gave it up after one or two experiences.

Cocaine always left us wondering why we actually paid money for the
paranoia, sleeplessness and poverty brought on by the drug. Nobody I
knew ever became addicted, even with fairly consistent use, and
despite a huge drop in price and increase in purity in the late 1980s.

Our pot smoking lasted from the teen years into our early twenties.
Just about everyone who smoked pot gave it up at just about the same
time they found careers, wives and children. Very few continue to
smoke cannabis today, but the ones I know are successful in their
working and family lives.

Moderation seems to be the key.

Our best message to youth is to let them know what we know today,
rather than relying on old stories intended to scare them into conformity.

Tobacco, not methamphetamine, is the deadliest drug in Canada. It has
a low price, a legitimate corporate trafficking network, and is
routinely sold to minors. It will kill 40,000 Canadians this year,
compared with a dozen or so who will die from the effects of crystal

The so-called lessons of the '60s drug culture have little to offer
our youth. Maybe that's why they're not listening.

John Anderson

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