Pubdate: Wed, 07 Jun 2006
Source: Stars and Stripes - European Edition (Europe)
Copyright: 2006 Stars and Stripes
Note: LTEs require name, APO address and phone number
Author: Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes
Bookmark: (Marijuana)
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


GRAFENWOHR, Germany -- Willie Nelson might be able to smoke
marijuana and succeed, but the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse
for many people are devastating, according to 3rd Brigade, 1st
Infantry Division commander Lt. Col. Michael A. Todd.

Todd, the keynote speaker at a Drug Abuse Resistance Education
graduation ceremony Monday for 42 Grafenwohr Elementary School
sixth-graders, was responding to a question about Nelson, whose
pro-marijuana views were featured on a radio show broadcast by the
Armed Forces Network.

Todd told the children that drugs and alcohol had a negative impact on
the lives of several people he knew.

"My wrestling coach's wife was killed by a drunk driver and he was
left to look after two little kids," he said.

The DARE program, which began in 1983, was not available to Todd and
his friends when he went to school, he said. Many learned about drug,
alcohol and tobacco abuse through the school of hard knocks, ruined
lives, rehabilitation clinics or the criminal justice system.

DARE gave kids the facts about the problem so they could make informed
decisions when they were offered drugs, tobacco or alcohol, Todd said.

"The program focuses on providing you with the facts and the
consequences so you understand what these substances can do to your
body -- physically and emotionally," he said.

Children often feel such a strong desire to fit in that they throw
logic out the door, Todd warned.

"It is all about being cool. We are social beings. We want to have
friends. You will be tempted to do things that you know to be wrong,"
he said.

One of the DARE graduates, Katie Cooper, 11, said the course taught
her how to say no.

"Marijuana is illegal in the U.S. and it can be addictive. Tobacco is
illegal to sell to anyone under 18 and causes lung cancer. Alcohol is
illegal to sell to anyone under 21 and it can have a bad effect on the
body," she said, adding that she wants to be a teacher when she grows

Another DARE graduate, Kaley Harless, also 11, said she learned that
smoking causes breathing problems and heart disease, marijuana also
can cause breathing problems and alcohol can slow down your brain and
damage every organ in the body.

"You don't have one choice. You can always say no. Ask yourself: Is
this what my parents would want me to do?" she said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake