Pubdate: Wed, 21 Nov 2007
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Contact:  2007 Daily News, L.P.
Author: Helen Kennedy, Daily News Staff Writer


Anti-drug crusaders bashed Barack Obama's candid chat with New 
Hampshire high schoolers Tuesday, saying his casual manner sent a 
dangerous message: You can get high and still be President.

"A person in his position has an obligation to be very clear about 
the seriousness and illegality and potentially deadly results of 
using drugs," said Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free 
America Foundation.

She said the two most effective weapons against teen addiction are 
emphasizing the harm drugs can cause and stressing societal 
disapproval of using them.

"He basically violated both of those," Fay said.

She said Obama's telling kids he did drugs and came out okay might 
also lull parents into being less alarmed about their kids' dabbling 
with banned substances.

"His outcome was very different from what we normally see. Most kids 
that use drugs don't become presidential candidates," Fay said.

Andrea Barthwell, the former White House deputy drug czar who quit in 
2004 to consider - and then decline - a Senate run against Obama, 
said Obama missed a chance to underscore how casual use can lead to 
serious addiction.

"Young people see him as the audacious, hopeful candidate," she said. 
"He could have seized the opportunity to say, 'I am one of the lucky 
few who moved through it without consequence.' By dismissing it as 
youthful folly, we're missing an opportunity to significantly impact 
the young people who are inspired by what he's trying to do."
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