Pubdate: Fri, 04 May 2007
Source: Inuvik Drum (CN NT)
Copyright: 2007 Northern News Services
Author: Dez Loreen, Editorial Comment
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


I found myself sitting in on a presentation earlier this week at Sir
Alexander Mackenzie school. The RCMP is working with the school to
educate youth about the nasty temptations in life. Yes, the Drug Abuse
Resistance Education (DARE) program is in full swing once again.

The bell rings on a Tuesday morning and the students make their way to
the classroom to sit in their uniform desks, all lined up in rows.
Their attention is wandering, still lost in the monkey bars of the

The door opens and a tall police constable walks in the room and
instructs the class to get their reading materials ready. I look
around the room and the students are hanging on every word he says. It
was impressive how he had their attention.

Then the good ol' talk about keeping away from drugs, alcohol,
violence and other habits that lead to an unsuccessful life. The main
message for these youth is to avoid these bad things completely. It's
good advice for a young mind that is still developing.

The main focus of the talk I was witness to was all about peer
pressure. The officer talked to the youth about identifying the types
of peer pressure and what to do when faced with bad choices.

"Ultimately, we want you guys to have healthy lifestyles," said the

"It's important to stay away from drugs, alcohol and

Such a strong message from a good role model in the community. But the
reality is that addictions and illicit drugs will remain for years to
come. It's all about personal choice. I choose to live my life in my
own way and nobody will change that. I'm open to suggestion, but I
wince at the sound of a demand.

I applaud the police and the school for bringing such a complicated
issue to the front lines of education. Rather than have children learn
about drugs and alcohol from television and movies, teach them the
real facts in school.

But hey parents, you aren't off the hook just yet. If a cop is telling
your kid that drinking is bad and the child sees you going out to the
bar, explain to them about moderation. Tell them to their face why
adults can drink and why youth have to wait to drink until they're old
enough to be responsible.

Each family is going to have its own way of teaching ethics and
beliefs to their child. Just be responsible and let your child know
about the things that happen outside the walls of your house.

Don't leave the topic for later on. Tackle the topic of violence,
drugs, alcohol and peer pressure at home, too. Tell them why you think
drugs are bad and let them know the true consequences of binge drinking.

Explain to them that some people drink to excess, and fall into the
trap of drug addiction. Show them the life those people lead on the

The best message I heard the whole session was about independence. The
students were told about peer pressure and were warned that their
friends might want them to try bad things.

Staying in charge of your life is key to being healthy. If you
listened to all the advertisements and bad advice out there, life
wouldn't last long. Being able to make your own decision is your birthright.

Hopefully, those students will remember that message. I want to see a
program aimed at the older youth as well. It's not too late to warn
them away from the downward spiral of addiction and the harder things
that are being peddled on the streets, it's never too late to say no.
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MAP posted-by: Derek