Pubdate: Fri, 04 May 2007
Source: Fort Saskatchewan Record, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 The Fort Saskatchewan Record
Author: Dick Easton


I have long thought Glen Buchan a head above the crowd, and certainly
beyond an ad hominid attack. It was therefore a disappointment to read
his May First response to my letter about the Drug Awareness Committee.

I have in fact spoken to representatives from the organization to
which Buchan refers. I think it fair to say that membership in a
committee does not always infer agreement with that committee's
policies and tactics. In fact there seems to be gaps between what
AADAC material I have read and some of the committees positions.

I did posit that the committee seems to have little understanding or
appreciation of such issues as: context, harm reduction. evaluation,
and ethics all critical components in the development of any social

Substance abuse should be viewed as a symptom of social and individual
problems and not just as a cause of such problems. . ..substance abuse
is inexorably enmeshed in personal, social and societal factors, such
as poverty, unemployment, family dysfunction, decriminalization and
personal values.

In a nutshell, substance abuse is a symptom rather than a problem. Am
I mistaken in assuming that committee has failed to recognize that
important distinction? I would like to think so and would welcome
evidence that I am. Strictly speaking, harm reduction and evaluation,
should fall into the same category. I am curious about what steps the
committee have taken to measure the effectiveness of their efforts.
The question of ethics is thorny if for no other reason than problems
of definition. In opening my letter, however, I alluded to the WCTU,
who were noted, amongst other things, for their reliance on
testimonies, a tactic adopted by the Drug Awareness Committee. In this
instance, I come dangerously close to doing personal harm, but the
point should make itself.

I had hoped for a more reasoned and more concrete response to my
comments than I received. I had hoped that I would be proven wrong in
my contentions. Sadly, I don't believe that I have.

There is need here for open and honest discussion.

Dick Easton,

Fort Saskatchewan
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