Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 Source: New York Daily News (NY) Copyright: 2011 Daily News, L.P. Contact: http://www.nydailynews.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/295 Authors: Dr. David Moore, Licensed psychologist and chemical de-pendency professional, graduate school faculty member at Argosy University's Seattle Campus, and Bill Manville, Book of the Month novelist; his most recent work of non-fiction, "Cool, Hip & Sober," is available at online bookstores. Bill also teaches "Writing To Get Published" for Temple University and at writers.com. ADDICTIONS & ANSWERS: THE WAR ON DRUGS IN THE AGE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL: On the Internet last Saturday night, I heard an old time radio show, "Dragnet" -- so old that Jack Webb was still doing Sgt. Friday. When they busted a dope pusher, Jack declared, in his most stirring voice, "Another step toward winning the war on drugs!" What was that, 50 years ago? DR. DAVE: I agree it's a meaningless slogan, like declaring war on ice cream. Joe Friday's war on illegal drugs of the 50s and 60s was largely fought on the fringes of society--stomping on the drug addicted and disen-franchised 5 percent. BILL: William Perkins is Executive Director of TARP, Inc., a treatment consulting company and school for Training Addiction & Recovery Professionals located here in Manhattan. "There is no war on drugs," he says. "Focus should be on treatment, which is effective at a rate of approximately 33 percent. Due to the weaknesses in addressing the supply side, the US must redouble its efforts to reduce demand." OK, fine-- but, Dave, how do we in fact go about reducing demand? Especially in the face of all the demand for the legalization of medical marijuana? DR. DAVE: Our experience is that a whole lot of these quoted spokespersons for the legalization movement are old hippies who started smoking in their teens. In 1976, 54 percent of the graduating class had used illicit drugs in the past year. By 1992, the "war" of the 1980s had driven that down to 27 percent. As this new "Generation THC" moved into its teens --use has moved back up to an intractable 35-40 percent. BILL: While their parents rebelled against alcohol by smoking pot, Generation THC has added ecstasy and oxycodone to their party years. My old anthropology professor once told me that two factors are always present in any society no matter how primitive. Fire and intoxicants. The Incas didn't have the wheel, but they had cocaine. DR. DAVE: Been to an Inca House Party lately Bill? While I believe there is no eradicating alcohol from all its cultural inroads into society--there is no historical argument for drugs like cocaine. BILL: The old hippies did some great things; success at equal rights for women, tightening the principles for engaging in war overseas and the Civil Rights movement. But I have a lot of foreboding about this new generation of their children's approach to drug use. What does your crystal ball tell you Doc? DR. DAVE: The programs are out there to weave together into William Perkins' prevention net--but it takes strong, unyielding, adult leadership to implement that change. Teens use drugs because they feel physically more euphoric after ingesting them. It's the panacea for leveling the social playing field, instantly eradicating the boring moments of the teen years and as a gateway into giddy shared experiences with their peers. BILL: So, our kids aren't stupid -- they know drugs make you feel good. And, they know that we lived out that belief when we were in high school. Our generation never figured out how to rebut their argument, "You did it too when you were my age!" DR. DAVE: Meaning we wouldn't use the juvenile justice system like our parents did. We turned to our educational system. The schools promptly said, "This isn't our job" and "we don't know how to succeed"--which Presi-dent Obama finally conceded by canceling the 20 years of school subsidies for drug prevention. BILL: And you counselors were all feeding at that trough when the Prez turned off the faucet. Money for treatment still flows through your systems, but you don't seem to be the answer for prevention leadership to change the teen world. DR. DAVE: The hardest thing to accept is when the field research tells you what doesn't work. In this case, failures to find community leadership with the moral authority to confront the teen culture of use and abuse. Parents, teachers, police and community counselors appear to be off the prevention leadership list. Community Coalitions are expanding, but without solid leadership to set youth expectations and implement the prevention programs to carry them out, rudderless coalitions are left spinning their wheels on minor details like regulating 7-11 stores' beer sales. BILL: Ok then. If we are going to bet our country's prevention money on a leadership group to turn this around, who would it be? DR. DAVE: At this point, I can think of one and only one--The American Academy of Pediatricians. BILL: I've been married twice, and the only intelligent thing I did either time was not have children. But Dave, you're betting the health of your grandchildren on them. I hope they live up to your high hopes. DR. DAVE: My hope as well Bill; but over the decades, they are the one community profession that has the well-earned mission statement to step into our prevention leadership void: "The AAP is committed to the optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being of all infants, children, adolescents and young adults." - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.