Pubdate: Tue, 26 May 2015
Source: Vancouver 24hours (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Vancouver 24 hrs.
Author: Michael Mui
Page: 3


Instead of warning about the harms and peer pressure of drugs,
addictions researcher Dan Reist wants teachers to focus on the
historical, social and cultural aspects of psychoactive substances -
so kids can make their own choices.

"(Traditional) drug education and virtually all health education is
not education ... it's trying to sell somebody on a particular issue
or behaviour where you've already determined what you want them to
do," said Reist, an assistant director at the Centre for Addictions
Research of B.C. "(For example) every civilization they cover,
psychoactive substances are part of their religions, their economy,
but every socials studies class doesn't cover that ... if we bring
that perspective to it, suddenly this stuff doesn't become a drug
class where everybody makes jokes of it.

"It becomes part of understanding the human condition and
civilization's history."

Six school districts in the interior are expected to try out new
programming in September - Reist has been working with them.

In Sooke, Grade 8 teacher Jennifer Gibson has incorporated this type
of drug talk over the past five years of teaching. Some examples
included trying to find booze and drug references in music. One
example involved a scenario that followed a 13-year-old boy trying to
score pot at the library. At the end, he ended up visiting his
grandmother who suffers from arthritis.

"The kid ended up buying pot for grandma, and they started talking
about medical marijuana," she said.

"We're not standing up there saying if you try drinking alcohol you're
going to perish in a big puddle."
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