] Date: Sun, July 13, 1997
Source: Scotland On Sunday, Edinburgh, UK
Contact: Alan Cochrane's column reporting on his loss of the 'Just Say No' 
paradigm (Commentary, July 6) was insightful and encouraging. Rational 
discussion of the 'drug issue' has been blanked out for decades, if not 
a century, in the US. It was overwhelmed by the religious fervour at the 
turn of this century and now it is blanked out by the special interests 
whose income and/or status depends on continuing the war on drugs.

In the US, 50 federal agencies nozzle up to the war on drugs' teat every 
year to the tune of upwards of $50bn. Try to tell those agencies that 
the war on drugs accomplishes nothing.

No doubt Scotland, as welll as the rest of Great Britain, has a similar 
impediment to rational discourse.

Those of us engaged in a continuing effort to bring back rationality to 
the drug use and abuse debate thank you and Alan Cochrane's 
contributions towards that end.

Welcome to the new paradigm, 'Just Say Know'.

Gerald Sutliff, California

Anyone who has ever dipped a toe into the drugs culture will surely have 
known that the sight of Michael Forsyth in a reversed baseball cap would 
turn the appropriately named SAD campaign into what David Macauley hoped 
drugs themselves would become: uncool and oldfashioned (News, July 6)

I have no doubt that the end of Macauley's influence will ultimately 
save lives. Somebody should have educated Andrew Woodlock and his 
friends about the difference between one and three ecstasy tablets. 
Instead, Macauley just said no to drug education.

Parents only understand drugs such as alcohol and tobacco which 'they 
can handle', and they're legal so how can they be drugs? Parents have 
just said no since the word 'teenager' was created, so why the problem?

Macauley has no answer, just a kneejerk reaction to apportion blame, 
conveniently bypassing parents and their drunken hypocrisy. In my early 
teens I lived on a naval housing estate. The navy arranged for parents 
and kids to see a drug education film. Seperately. Peer pressure can be 
a positive force. Parental pressure rarely is. The film included 
interviews with junkies while they shot up. The sight of a needle being 
placed in a hole it had just been removed from turned my stomach more 
then the sight of an autopsy on a junkie's corpse. It had the required 
effect without anybody saying to me: "Hey kid, be cool, just say no."

Alcohol is a killer yet people use it sensibly and in moderation. When a 
drunken driver kills a pedastrian there are no calls to 'illegalise it'. 
Why? Because it wouldn't stop the problem. The sooner parents and 
politicians stop equating decriminilisation with drugpushing the 
better. The end of prohibition in the US did not produce a nation of 
alcoholics. It did see an end to the gangsters (though they later took 
over the drug trade) and an increase in treasury funds. More money for 
hospitals to deal with the problems they were already dealing with.

No doubt Macauley would disagree. Perhaps he believes Roosevelt was an 
irresponsible dogooder too.

Steve Bradley, Edinburgh

We've got a new wee grandson, called Josh  seven weeks old and keeping 
his Mum, Dad and big brother awake at night.

His mother watches his every move, worried about sniffles and snuffles, 
treats him ohsogently and talks endlessly to him to soothe and 
stimulate him in turn.

It's what mothers and fathers are doing daily all over the land for 
their offspring.

In toddler times the caring is extended to "Hold my hand", "Clever boy", 
"Watch the road". etc.

So why does that level of caring suddenly disappear in so many families 
when their children reach the age when they can be exposed to the 
dangers of underage drinking and drugtaking?

The youngsters hanging around our streets, egging each othwer on and 
open to all sorts of evil influences, are there with their parents' 

Mums and dads are taking the easy way out and, in so doing, are waving 
goodbye to their children's innocence.

Last year I attended a local Drugs Awareness Conference, in which no 
mention of parents was made in the whole morning session. When I pointed 
this out at the open forum, all the agencies were quick to assure me 
that parents would be targeted in the near future. When?

The miseries and tragedies of drug abuse (and underage drinking) in our 
young folk are *our* responsibility  we took on that responsibility 
when we brought them into this world as helpless babes. There is no opt
out clause.

'Just Say No' and harm reduction both have a vital level to play at 
different levels. So, let's stop all this squabbling and get on with the 
campaign, working to a common aim  to create a happier future for all 
our little Joshes.

Kay Landsburgh, Carnoustie, Scotland