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November 10, 2003

Zero Tolerance: Drugs

I've been thinking about the media and community prohibitions against drug use. It is so pervasive in nice neighborhoods like mine that there seems to be more drug talk than drug use.

I can't say with any accuracy how prevalent actual drug abuse is in my community, but I can assure you two things. One, that there is no visible sign of it whatsoever. There are no dealers, no hangouts, no halfway houses, no bleary-eyed people walking the streets, no economy to speak of. The second is that every elementary school kid is in the D.A.R.E. program and half of the secular values education is directed against drug abuse. The whole theme of Halloween was co-opted into an anti-drug message by the local elementary schools. Tuesday was Red Ribbon Day and all the kids wore red ribbons with anti-drug messages. Wednesday was Hat Day "Put a Cap on Drugs". Thursday was Sports Jersey Day "Team Up Against Drugs". Friday, the Halloween Costume Parade Day was themed "March Against Drugs". My kids know more about rhetoric against drugs than they know about drugs themselves. Their entire experience with the evils of drug abuse comes not from witnessing what it is and what it does to individuals, families and communities, but from the constant drone of preaching against it. If they had any idea how much weed their own parents have smoked, they would probably faint on the spot.

This is the conundrum of zero tolerance.

Posted by mbowen at November 10, 2003 09:55 AM

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