Educating children about recreational drugs

From this story :

This is a tragedy to put it mildly.

Ecstasy overdoses are extremely rare, so if two of these kids overdosed and died, it must mean that it was an unintentionally insane dosage, or (more likely) the pills were cut with something else that killed them. In either case, these girls were killed by the fact that the pills weren’t as advertised. Obviously 14 and 15 year old kids shouldn’t have had access to Ecstasy to begin with, but it doesn’t surprise me that it’s “easily available”.

I think the real beginning of the solution to this problem mostly involves honest education about drugs . So many kids automatically dismiss the warnings about drug use that currently come from their schools. They miss key information on true dangers because they see so many obvious lies and inconsistencies in what is being presented to them as fact. If we were to consistently teach kids, at all age levels, honest and accurate information about the dangers of drug use, they would no longer so easily ignore important warnings.

Is providing kids with 100% honest and transparent information about drug use a more effective harm-prevention strategy than simply using scare tactics that don’t quite reveal a full picture of the true consequences of drug use in society?

Proof that drugs should be legalized. The quality could be controlled and there would be no more accidental overdoses on pills cut with poisonous substances.

If you lie to kids about drugs, they will find out you did before they turn 14, and heaven help you if you try to give them correct information after that. Of course it’s better to be truthful. And the same thing applies to information about sex, by the way.

US anti-drug PSAs are a great form of entertainment, but I’m very glad I got some reasonably accurate drug info when I was growing up.

Unless this honest and transparent information includes “where to get guaranteed safe drugs quickly and easily”, how is it going to help? There aren’t condoms for drug use, so you’re still forced to argue for simple abstinence, and we all know how well that sort of thing works.

Define recreational. What about the pharm parties kids attend these days where each guest brings what they find in their parents medicine cabinet, throw it in a bowl and take what they want? Any teen can tell us which prescrptions each pill is and what it does. Ecstasy is popular, but coke, pot and booze don’t seem to be the mainstream anymore.

Since you cannot get most drugs guaranteed safely anyway, this is a straw man.

You could, if they were legal and regulated by the FDA for quality control.

Which IMHO would be a pretty good way of going about it. I live in the Netherlands, and you can get marijuana from pretty much legal shops here. One of the first things you get taught about dope is that it’s safer to get it from a shop than from some random guy on the street, and that’s true - if a shop is caught messing with their dope, they get closed, no second chances.

Devil’s advocate: in a legal drug world, they probably would (assuming legalization isn’t limited to pot). Does this change your opinion any?

In a legal drug world, why would pot and ecstasy be legally available to minors? Why wouldn’t we limit their purchase to adults as we do with cigarettes and in a hyperdefinition of adult, with alcohol?

It isn’t necessarily the case that legalization means easier access to for minors. Some studies indicate that right now pot is easier for kids to get than alcohol. As legal dealers push black market ones out of the market, it becomes easier to put age controls in place.

Ah, sorry; perhaps I was being confusing. I think I’m a little muddle-headed myself.

I think my question/issue is more with what Argent Towers posted than the post I was replying to. If we put any limits on drug purchase at all, the OP incident could easily still happen in a post-legalization world (as it does with tobacco and alcohol); there would thus STILL be illegal versions of drugs (I don’t think the demand would be met by the old “beg an adult to buy for us” trick or enough profit in reselling legally bought versions). So talking about legalization seems to be a red herring to me.

IIRC, though I can’t find a good link, *some *of the greatest dangers with Ecstasy involve dehydration and interaction with other meds and drugs. Educating kids could help prevent those issues in the same way that non-abstinence-only sex ed helps with contraception: Kids, be aware that it’s never risk-free, but if you’re going to indulge, DEFINITELY take precautions (drink lots of water and don’t be taking anything else).

Yeah and every year a few people probably die from drinking chemicals or poisonous homemade alcohol, but the vast majority just drink legitimate, legal alcohol. Why do you assume that if ecstasy were legal, and sold only to those 18 or older, kids would be more likely to buy some illicit and poisonous version of it? Who would be making the stuff, anyway? A 12 year old with a chemistry set? I’m positive that the demand WOULD be met by the old “beg an adult to buy for us” trick, and by the old “fake ID” trick, also. And by the “the cashier is your friend’s older brother, and he’s also the only person working in the store” trick, which worked particularly well when I was in high school.

I’m not understanding the argument here.

Kids still do that? There are a lot fewer pharmies with any kind of serious recreational potential nowadays than there were back in the Latter Pilleolithic Era, when us teenage thrillseekers called that particular party game “fruit salad”.

I don’t know what the parties are like, but abuse of prescription drugs is reportedly very high. I believe most people these days are on at least one drug, so they wouldn’t be hard to get if you wanted to do something like that.

Here is an article from a Slate writer who claims that Pharm Parties don’t exist or are at least overstated.

My guess is that Pharm Parties are like the infamous “Key Parties” of the swinging generation. Probably there is some basis in reality, and possibly some imitation of what is seen in the various media, but by and large most people would never be exposed to them.

If nothing else, education can make it clear to people that there are serious dangers due to the purity of the drugs being unknown. Just being aware that it can be far easier to OD on something that’s not pure would be a start. Kids might then be more hesitant to quickly eat three pills given to them by some random dude at a party.

Also, you say that there “aren’t condoms for drug use.” Well, that’s not quite true. There are indeed disposable test kits around that will tell you if a pill is (for example) really MDMA or something else. Right now these are geared towards law enforcement use, but if we could make versions that are freely available to kids, we could possibly have prevented a tragedy like this one.

An interesting online resource on drugs and harm reduction: It’s a good read, along with erowid, as I’m sure many of you know already.

I am still in highschool, and I will say that abuse of some prescription drugs is high. It was pretty much all ADHD medication (ritalin and the like), because it was laughably easy to get prescribed. With those pills, 200 point improvements on the SATs with hardly an hour’s study were easy. Some xanax, and rarely opioid pain killers were available as well. However, this:

never happened at any party I have ever heard of. The idea is more or less correct (that kids are abusing drugs) but the actual social situations the media envisions are pathetically off the mark.

Isn’t pot a special case in this regard, because of how easy it is to produce? I have no experience with the drug, but I was under the impression that it required basically no processing (Wikipedia says that in some places people just throw cannabis on a fire and breathe in the smoke).