Monday, June 20, 2011

Saying "No": How & Why

A lot of anti-drug propaganda focuses on how to say "no" to drugs, but saying "no" to drugs isn't any harder than saying "no" to playing a game of kickball, or saying "no" to a food you don't like.

I skimmed a book recently, on how to get kids to avoid drugs, and it got me thinking. Propaganda often treats drug users as evil fiends who hand out drugs just to ruin people's lives. This is blatant hysteria: the motives of those that offer aren't examined. Some people probably will offer you addictive drugs and then make sure that they're your connect, which is obviously of questionable morality, but many are just well-meaning friends trying to be polite. (If you get made fun of or pressured, your "friends" are immature and playing a power game. Say "More for you!" and go hang out with someone who isn't a douchebag.) Also included was a list of ways to say no. Surprisingly, many were actively hostile, like "I don't want to. End of discussion." or "Are you crazy?" That bristly hostility is just plain rude, and often directed at someone who wasn't meaning any harm. This just passes the hysteria along to children, who think of a drug offer like an offer to be an accomplice in a murder. They ignore drug use as a legitimate choice, and though I don't expect that sort of reasoning from propaganda, it still bothers me.

Especially because I fully support the choices of those that don't do drugs. Of course, I still pass them the bowl to be polite, but I would never pressure anyone into doing anything they didn't want to. I like to correct people's incorrect D.A.R.E. ideas about the drugs that I do, but if they know the truth and still don't want to join me, I leave them alone. In fact, occasionally I actively support their decisions. I have one friend who everyone thinks smokes pot, because she dresses like a hippie, has synesthesia, is spacey, and eats vegan. But her veganism is exactly why she doesn't do drugs: she's very interested in nutrition and exactly what she puts in her body, so she likes to be extra careful with any chemical that goes past her lips. She likes to investigate the health, political, and moral implications of everything she ingests, and I really respect that. I also try to dissuade my friends with mental health issues (like addictive personalities, depression, or schizophrenic tendencies) from doing drugs, or at least try to supervise them and make sure they're careful. Some people shouldn't, or don't want to, do drugs at all, and I support them in their decision.

To say "no" to drugs, all you have to do is say "No, thanks" and pass the pipe along. Learning to say no to drugs shouldn't be a campaign in itself, because anyone who has the self-esteem to say "no" to anybody, about anything, can say "no" to drugs.
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1 comment:

  1. Well said! Long live common sense. I get offered all types of drugs all the time, I say: "No thanks, I'm good, but I appreciate your kind offer!" People just want to give you something they value.

    When I was a teenager in Finland we always laughed so hard at the drug dealer myths people spoke of -- as if there were shady guys behind every corner trying to hand you free drugs -- when in reality we did everything we could and still didn't seem to get our hands on any...


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