How might I convince sceptics....?
My comments on a another blog (Eternal Vigilance) I thought worthy of repeating here:
The Blogger may find it somewhat embarrassing to note that teenage 'risky' behaviours diminish across the board when we get drug policy right.
Now I don't expect the blog writer, going by his logic (there) to get the connection, but there it is. Evidence is on our side. (besides, in the bigger picture, prohibition being criminogenic, unintended consequences rendered on adults of childbearing age directly hurts these very same young people, they pay doubly so.)
I might cite for the readers benefit that teenage pregnancies and consequences allied to unsafe sex are often quoted for New Zealand as being right up there and there is the usual wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth as we wax lyrical about 'if only they didn't'.
But the Netherlands, where condoms as about as popular and as accessable has a teen pregnancy rate (across each age group) about one fifth of ours.
That is, my kids(1xM,1xF) when growing up were 500% MORE LIKELY than their dutch peers of being or getting 'up the spud'.
While neither did, and some might argue that this supports my case, there are a bunch of other bio-psychosocial factors I am glad my kids never put me through.
Medical bills for STD's and yes, I still get to be a Grandfather, is one, but there others such as drug's and related harms where our Kiwi kids are at 500% greater risk, trouble with the law again 500% greater risk, and of teen suicide, 500% greater risk (higher among young males, they tend to be more successful).... seeing a pattern here?
If we are to look at who doesn't speak credibly about drug use, or understand the more moderate position of the Dutch on this issue fails to understand that lying (by omission or fact) to our kids is more dangerous than credible (anti) drug education, and that as a parent worries me.
Drugs are bad, well, because they are against the law! doesn't cut it. And for all those religious conservative types... you think they aren't on that page? The Christchurch Health and Development Study (gold standard in this demography) evidences that four out of five have used illicit drugs more than five times. So you don't believe YOUR kids are doing it? Ask them if they masturbate in the shower and see if you get an honest answer?
I think the Dutch are onto something. Especially when it comes to parenting. They can have a honest relationship with their kids. And that sets the kids up for honest relationships amongst themselves... and that, not public health interventions that speculate success, not politicians, esp. the 'gotta be seen to be doing something' types' and particular blogging conservative liberals (humbug, there is nothing conservative in our punitive drug policy and if your not on that page this will just confuse you).
So? How might I convince sceptics teen pregnancy has nothing to do with drug policy?
And if it is not related, what identifiable factor or factors are the Dutch doing that would inform the debate and produce such spectacular results?
Absent a good suggestion or concrete answer I can honestly say, with I believe some earnest authority and based on a 100% success with my kids, what we are doing now is just selling the public a condom with a hole in it.
Social Ecologist 'at large'
Christchurch, New Zealand
ph nz (643) 389 4065 nz cell 027 265 7219