Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

drug and alcohol policy (Kootenay Lake)

School District No. 8
(Kootenay Lake)
Nelson Office:

308 Anderson Street
Nelson, B.C. V1L 3Y2
Ph: 250-352-6681

Creston Office:
1607 Canyon Street,
Creston, B.C. V0B 1G0
Ph: 250-428-2217


Re: Drug andAlcohol Review, feedback

Dear Sirs/Madames,

I'll be brief : In offering feedback I just wish to jog, prompt, niggle and perhaps kick start a few thought processes on how you might approach the questions that are raised by your policy on drugs and alcohol.

Firstly, what's is really broken here is not what you can change and thus do wrong, but what you cannot change and accordingly cannot fix.

The entire education system is brought into disrepute by the operational paradigms of drug and alcohol (and tobacco) policy outside the school gate.

Your emphasis in policy development is a crisis response based rather than an a planned effective integrated proactive harm reduction strategy, and I understand why this is so. Curriculum development inside the school is determined outside the school. For this reason I am compelled to suggest that the school become proactive in developing a long term view that leads and compliments a community solutions based approach to understanding why current drug/alcohol/tobacco policy fails youth.

Look towards a creative curriculum that addresses integrated health and safety - one that doesn't isolate 'substances' from literature, arts, history, culture etc..
I can recommend an awesome insight into this process, written by a NZ academic in response to the very same issues your addressing here, called "cannabis in context', the author was Helen Shaw, a consultant to our Ministry of Education. see specific mention in our House of Representatives inquiry .Drug Education

"Cannabis in context" - is a harm reduction education booklet prepared in response to the very same issues your school (and community) is facing. It created controversy here and was withdrawn, not because it was flawed, but rather because it presented a threat to current social paradigms. [That alone should excite the educator in all of us. (smile)]. Helen Shaw received the endorsement for her work by our then leader of the opposition, academic and now Prime Minister, Right Hon. Helen Clark .Helen Clarks marijuana speech 1994 Waikato University

My final recommendation is

  1. Dont blame the kids for this mess, question everything and commit to a cycle of review.
  2. Take a helicopter view of this 'problem' as educators and question the efficacy of current policy in achieving objectives and have the courage to lead the debate in the community.
  3. Your kids are your resource. If what your doing isn't credible with them, your probably wrong.

Feel free to ask any further questions should they arise.

Thank you for listening.

sig. Blair Anderson
50 Wainoni Road,
Christchurch, New Zealand
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