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

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Whats wrong (with drug ed) in School?

....a rough guide to the drugs being used by today's teens and 20-somethings:

METHAMPHETAMINE ( ice and speed ): Amid a sustained heroin drought (since Mr Asia affair in NZ) ice has become the second-most commonly taken drug after marijuana. (Australian data, 2006)

It is absolutely predictable methamphetamine was going to become prevalent in New Zealand, it was primed for 'worst case scenario' by the elevated level of largely incidental cannabis busts, a national police force utilising post911 technologies, lousy drug education and a propensity to innovate.

Again, in that this regards the very same matrix of maladministration, the kids in New Zealand from anecdote and observations attest that cannabis is a dirty drug...

If NZ's FADE endorsed and widely used Physical Education curricula aimed at Year 10 is anything to go by, with its focus on harms is directed at cannabis, we bought right into this problem.

In police approved 'supplied cannabis content' FADE's curricula on harms from illicit status is left unquestioned while perpetuating harm myths.

The drug section in this real world example follows directly after 'SELF-ESTEEM'. (Do they not get it?, its not lack of self esteem that gets these kids into trouble with drugs, its that the ones they want to talk to have either switched off or they are smart enough to listen to their own bullshite detectors.)

Use of cannabis: "is likely to be suspended or indefinitely to appear before the Disciplinary Sub-Committee of the Board of Trustees"... Who made the rules? The High School Board of Trustees.

The Board then asks of this kid;
[3] "What group on the Board assess the scale of offences and appropriate action?",
[4] "Would you expect the Board to 'indefinitely suspend in all drug cases? Yes/No?"

and then, here's the killer questions ,

[5] "Explain your reasons for answering [4] as you did" {three lines to answer it in}
[6] Would you inform a staff member of the school is you saw or were offered drugs?
[7] Explain your answer to number [6] {four lines}
[8] Do you think drug use is widespread as SBHS? Y/N/?
Explain your answer fully: {four lines}

These workbooks are named and dated!

Other notable points. The perjorative term "marijuana" is used everywhere, headings like "The Deal on Dope", "The Real Deal on Marijuana" are examples, complimented with cartoons.
(it is ironic, when i was a kid, cartoons were seditious! Did they discover something about the medium??))


The content is arguably suspect in its simplistic and often erroneous assertions. Marijuana is the 'dried leaves of the Indian Hemp plant', the 400 Chemicals, THC "is a depressant" that slows down thinking and other processes in the brain (like it doesn't do anything else) . These saws are worthy of discussion.

But: there's more.

It asserts that hash oil is 'even stronger' than solid hash. While this might be debatable in the exception more than the rule who ever in this 'education' climate is going to debate it? (Sorry Socrates!) See where this is leading? Where is the harm reduction/minimisation strategies when there is no integrity in the message. This is the impediment to credible (anti) drug education the Health Select Committee identified in its report published in 1998. Ten years of National Drug Policy later and even that review is stalled in stables (with a flawed due process choking on cannabis 'legal status', twice recommended by statutory empowered committee.).

If we are to understand Cannabis in Context - discussion is required surrounding this Board of Trustees approved cannabis education aid.

The Boards of Trustees are 'elected'. They are lobbied by the Managers Guild, the Police and just about every other moral guardian in the school district. They are with doubt a conservative body. Reputation is everything.

If drug use is a health issue, under the 'no decision about us without us' standard applies (NZ Disabilities Act).

Perhaps if some common civility was restored to the manner in which we deal with drugs per se the methamphetamine problem would simply evaporate along with the graduated scale of lying that is co-morbid with retributive drug policy.

"A person doesn't really know it will affect them each time they use it" - they bloody enjoy it you clods! Oh but you said that here. "Reactions include a feeling of well being with a tendency to talk and laugh more. This may be followed by a sense of relaxation and tiredness". (Sounds an awful lot like sex to me!)

This phrase is unacceptable in 2007




Long-term effects
There is much about marijuana that is not known. A lot more research needs
to be done. However, scientific research has been able to show that long-term,
heavy use may result in some serious health effects.


It goes on to associate cannabis with paranoia, vomiting, hallucinations, amotivation/apathy, cancer, less sex hormones and 'triggering' depression and schizophrenia.

"THC from a single joint can take up to 30 days to be completely eliminated from the body"
"marijuana was detected in 11 percent of road fatalities"
"tobacco smokers are more likely to smoke marijuana than non-smokers"
"a foetus exposed to marijuana may be born smaller and lighter"




Legal Issues
After working through the legal truths and myths activity answer the
questions below:

1] Are any laws that you disagree with? If yes, give at least one reason
why. If no, why do you agree with the laws?

2] Would you adjust any of the drug laws that we have in place now -
why/why not and how?

3] What would happen if these laws did not exist?


Note: the answers are reviewed and graded by physical education teachers accountable to the Board of Trustees.

Here is a graphic image of one page [link 150kb] . Read the instructions carefully and consider the implications (for both the student and his/her peer).



Aside from facts suggesting at this age any class room could contain 3-4 experimental users (or more, this data is in all likelihood under reported), these questions would fail ANY ethical test in a questionnaire for research purposes. There is no informed consent using this modality(to ask peers these questions, report what they said and name them). This is neither a private conversation nor is an an accurate record, but it is permanent. And that makes it erroneous.


I consider this a grave development in an ongoing disaster in drug education, ethically worse in many respect than lying to them. At least in the exaggerated harms scenario the individual can discern the truth. Whereas this Stasi like cross reference is likely to be held to contempt by some, if you don't need to know, there is no right to ask?

Where problems or problematic behaviours exist, sure jump in and treat them.

A Tripartite resolution is the required protocol. Restorative Justice in Schools, as in Life should be the derigour. Drug education should be in context and across the curriculum. FADE is an experiment. They still tell Rotary's that MDMA makes holes in your brain.

BTW: I stood in the Shirely by-election, the hot issue in the media at the time, the Shirley Boys High students were bonking the intermediate school next door girls... in exchange for cannabis.

Which was about the time FADE stepped in.

I thank and appreciate the honesty of the current PE teacher who supplied this information and commend his integrity for agreeing to some applied oversight and review. (FADE had been, or was going to be invited to consult on curriculum development this year.)

I have long concurred with PE teach's mentor, Gillian Tasker [formerly of Christchurch College of Education] that Ottawa Charter principles be 'our guide'.

Now it will be up to due process, and a school board to see to it that the drug education we deliver out kids is 'safety first and do no harm'.

Pity the PPTA [NZ] wont come on board.
The Californians PTA seem to get it... see "Alternatives to Zero Tolerance"


Blair Anderson

http://mildgreens.com/
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