Do we have teenage drug dealers in our schools? Well, the short answer is yes. But to some extent that misrepresents the problem. Although there may be some who could be described as dealers, the real problem is more about social behaviour and perceptions of what is cool and what is not cool. There is very good evidence that drug incidence in schools is falling, and that the drug education programs are working. Kids nowadays are better informed than ever before, and are more likely to understand the risks involved in drugs. That’s not to say that things are perfect, because they are not. It remains true that drugs are alarmingly easy to obtain in our community, and some drugs, such as ecstasy, are seen as harmless fun and a social enhancer. When drugs do enter a school it’s more likely that they’ve been passed around among friends, or obtained from older siblings and sometimes even parents. To whatever extent that we may have a drug problem in our schools, it reflects a problem in the broader community. That has been amply demonstrated by Ben Cousins, and before him, Andrew Johns. It’s not just the parents who need to worry, it’s all of us.
So are we winning the so-called war on drugs? Can we win it? Either way I don’t believe we can afford to run up the white flag.
What do you think?