Finally, a voice that isn't eminating from the Australian pulpit of propoganda and at least suonds some small note of reason. This from theage.com.au:
National drug strategy 'too moral'
May 23, 2006 - 6:44PM
The federal government's drug education strategy for schools is too moral and risks being irrelevant to young people experimenting with alcohol and illicit substances, a leading researcher says.
Associate Professor Richard Midford, with the National Drug Research Institute in Perth, said the national school drug education strategy does not have a practical understanding of drug use or young people.
In a keynote address to be delivered in Sydney on Wednesday at the International Conference on Drugs and Young People, Prof Midford will argue that the national drug strategy needs reform.
"They really are very much taking the moral stance and saying it's a bad thing to do, and that we should be giving a clear 'just say no' message," Prof Midford said.
"That's a nice slogan to have, and I don't think anyone would disagree with it, but drug education has to be so much more than just simply not having drugs in schools.
"They (young people) can see (drugs) as glamorous and risky and exciting and they've got to really have the skills to be able to deal with those sort of issues."
Drug education in schools is administered through programs run by state and territory governments.
The federal government provides additional funding to some states for drug education programs through its national school drug education strategy, which has the goal of 'no illicit drugs in schools'.
Prof Midford said while state-based programs were more practical and focused on harm minimisation, the federal government needed to formulate a uniform national approach.
He said just under 50 per cent of young people had tried cannabis by the time they reached age 17, while most had experimented with alcohol before leaving high school.
"You can't get an expert, whether that be a policeman, or somebody who has worked in the alcohol and drug area, or even the teacher themselves, you can't get them standing up in front of the class telling them not to do drugs," he said.
"If you are realistic and acknowledge that these things go on, you can then deal with them.
"If you do a shock horror scare tactic on (the students) and they've got different information from their own experiences that it's not that bad, they're just going to ignore you. It's going to be irrelevant."
The three-day conference hosted by the Australian Drug Foundation will discuss ways of reducing the impact of drugs on youth.
Prof Midford will deliver the Dame Elizabeth Murdoch Oration.
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