Tuesday, 17 June 2008

School drug leaflet 'not anti-education'

Drug leaflet: Advises young people on the use of drugs like ecstasy. (Get Image)

The Sydney West Area Health Service has denied a leaflet it has published encourages young people to take drugs.

The controversial leaflet is titled "Choosing to use but wanna keep your head together", and advises teenagers on what to do if they choose to take substances like ecstasy and cannabis.

It is being distributed at schools and community facilities, and includes advice for students to wait until they turn 18 before experimenting with drugs, and then to "use only small amounts and not too often".

The director of drug and alcohol services, Kevin Hedge, says the leaflet does not encourage young people to take drugs.

Mr Hedge says the leaflet clearly states that there is no safe drug use, but its advice is based on the realistic view that most young people experiment.

"Our materials were designed originally to be distributed amongst agencies that deal with marginalised young people, homeless young people and people at high risk of drug use," he said.

"From that perspective, the materials are a genuine public health approach to preventing harm."

But Jo Baxter from Drug Free Australia says the leaflet will confuse young people who are looking for guidance from drug use specialists.

"They want to know whether or not these drugs are going to harm them," she said.

"A message like that gives a sort of unintended message that they would condone the use and there is such a thing as safe use, when in actual fact we don't believe there is a safe use of illicit drugs."

Education 'necessary'

Tony Trimmingham lost his son to a heroin overdose 11 years ago and has since founded Family Drug Support.

He supports the leaflet and says people have to be realistic about the common use of drugs and alcohol in society.

"They grow up in a world where drugs are prevalent and every single person in Sydney, and in fact the whole of Australia, will in some point encounter drugs and will be faced with the dilemma of whether to use or not," he said.

"We can't evade that and I believe they do need education on how to deal with those occurrences."

Quote: There is a safe use of illicit drugs with the only difference being that they are illegal by state law. That does not mean that they cannot be experimented and used safely or safer. Under the headings of Moderation, Balance, Limit and Lethal all indulgence must be understood. Why? Because it is there...


Doctors to trial pain relief with cannabis
DOCTORS will prescribe cannabis-based drugs to cancer, multiple sclerosis and AIDS patients in a planned NSW Government trial.

Govt unveils cannabis research centre
As is the case with nicotine and caffeine, THC in Cannabis, it seems, is to protect the plant from herbivores or pathogens. THC occurs mainly as tetrahydrocannabinol. THC has analgesic effects that, even at low doses, cause a high, thus leading to the fact that medical cannabis can be used to treat pain.

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