Chatting Critically to Young People about …..Drugs

An Entitelment for All- Drugs

For many a year Drugs Education has been a lucrative source of finance within Youth Work. And, of course, it has seemed  utterly the right thing to be doing. None of us want to see young lives wrecked by drugs. And yet, of course, many of us take drugs – between 2 and 5 million cannabis users in the UK – and stay on the rails. I’m not saying anything special here, except to ponder whether the overall thrust of the drugs awareness approach reveals it to be the educational wing of  a failed global ‘War Against Drugs’ strategy?

Brazil’s former president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, co-authored the recent Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy. He declares the emperor naked. “The tide is turning,” he says. “The war-on-drugs strategy has failed.” A Brazilian judge, Maria Lucia Karam, of the lobby group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, tells the Guardian: “The only way to reduce violence in Mexico, Brazil or anywhere else is to legalise the production, supply and consumption of all drugs.”

This passage is taken from a challenging counterweight to prevailing orthodoxy, The War on Drugs is Immoral Idiocy, written by Simon Jenkins. I don’t agree with him at every turn – not least with his opening sentence – but there is much here for youth workers to ponder. Does this wider political context carry any implications for practice?


Published in: on September 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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