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Forbidding drug and alcohol use often doesn’t work | Letter to the Editor
I want to respond to the opinion piece by Nicole Maxwell and Ken Maaz, “Teen drug and alcohol use: Take a stand” (July 4). Take a stand. They do, and they urge that parents take a stand against this thing they call alcohol and drug use. “Use” is a loose term, ranging all the way from a glass of beer to a night of vodka. As I understand the article, it would exclude the whole range of “use” as harmful to the health of youth. The piece as a whole is a plea to adults not to allow youth to “use.”
What I would have liked to see is some address to the youth themselves, some look at what makes psychological health and what sends youth in that direction. Forbidding usually isn’t a part of it.
We’re each born with a hunger for life. It’s possible to encourage and guide that hunger. It’s possible to repress it. Suppose instead we thought not about what we don’t want youth to do, but about how we can help them toward finding what they want to do with their lives? I was lucky. I had some men and women in my life who introduced me to remarkable interests and skills that have never left me. I’m 72 now. I didn’t become a “user.” I’m in good health. I continue to write poetry, cut wood and sail boats. I drink a little wine.
— Cal Kinnear