Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Say No To Awareness Campaigns?

I've always been skeptical of efforts to deal with drug problems. The Times- Standard reports some local people and agencies are concerned about prescription drug abuse. No doubt we'll be seeing some sort of educational or awareness campaign towards that end in the months to come.

I suppose any good that comes from such programs could outweigh the bad. My personal experience makes me wonder.

Some of you might remember the Datura scare of some years ago. People found that a local ornamental plant had intoxicating properties. One of the local news stations did a story on it one night that featured a Datura plant in a front yard of a house down on Eureka's west side. The next morning much of that plant was missing- someone having come in the night to take some home for their own use.

They might not have known about that plant's psychedelic properties before the news cast. They did after.

My personal experience with drug awareness programs goes back to around 1969. I was in 8th grade at C.E. Utt Jr. High School in Tustin. They had anti- drug programs in school even back then and simple possession of marijuana was a felony at the time. I hadn't even smoked pot yet and had no first hand experience with illegal drugs.

Some drug identification brochures were given out during a class one day. As someone who was fascinated by all I'd read and seen on TV about drugs, I couldn't put those pamphlets down. All the pictures of barbiturates, amphetamines, pot and opiates looked so enticing. I wanted some!

After class I got together with an acquaintance and pointed out some of the things in the brochures I thought I'd seen in my mother's medicine cabinet. The one I was sure of was called Dexamyl- an amphetamine/ barbiturate compound I would later find out. Dan (won't use last names here) said  he wasn't sure, but he'd check the medicine cabinet in his house for things on the "list".

The next morning we met and went out to the school's sports field to check out our booty. I forget who found what. I know I'd grabbed a bunch of the Dexamyl (I found out later it was prescribed to my mother for weight loss but she'd stopped taking them years before). We also had an assortment of tetracycline (antibiotic), estrogen (female hormone supplement) and some other stuff that wasn't on the list- anything we could find. Pretty silly, really.

Time came to go to class so I told Dan to hold on to the stash. He refused, not wanting to get caught with it. I didn't want it, either, so we put it all back in the paper bag and I tossed it over a fence at the far side of the field. We could pick it up after school.

Problem was, Mr. Kempton, our P.E. teacher was watching us. He went out to the fence, found the bag and took it to the school office. The Tustin Police were called.

I got called to the office and a detective questioned me. He used that old tactic of, "Dan says....". He suggested I brought the stuff to school and tried to sell it to Dan, or so said Dan. Naive as I was, I believed it, but I just told him exactly what happened: We'd seen the pills in the drug brochure, found some at home and brought them to school.

To make a long story short, we were both arrested and charged with felonies- the Dexamyl I'd brought being the biggie. The rest of the stuff would have just been misdemeanors. I ended up being charged with Possession of a Dangerous Drug. Later that would be reduced to Possession of a Hypnotic Drug Without a Prescription, a misdemeanor.

I have no idea what they charged Dan with or what happened to him. Some years later I saw him briefly from a distance when I first started attending continuation school. He must have saw me, too, as I never saw him again. Maybe he did say I was trying to sell the stuff to him, got scared when he saw me and hightailed it out of that school?

Anyway, all that, thanks to what would be considered the Drug Abuse Resistance Education at the time. I don't know that I would have ever known about Dexamyl or gone rummaging through the medicine cabinet had it not been for those drug pamphlets we were given. I'm not suggesting I wouldn't have done drugs eventually, but that awareness campaign piqued my interest and got me involved quicker.

So much for awareness and educational campaigns, at least for me.


At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

HOJ believes drug addiction is an individual problem that is manifested by the individual's problems in a majority of situations. Sure, Big Pharma is a con artist industry (fear of death, extension of life scams) where those who benefit as users (do they really?) allow Big Pharma drugs to be attained for addicitive uses. Personally, all drugs should be legalized and NO programs or social services should exist for drug users who become addicts. Just because drugs are used does not prove an addiction is at play. Those who are addicted deserve to help themselves. If they can't, they can die because it is individual responsibility for life to sutain life. As people say that sex offenders can't be treated; well, neither can addicts who don't respect themselves. Let those who STILL LOVE AND CARE the addict be the ones to pay for their addiction troubles....not taxpayers. Besides, allowing someone addicted to die does everyone else better. We, as individuals, have no responsibility in helping those who won't help themselves; yet, government likes to spend and grow it size for alterior sinister motives. So, the drug legalization game shall continue until some time later after more senior citizens die too. This is the only route to full-fledged legalization (the previous generations must pass prior to better decisions being implemented). Seniors have only one goal - to live the rest of their life subsidized as much as possible, even though it won't be hardly any of their hard-earned money being spent in a majority of cases. Seniors depend upon younger people to pad their pockets in retirement because seniors KNOW that the younger generations will never have what the seniors now get. American politicians at all levels are frauds. They lie, cheat, steal, sabotage, shmooze talk, etc....over and over again at every level. Some of the worst political types are the apppointees (carbon copies of the elected officials themselves) - no variety and very representative to The State, not the community as the decisions being made cast critiques for causes of concern). It is like Tom Grover and others keep saying about definitions and such with the GPU process. The reason why definitions don't exist as they should is BECAUSE THEN the elected officials would actually have to follow their own processes without the ability to lie, cheat, steal, sabotage, maneuver, disrupt, etc.... Worst is though, the types of people that put manipulators and deceivers into office at any level (VOTERS). - HOJ


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