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What Should We Teach Students About Drugs?

It seems that students in Riverside, Calif. and across the nation are educated about drugs and alcohol every year. But how effective are these lessons? After all, more people are being admitted to drug rehab centers than ever before, despite the horrifying lessons in school that essentially teach: “drugs are bad and will kill you.”

This type of education unfortunately ignores many of the subtleties of addiction. After all, almost every teen in high school thinks he or she is invincible and immune to the consequences others may experience.

A recent article on Vice decried this type of education, instead insisting that students would be much better off learning specific negative outcomes that are associated with substance abuse—like how long-term use of LSD can “lead to depression, anxiety and flashbacks.” By teaching students about specific consequences of abuse that may seem more “real” than a vague threat of death and doom, teachers may be able to better prevent substance abuse.

Another argued point is that it is important that students understand that those in Riverside and elsewhere who require treatment in drug rehab centers are not inherently bad people—they have simply made some poor choices and need medical help.

By removing some of the stigma associated with drug abuse and teaching teens about real consequences, educational systems can ideally do a great deal more to prevent future drug abuse from occurring.

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