How on earth were her children too young? -
"She started giving the drug to her daughter when she was 16 and son when he was 18 but insisted she only allowed them to use it occasionally." & "Nicola Cooper, 43, intervened when she learned her teenage son and daughter had experimented with the drug."
So it was hardly as though she were pushing it onto them as they'd already (at least) tried it anyway.
Likewise the Institute for Public Policy Research's report (which was referred to in a BBC story yesterday) from July this year which says -
"ippr’s report shows that cannabis remains by far the most common drug among young people, with 12 per cent of 11- to 15-year-olds having taken this in the last year"
- which means that a higher percentage will have tried it before they were 16; people can try something & decide that they dislike it or that there are better alternatives, so not be counted as a user in the last year.
Simply telling a child/young adult that drugs are evil & wrong is pretty pointless since we both live in a culture that promotes alcohol (which is more damaging, both to the individual & society, than other drugs simply from it's usage) & the drugs=death propaganda & "just say no" spiel that we got in the 80's does not stand up... Not to mention that, for a large number of parents, this is hypocritical.
it just does not work as a strategy.
From my own perspective, i tried things myself & saw older peers taking them from being 12-13, & no one died or was injured or was stealing to 'feed the habit' or... ...but the number of people who ended up having their stomachs pumped or got into fights or crashed cars (either within or over the limit), etc having drank was significant...
...& very quickly learned that it was a line of BS from 'the man'.
(i'm neither trying to promote drug use or damn alcohol, but...)
Obviously, the over indulgence in anything will tend to have negative consequences, but the current system of informing people about what the different drugs do, the possible side-effects & how to seek help (if needed), means that for those who do choose to take anything they are properly informed about the potential risks.
Since, in this case, at 16 & 18 when they were first given cannabis by their parents (again having already at least tried it), it would be effectively impossible to stop them from doing almost anything, by treating it as an occasional part of life then at least they knew that their children were smoking in a safe environment - which, IMHO, was far more responsible than going down the "just say no" route which would have done nothing to prevent them & increased their risks.
Supplement from 10/10/2007 04:28pm:
Oh, & providing she wasn't actively promoting drug use in the school - since she was a teaching assistant in a primary school this would be highly unlikely to even come up unless it were being discussed formally as part of the national curriculum - this decision re her own children would have had no effect on her ability to perform her job or the kids in the class, & so she should not have needed to resign (whether by choice or being pushed).
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